Just days after causing a stir by rejecting a Super Bowl commercial submitted by a veterans group, the NFL has announced they will honor 15 Medal of Honor recipients Feb. 4 during the coin toss for the Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots title game.
“The NFL is proud to honor our Nation’s heroes at Super Bowl LII,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “These courageous individuals deserve to be recognized on America’s biggest stage. We are grateful for their service to our country and we are pleased to continue the NFL’s longstanding tradition of hosting special tributes to service members at the Super Bowl.”
Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, a World War II veteran who received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima, will flip the coin. Williams, 94, will be surrounded by the other 14 recipients.
NBC will televise the coin toss live.
This announcement by the NFL comes on the heels of the league rejecting a Super Bowl commercial submitted by AMVETS that called for people to stand during the national anthem out of respect to veterans. The “Please Stand” ad was in rebuttal to the player movement that has seen players kneeling for social injustice during the anthem.
Addressing the pulled ad, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl. It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement. The NFL has long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our service members in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game.”
Here is a list of the Medal of Honor recipients that will be honored during Super Bowl LII on Sunday:
Bennie Adkins: Army, Vietnam (award delayed 9/15/2014)
Don Ballard: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/14/1970)
Sammy Davis: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/18/1967)
Roger Donlon: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/5/1964)
Sal Giunta: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/16/2010)
Flo Groberg: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 11/12/2015)
Tom Kelley: Navy, Vietnam (awarded 5/17/1969)
Allan Kellogg: Marines, Vietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
Gary Littrell: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/15/1973)
Walter Marm: Army, Vietnam (awarded 12/19/1966)
Robert Patterson: Army, Vietnam (awarded 10/10/1969)
Leroy Petry: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 7/12/2011)
Clint Romesha: Army, Afghanistan (awarded 2/11/2013)
James Taylor: Army, Vietnam (awarded 11/19/1968)
Woody Williams: Marines, WWII (awarded 10/5/1945)