The Atlanta Falcons' strong commitment to growing the game of football has only intensified over the past several years.
In an announcement made at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday, just prior to the girls flag football Summit and championship games, Georgia will become the fourth state to make girls flag football an officially sanctioned high school sport in the state of Georgia.
"The Falcons organization values diversity and inclusion on all levels," said Morgan Shaw Parker, vice president and chief marketing officer for AMB Sports & Entertainment. "This is just another example of the Falcons continued commitment to empower women in sport and provide opportunities for girls to be involved in the game of football both on and off the field."
With the help of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Falcons have been funding the sport for more than three years providing gear, equipment, and support to teams across the state. In 2018 the Falcons partnered with Gwinnett County Schools, the largest county in the state, to pilot the program. Not only did all 19 high schools participate, between 60-200 girls tried out for each team.
The sport of flag football has seen a rapid growth over the past decade. Over 1.6 million athletes play flag football with over 200,000 of them being females.
"It was probably one of the most fun things to do in high school," said Sarah Boigner, who played during her senior year before graduating from Collins Hill High School in Suwanee. "Since it was football I learned you have to work together. [If you don't] work together, nothing works out."
Boginer's father, Brian, is the Falcons' longtime equipment manager.
Although she grew up around the game, Sarah never knew she would be given the chance to experience her passion for football.
Thanks to the Falcons' efforts, she was given an opportunity she'll never forget.
"She loved it," Brian said of his daughter's experience. "She's grown up around the Falcons, she's grown up around football. She said her only regret is that she only got to do it for one year. She had so much fun doing it. I enjoyed it so much. I wish it happened sooner, so she could play a couple years, not just one year."
Because the interest was so immense in 2018, five additional counties implemented girls high school flag football in their own schools in 2019, bringing the total to six total participating counties: Cherokee, Forsyth, Henry, Muscogee, Rockdale and Gwinnett.
From youth and high school football programs to the education of parents with children playing the sport and the funding of this league, the Falcons are committed to creating change and impacting lives while growing the game of football.
"Football teaches teamwork, resiliency and the committed pursuit of shared goals" said Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank. "All of which build character and help shape important life skills for boys and girls."
When asked what she learned from the experience, Boigner echoed the Falcons owner's thoughts: "With football you actually have to work together, or nothing works out."