Independent Journal Review

These 7 Pictures Show Just How Strong the Bond Between the Military and NFL Has Been

The U.S. is made up of an incredibly diverse group of people, but when you think of America and the “land of the free,” there are a few common characteristics that come to mind.

Two of those defining characteristics are our dedicated service members and our love for football. Baseball may be “America’s pastime,” but come Sunday night, viewers nationwide tune in for America’s pigskin.

While protests of the national anthem have raised debate as to whether it’s disrespecting the military or using the very right service members have fought to protect, seven photos from over the years show America’s passion for football transcends the stadium.

Super Bowl XLV at Fort Irwin in California:

Camp Habbaniyah in Iraq:

- These 7 Pictures Show Just How Strong the Bond Between the Military and NFL Has Been

Chris Hondros/Getty

Maj. Ben Hutchins reunited with his wife and 4-year-old son after a 10-month deployment:

Super Bowl XLVIII at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan:

Soldiers show Seattle Seahawks pride in Afghanistan with “12th Man” flag: 

Ahead of Super Bowl XL at Camp Taqaddum in Iraq:

Members of the 101st Airborne stand at attention for Super Bowl XXXVI’s national anthem at Kandahar Airbase in Afghanistan:

- These 7 Pictures Show Just How Strong the Bond Between the Military and NFL Has Been

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2017 Super Bowl, the Defense Logistics Agency delivered “pizza, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, burgers, hot dogs, poppers and non-alcoholic beer” to troops who had to watch from Afghanistan or Iraq.

“Service members track a little piece of home through sports, music, current events and anything that will give them a connection back home,” Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 William Duff told the DLA. “It creates the esprit de corps amongst sports fans and bragging rights for whatever team wins.”

If the New Orleans Saints game is any indication of the ones to follow, it seems teams may be attempting to find a way to kneel in solidarity with their teammates and stand in solidarity with their country.

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