PLANO, Texas - The Tostitos brand, in a joint effort with the USO, today announced plans to host the Tostitos “Connect to Home Bowl,” a one-of-a-kind college football experience that will bring our troops stationed overseas a taste of home for the holidays. The unique bowl-game-inspired celebration, complete with all the game-day rituals and a chance for troops to play football with college football legends, builds on the tradition ignited last year when Tostitos and the USO first created this exclusive college football experience for U.S. troops abroad.
“For many of our troops serving overseas, watching college football is a special way to reconnect with home – from the coin toss to the marching bands to seeing the action on the field,” said Justin Lambeth, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay. “That’s why Tostitos – a brand that has always seen college football as a unique way to bring people together – is so excited to once again join with the USO to bring the excitement of college football, and a taste of home, to our troops serving overseas during the holiday season.”
The “Connect to Home Bowl” will be held at an undisclosed military base in the Persian Gulf during the time period when college football bowl games take place back in the United States. The event will put legendary college football coaches Bobby Bowden and Gene Stallings at the helm of two unique teams composed of former college all-stars and active military heroes playing alongside one another as part of a one-of-a-kind flag football competition. This truly unique match-up will include participation from college football greats, including Jim Kelly, Rodney Peete and Zach Thomas, among others.
Highlights from the event will be captured and shared at halftime during the nationwide broadcast of the 2011 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on ESPN on January 1, 2011 and at www.facebook.com/Tostitos. PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division has been a longtime supporter of college football, including 16-years as the title sponsor of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
The full roster of coaches and players includes:
• Coach Bobby Bowden – Received the United States Sports Academy’s Amos Alonzo Stagg Coaching Award for his outstanding achievement as a coach. In honor of Coach Bowden, the Over the Mountain Touchdown Club of Birmingham, Alabama presented the first annual Bobby Bowden National Collegiate Coach of the Year Award in 2010. In his 44 seasons as a head coach, Bowden had 40 winning seasons—making him the 2nd winningest coach in college football history.
• Coach Gene Stallings – Earned a number of national coaching awards in 1992 and was the SEC Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1994. In 2000, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University, and in 2001, he received the Legends Award from the All Sports Association in Dallas. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Texas A&M Hall of Fame, Gator Bowl Hall of Fame and Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.
• Jim Kelly – Inducted into the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 1992. Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-1993, and in his first year of eligibility (2002), was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• Rodney Peete – First player ever from University of Southern California to win the Johnny Unitas Award as the nation’s best senior quarterback. He played in the NFL for 16 years with six different teams.
• LaVar Arrington – Known for spectacular plays like “The LaVar Leap” while at Penn State, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 1999 College Football Preview Issue. Before leaving his junior season to enter the NFL, Arrington received many honors, including the Chuck Bednarik, Dick Butkus and Lambert Awards. Arrington played six seasons for the Washington Redskins and one for the New York Giants. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
• Zach Thomas – Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 and 1995 and was the consensus All-American in his junior and senior years at Texas Tech. Thomas played for the Miami Dolphins during his first 12 seasons in the NFL. He was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times and recorded more than 1,000 tackles at the linebacker position. He was also selected to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.
• Thurman Thomas – While at Oklahoma State University (OSU), he was a first-team selection on the College Football All-America Team three years in a row. Thomas left OSU as the school’s all-time leading rusher, and his number 34 is one of only three jerseys retired at the school. Thomas spent most of his professional career with the Buffalo Bills where he participated in four Super Bowls and was selected to five Pro Bowls. In addition to being voted NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1992, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
• Andre Reed – Known for his durability and speed as a wide receiver at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania during the early 1980s. Reed played 16 years in the NFL (15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills and one season with the Washington Redskins). He played in four Super Bowls, is a seven-time Pro Bowler, and ranks sixth in NFL history in total career receptions.
• Antonio Freeman – Former leading wide receiver for three straight years at Virginia Tech during the early 1990s. Freeman was a member of the Green Bay Packers from 1995-2001, and again in 2003. He led the NFL in receiving in 1998. He appeared in four NFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls (winning in 1997).
• Ron Dayne – Played all four years at University of Wisconsin as a starting running back, won the 1999 Heisman Trophy and was named Big Ten Conference Player of the Year in 2000. Dayne also holds the NCAA record for career rushing yards. Dayne played professionally for the New York Giants, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.
• Jevon Kearse – Nicknamed “The Freak,” because of his unusual size and 86-inch wingspan, Kearse has played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans (where he was selected to three Pro Bowls and named Associated Press’ NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1999).
“We are thankful to have the Tostitos brand as a returning partner to help create this unique college football experience,” said Sloan Gibson, USO president. “Last year, we saw firsthand how meaningful this experience was for the men and women serving our country overseas. It’s thrilling to see this becoming a cherished tradition that will now bring joy to even more troops as we help them stay connected to their families back home during a time of year that matters most, the holidays.”
Tostitos tortilla chips is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America, the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site, http://www.fritolay.com/, the Snack Chat blog, http://www.snacks.com/ and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fritolay.
PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Our main businesses - Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade - also make hundreds of other nourishing, tasty foods and drinks that bring joy to our consumers in more than 200 countries. With annualized revenues of nearly $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth, called Performance with Purpose. By dedicating ourselves to offering a broad array of choices for healthy, convenient and fun nourishment, reducing our environmental impact, and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture, PepsiCo balances strong financial returns with giving back to our communities worldwide. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
The USO (United Service Organizations) lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at thousands of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops and their families, wounded warriors and their families and the families of the fallen.
The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers and donors. In addition to individual donors and other corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by Worldwide Strategic Partners American Airlines, AT&T Inc., BAE Systems, The Boeing Company, Clear Channel Communications, The Coca-Cola Company, Gallery Furniture, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Procter & Gamble and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this patriotic mission and to learn more about the USO, please visit www.uso.org.