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NFL's Josh Freeman Helps Fla. Roll Out 'Financial Football'


Are you ready for some Financial Football?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman helped roll out a statewide initiative in Florida earlier this week to improve students' financial literacy, in the form of a free-of-charge, NFL-themed computer game.

In Financial Football, players choose NFL teams for a head-to-head football contest, in which financial questions of varying difficulty determine how many yards each team advances or loses.

Just like real football, the object of the game is to score as many points (through touchdowns or field goals) as possible in a 5-, 10-, or 20-minute span, depending on how long players set their games to be.

Financial Football comes in three levels of varying difficulty: Rookie, for the 11- to 14-year-olds; Pro, for the 14- to 18-year-olds; and Hall of Fame, for those 18+. After players choose a level, they get to pick among questions of easy, medium, and hard difficulty to dictate their offense and defense.

The game also comes with a complementary classroom curriculum, which Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater will distribute to high schools across the state.

Financial Football stems from a collaboration among Visa Inc., the NFL, and the NFL Players Association. Since 2006, Visa has reached agreements with 30 states to distribute Financial Football to every high school and middle school, according to a statement.

On Tuesday, Freeman joined Atwater and Visa officials at a Florida high school to help launch the statewide initiative.

"Kids need to know how to make smart money-management decisions early in life," Freeman said in a statement. "It takes the combined efforts of parents, teachers, and mentors within the community to give teenagers a strong background in personal finance."

Florida isn't the only Southern state to have adopted Financial Football recently. In mid-September, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White joined the state's lieutenant governor and Visa officials to announce the statewide adoption of the game in Georgia, too.

After taking the game for a five-minute spin, I must say, the "hard" questions on the Hall of Fame level rocked my world. I owe an apology to my college finance professor for not learning the differences between IRAs, apparently.

But, for the record, my Philadelphia Eagles scored an 8-0 victory over the New York Giants. At least the Eagles can win somewhere.

Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, right, high-fives Northeast High School junior Orjada Dashi, 16, as she and fellow students celebrate their team's win in Financial Football at the school on Oct. 11 in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Scott Keeler/St. Petersburg Times/AP)

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