Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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YNN's 12th Man: Citywide flag football league

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Buffalo: YNN's 12th Man: Citywide flag football league
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In this week's 12th Man Series, YNN's Ryan Whalen introduces us to some small fans with big aspirations.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This past year kids from youth centers around the city of Buffalo began playing each other in flag football.

Todd Cudney, who coaches one of the teams, said, "We wrote a grant to the Bills. They gave us a nice grant to start a citywide flag football league".

It's part of the National Football League's Play 60 campaign.

Cudney added, "With the obesity in the younger kids, we get them off the couch, get them off the video games, get them outside and do something. I think it's incredible when they put on that jersey just like the teams they see on tv".

Wearing the reversible Bills jerseys has given these kids a new affection for the hometown team.

Dawson Morgan, who plays in the league, said about the Bills, "Even though they lose a lot and they don't make Super Bowl's that much, it's cause I'm from buffalo and Stevie Johnson. I like Stevie Johnson".

Another player, Caine Cudney, said, "I like C.J. Spiller and Freddy Jackson".

The league has also helped them to understand the complicated game better.

"We come to the center and we play with each other and we get to have fun because we design plays to ourselves", said Morgan.

"Very confusing, very competitive, so you've got to try and settle the kids down. They get all worked up when they're losing. You've got to relax. Play the game. Play as a team. It's not an individual game. It's a team game", said Coach Cudney about the flag football league.

Of course many of these kids want to be a lot more than just fans.

"It makes me feel like I want to play for them because you have all the people cheering for you", remarked Caine Cudney.

It may take some time for them to join the ranks of their heroes. But the Bills organization is providing them with the gameday experience, even inviting the teams to play in the field house later this season.

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