NFL Way to Play

Knees Bent. Pads Down. Head Up and Out.

The NFL Way to Play shows the league’s commitment to promoting proper playing technique across all levels of football.

Through the lens of the best in the game — current players, NFL Legends and head coaches — the initiative highlights proper technique, shares best practices and showcases the NFL Way to Play.

Download the Way To Play Playbook

Download the Way To Play Playbook

“NFL Way to Play is about recognizing good play each week: Knees bent. Pads down. Head up,” said Troy Vincent, Sr., NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “NFL players and coaches are the best in the world at demonstrating excellent technique.”

NFL Way to Play 

  • Current players and NFL Legends from key positions (running back, wide receiver, offensive and defensive line, linebacker and defensive back) demonstrate proper technique.
  • NFL coaches explain fundamental concepts, share best practices and advice on how to coach each position on the field.
  • The NFL Way to Play Award, selected by a distinguished panel of Legends, recognizes current players at both the pro and high school level who exhibit excellent playing technique each week of NFL regular season
  • The Playbook, created with the Legends Youth Advisory Committee, is a tool for youth coaches that outlines the curriculum, language to use, and fundamentals of the game.
  • Prepare to Play Virtual Videos, created to keep you active while social distancing as an important part of staying home and staying strong. With these virtual videos, trainings for ages 14 and up can be done anywhere at home and without much equipment.

The NFL Way to Play Award 


The NFL Way to Play Award recognizes the best examples of playing technique each week of the NFL regular season and playoffs.

A distinguished panel of NFL Legends selects the player who positively impacted the game through proper technique (i.e., tackling, blocking, footwork, discipline, vision). The recipient is announced every Thursday during the season on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.

Each winner receives a $5,000 equipment grant through USA Football for the youth or high school football program of the player’s choice.

The panel includes:

  • Merril Hoge – 8-year NFL running back
  • Ronnie Lott – 14-year NFL safety/cornerback, Hall of Fame Class of 2000 
  • Orlando Pace – 13-year NFL offensive tackle, Hall of Fame Class of 2016
  • Michael Robinson – 8-year NFL fullback
  • Bobby Taylor – 10-year NFL cornerback

NFL Way to Play Youth Awards

The NFL Way to Play Youth Awards recognize the excellence demonstrated by youth players who exemplify proper technique to make impactful plays.


Through this initiative, and in partnership with Hudl, players will be honored each week during the NFL regular season for demonstrating exceptional in-game playing technique. The recipient will be announced on NFL Network's Good Morning Football every Thursday.

See the Way to Play High School award winners.

The panel includes representatives from the NFL Football Operations Department:

  • Phil Bogle – 2-year NFL guard, Director of Game Operations
  • Kevin Boothe – 9-year NFL offensive lineman, Director of Labor Operations, Management Council
  • Jay Manahan – Director of Player Communications
  • Jon Runyan – 14-year NFL offensive tackle, Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration
  • Bobby Taylor – 10-year NFL cornerback, Strategic Advisor for Football Development
  • Troy Vincent, Sr. – 15-year NFL cornerback, Executive Vice President of Football Operations


Introduced in 2021, the NFL will recognize one high school player from the Canadian market throughout Weeks 2-11 of the NFL season. Submissions will be received through Hudl and voted on by NFL Canada’s Football Development Advisory Committee. Each recipient will be announced on CTV Live and will receive a $3,000 equipment grant for their school through Football Canada.


The NFL is recognizing one FLAG player each week for demonstrating proper playing technique. Players are evaluated on flag pulling, rushing, footwork, discipline and vision. Developing proper playing technique and good habits at the NFL FLAG level prepares players to excel in FLAG or make the transition to tackle. Each recipient will receive a $3,000 grant and will be announced on NFL Network.

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