The Sheer Force of Steve Gleason’s Will

Nov 23, 2015
By: Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback

You may have noticed Sunday, on NFL Network or the NFL’s social channels, a new campaign to bring attention to trying to spur fundraising to work for a cure to ALS. The spots are powerful, with highlights of great individual plays in NFL history, dramatic music and announcer calls, and, at the end, these two screens:

The NFL has had 1000’s of game-changers.

ALS needs 1.

This concentrated effort to find willing donors to help fund the massive research project it will take to seek a cure to ALS is happening because of the pro bono work of many people. The NFL, NFL Network, NFL Films and marketing firm KBS worked with Steve Gleason and his Answer ALS group, including former Saint and close friend Scott Fujita, to make the spots happen. Gleason said Sunday: “We had several meetings with [NFL commissioner Roger Goodell], and they all went really well. He was personally engaged and interested in not only the campaign, but the research. In our initial meeting the commissioner indicated the league could get behind a campaign if it was meaningful to their audience and could have an impact. Upon reviewing the campaign, it was apparent, the game-changing message accomplishes both of those goals.”

Gleason, who is wheelchair-bound and has no use of his extremities, has been the driving force behind this effort. The undersized special-teams player from the Saints said, “Our mission has always been to keep ALS in front of the public until a treatment or cure is found.”

That’s where someone seeing these spots comes in. That’s what Gleason and his group desperately hopes.

View the entire Monday Morning Quarterback.