NEW YORK, September 7, 2022 — The NFL announced today a partnership with Colombian-American artist Ruben Rojas to spread a clear message of love this football season. In honor of the 2022 Kickoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills, Rojas created two signature "Love" sculptures that will be placed in both cities, unifying the two coasts for the season. The Los Angeles sculpture will be unveiled at SoFi Stadium for the Los Angeles Rams vs Buffalo Bills Kickoff game on September 8, while the Buffalo piece will debut in front of Highmark Stadium the week leading into the club's Home Opener on September 19.
With paint schemes that are unique to the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills, each "Love" sculpture is delicately hand crafted from sheets of aluminum. Using techniques such as laser cutting, manual molding, welding and sanding, the ten-foot sculptures optically look free floating, as Rojas wanted to highlight the power of love and how it can stand freely on its own.
"Love is a noun, a verb and a way of life, and I want to remind people how important it is to wake up every day and choose love," said Ruben Rojas. "I grew up watching the NFL and truly having a love for the game, not only as a fan but a player of the sport. Football brings together all walks of life. It doesn't matter where you come from or what you do. For those four quarters, we are all there for one reason: for the love of the sport. When fans walk into these stadiums, the sculptures will be a reminder and set the tone before and after the whistle blows."
The NFL first met Rojas this past February at Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. After seeing a commissioned piece he made during a Super Bowl week event and learning more about the artist's inspiring life mission and unique backstory, the NFL set out to collaborate with Rojas for the upcoming season to create and display pieces that encourage love and unity.
With an uptick in hate crimes and gun violence around the country, the league and Rojas' message of love and unity to kick off the start of the season is intentional. After a targeted attack against the Black community in Buffalo earlier this year, the NFL Foundation and the Buffalo Bills Foundation donated a combined $400,000 to charities benefiting the city's East Side community. During Thursday's Kickoff game, players from both the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams will wear helmets featuring "Choose Love" as part of the league's social justice helmet decal messaging this season, which will also include other phrases such as "End Racism," "Stop Hate" and "Inspire Change" among others.
"Ruben's artwork truly embodies the message echoed across the NFL family of 'Choose Love' in a time when it's so incredibly needed. We're proud to have these pieces displayed during Kickoff week," said Anna Isaacson, NFL SVP of Social Responsibility. "Through our work in supporting and uplifting communities across the country, including Los Angeles and Buffalo, our goal is to encourage fans to join the NFL family in our mission to eliminate hate and come together to support those who need it most."
To celebrate the two "Love" sculptures, the league created two pieces of video content on the partnership with Rojas and the powerful message his pieces convey. The first is a :60 spot from NFL Emmy Award winning Series NFL360, which features narration from Sterling K. Brown and visuals of both the Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills supporting their communities. It will run in SoFi stadium and air right before the Lift Every Voice and Sing performance on NBC on September 8. The second piece of content is a five-minute profile that will air on NFL Network's NFL Now on the same day and highlight the power of love and football as a means of bringing people together. In the film, Rojas interviews Buffalo Bills' quarterback Josh Allen and Los Angeles Rams' cornerback Jalen Ramsey on what choosing love means to them.
Fans can bring home a commemorative piece of Rojas' artwork while giving back with the "Ruben Rojas x NFL Choose Love" T-shirt collection on NFL SHOP. The NFL will not profit from the sale of this unique Kickoff t-shirt. Charitable contributions are awarded by the NFL Foundation to support the league's social justice grant partners. The NFL will also collaborate with Rojas to auction several unique, one-of-a-kind sketch drawings on nfl.com/auction with 100% of proceeds supporting the league's social justice programs as well as Rojas' Beautify Earth nonprofit. For more information on the programs, visit www.nfl.com/inspirechange.
Fans attending the Rams-Bills Kickoff game will be able to see the LA "Love" sculpture on Upper American Airlines Plaza by the 'Countdown to Kickoff' stage any time after gates open at 3 PM PT. Those heading to SoFi Stadium should plan for heavy traffic given it will be a Thursday night with a large crowd expected and should plan to enter the stadium at least an hour before Kickoff to make it to their seats by 4:50 PM PT for a special championship celebration. Source