Football is very important to us all. That’s likely why you’re even here reading this. As much as we all love the sport, it’s time for the old but accurate cliche — some things are bigger than football. In this case, that “thing” is ALS.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly referred to simply as ALS, is a fatal type of motor neuron disease. It is characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. It’s sometimes also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after a famous baseball player who died from the disease. ALS it is one of the most devastating of the disorders that affects the function of nerves and muscles.
Although they may be rivals on the field, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints have announced that they are teaming up to fight against ALS, a common foe if you will. Both franchises are partnering up to host 50/50 raffles during both of their matchups this season (Nov. 26 in Atlanta and Jan. 7 in New Orleans.) The proceeds for the 50/50 raffles will go directly towards two tremendous organizations, Tackle ALS and Team Gleason.
Tim Green played defensive end for the Falcons from 1986-1993 and was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. Green has used his platform to support several charities including initiatives to support and empower young people and encouraging literacy. Green was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. Fans can help contribute to Tackle ALS and its efforts to find a cure for ALS by participating in the 50/50 raffles.
Steve Gleason played for the Saints from 2000-2006. In 2006, Gleason was responsible for one of the most memorable moments in Saints history when he blocked a punt by Falcons punter Michael Koenen, which was then recovered in the end zone for a Saints’ touchdown. It was the first score in the Saints’ first game in New Orleans in nearly 21 months, during which time Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city and the team.
Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 and has been a leader for tackling the horrible disease, and created Team Gleason.
In a statement by the Falcons, team president Greg Beadles said “We’re excited to put our rivalry aside and join forces with the Saints to raise awareness for ALS and create a lasting impact off the field that goes beyond the scoreboard.”