Instead of throwing yellow flags after penalties in the New York Jets' game against the Miami Dolphins, NFL referees will be using custom-made pink ones, thanks to the efforts of an 11-year-old boy. The league should turn this novel approach into an annual event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Sunday will mark the first game since 1965 that didn't feature a yellow penalty flag, but there's no doubt this change is for a good cause.
Dante Cano, a fifth-grader from New Jersey, hand-wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asking if the league could use pink flags in support of the October tradition.
The league loved the idea, and Cano and his family will be presenting the flags to the officials prior to game-time at Metlife Stadium on Sunday. Dante will also get to meet Goodell, and maybe weigh in on some other ideas the league has been missing out on.
It's the simplicity of the letter that makes this story so great. Here's a look at what Dante wrote to the commissioner, complete with an ever-so-childlike touch of "Please write back."
An 11-year-old wrote a letter to Roger Goodell about using pink penalty flags --> yfrog.com/j1f8uap. This weekend, it will happen.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 26, 2012
With players in the NFL, NCAA and even high schools around the country supporting the cause, it makes sense that officials would join in support of the cause.
Head over to local sporting goods stores like Academy Sports & Outdoors, Dick's Sporting Goods and even Walmart; there are specific kiosks that have pink specialty items for purchase. You'll likely be able to find something pink to wear in support of Susan G. Komen and the cure, even if it's just for a church league softball game.
Here's a sneak peek at what the officials will be using to control the game on Sunday, per NFL PR man Brian McCarthy.
The NFL has an opportunity to turn this into an annual thing, and it would behoove the organization to adjust its future October flags accordingly.
Until we can find a cure for the disease, the players, fans and now officials can all help spread awareness to something that affects millions of people across the globe.
It will be odd to see pink flying all over the field as the Jets and Dolphins square off, but it's another reminder of October's extra added value, as well as taking the suggestion of a child to help the NFL continue to be one of the most fan-friendly leagues in all the world.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist and a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team.
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