NFL and Boys and Girls High School Unveil New Football Field

By Paul DeBenedetto on January 31, 2014 8:48am 

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 The new field was the result of a grant from the NFL.
NFL Unveils New Boys and Girls High School Football Field
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — It's the answer to their Hail Marys.

The NFL revealed a much-needed gift for a Bed-Stuy high school Thursday — a brand new $400,000 football field.

NFL executives, including Commissioner Roger Goodell and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, were on hand to present the new field to students, faculty and coaches of Boys and Girls High School.

The field was part of the NFL's Super Bowl Legacy Grant program, in which the league works to improve the area surrounding the Super Bowl, according to Goodell.

"The game will come and go," Goodell said. "Part of what we do here is make a long-lasting impact after the game."

After the unveiling, NFL players — including Bed-Stuy native Jaiquawn Jarrett of the Jets, his teammate Nick Folk and Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin — practiced drills with the high school players.

The Boys and Girls varsity football team went 7-4 last season, making it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Staten Island's Tottenville High School

But the team for years has been playing their home games at the Old Boy's High School field in East Flatbush, thanks to a dilapidated field and little room for bleachers.

The field's turf, which was coming apart, created what could have been a dangerous situation for the players and their opponents, Coach Clive Harding said.

"It was in bad shape," Harding said. "We match up with a lot of these schools with great facilities."

Now the field has gone through a full makeover, thanks in part to a grant from the NFL through the nonprofit Snowflake Youth Foundation. 

The Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation applied for the NFL's $200,000 grant and lobbied for $200,000 in matching funds from the City Council in order to pay for the field, according to spokeswoman Tracy Capers.

That money paid for brand-new turf, goal posts and soccer goals, as well as a refurbished shot-put and long jump area.

In addition to benefits for the students, the field and its surrounding track create a benefit for the public, Boys and Girls principal Bernard Gassaway said.

"It reflects a renewal: new opportunities for our young people," Gassaway said. "And the beauty is it really extends to the community."

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