EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Buffalo Bills linebacker Arthur Moats was named the winner of the United Way Team NFL Playoff Challenge Sunday.
One player from each NFL team encouraged as man fans as possible to pledge to volunteer to their community. Moats and Seattle’s Cliff Avril made the final twosome heading into Super Bowl week. Through on-line and social media promotion, Moats encouraged 7,930 fans to pledge to volunteer.
Moats earned a $10,000 grant for the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.
Moats, 25, just finished his fourth season with the Bills. He won the Bills’ Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his extensive community-service work. He also won the Ed Block Courage Award, given for inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.
Moats serves as the Bills’ United Way Worldwide Spokesman and also served as an intern for the United Way in 2012. He just completed his first season as the official UW Worldwide Spokesman. Among his off-the-field endeavors the past year were supporting the NFL’s Play 60 initiative for youngsters, breast cancer awareness, the Food Bank of WNY and the Buffalo Public Schools.
Just 12 seconds into the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos were already trailing after a bizarre, clumsy sequence. It set a record — and the tone for the game.
The first play from scrimmage started out looking like any other for the Denver Broncos. There was Peyton Manning barking out his calls, but before he could even finish, center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball, which sailed past the unprepared quarterback and into the end zone. Knowshon Moreno fell on it to keep Seattle from scoring a touchdown, but it was still a safety and a 2-0 lead for the Seahawks.
The Broncos had decided to go with a cadence, Ramirez said, but it was hard to hear over the crowd noise.
“None of us heard the snap count, and I thought I did. And I snapped it,” he said.
When he got back to the sideline, Ramirez learned that Manning was actually walking up toward him when the center snapped the ball.
“It’s hard to have something like that happen at the beginning of the game,” Ramirez said.
Cliff Avril now has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in pro football.
In 2008, Avril was with the Detroit Lions. That team won one fewer game all season than his current club, the Seattle Seahawks, did in just one night Sunday in the Super Bowl.
Avril signed with Seattle before this season as a free agent, and through all of the Seahawks’ success — including the win over Denver for their first NFL championship — he hasn’t forgotten how bad things can get.
“It is amazing,” said the six-year veteran. “It is what we worked for. This is why we play the game. I went from 0-16 to now I am a champ. I am a champ and this feels great. We are the best in the world now.”