Kids at play in Central Park

Matthew Stafford during an NFL Play 60 event in New York's Central Park. (Ben Liebenberg /

Matthew Stafford during an NFL Play 60 event in New York's Central Park. (Ben Liebenberg /

It was just like an NFL game in some ways: There was an announcer, artifical turf, cheerleaders dancing on the sidelines, media members jotting down notes and quarterbacks unfurling spirals to leaping receivers. But it was not a game at all, not in the traditional sense at least.

It was an NFL Play 60 initiative that featured the nine prospects in town for the draft participating in mini-football games with dozens of lucky kids on a synthetic football field in Central Park.

The prospects took turns tossing passes and handing the ball off to wide-eyed middle schoolers hoping to impress the soon-to-be NFL stars. How often does a 14 year old have a chance to catch a touchdown from a future pro quarterback like Matthew Stafford or Josh Freeman?

After the games, the kids were allowed to ask questions of the prospects. The first query came from the biggest of all the kids, who said he has played football ever since he can remember. His question was to Michael Crabtree: “Can you do the Deion Sanders touchdown dance for us?”

Crabtree was then given a football and proceeded to put his hand behind his head and do his best impression of “Prime Time.” He didn’t quite pull it off, though, and Commissioner Roger Goodell even scolded him on a “really bad imitation.” Needless to say, when Deion himself came out to address the kids, he was none too pleased with Crabtree’s butchering of his legendary dance and poked fun at Crabtree for embarrassing him.

The fun wasn’t just for the kids, however. I walked by two adults, as giddy as any child there, that the prospects actually took the time to stop and pose with them for a picture.

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