ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The game of football leaves impacts that resonate far beyond the white-lined gridirons of Sunday, stirring the passions of millions of fans and inspiring countless unique and unforgettable memories for people all around the world. It's an uncanny bond that endears itself and affects lives in many different ways – and now all of those stories about what truly makes football so special have a place to call home.
The NFL's nationwide 'Together We Make Football' challenge is a way for fans to share their love of the game and chronicle how football has impacted their own lives. Fans can tell their personal football stories through video, or by using words and photographs, by visiting www.TogetherWeMakeFootball.com and entering the contest.
From all the entries, 10 narratives will be selected and turned into short films produced by NFL Films – and five of the selected entrants will win a five-day VIP trip to Super Bowl XLVIII for themselves and two guests of their choosing.
One Broncos fan, Erich, shared football's impact on his personal life – describing how one of the ways he remembers his late mother is through her enduring love of Broncos football.
"One of the greatest things my parents did was take us to the games and kept us involved watching the Broncos. I don't think I've missed a game since my adoptive mother (a saint) took me in around 1975. My mother was the foundation of our family, and I still vividly remember my mom and dad going to the first Super Bowl back in 1977."
Through the difficult times of his mother's passing – and, more recently, his own battle with cancer – Erich described how football has remained a common thread that has uplifted his spirits and brought him closer with his family. Here, he describes the experience he had after undergoing cancer-related surgery and cherishing his relationship with his two sons.
"I had never found so much peace in my life, and knowing in my heart I would survive and be there for the boys. A few days after surgery, my dad sat with me and it was a special moment, we sat and watched the Broncos play and it brought back memories of my mom and dad and their crazy Broncos parties, with orange and blue wigs, yep they wore them in the 70s and probably started the tradition. I enjoyed the time with my dad and it was a blessing to see Peyton Manning do his magic on the field."
"Some people wonder how can someone make it through something like this, and its simple, my boys are everything to live for. I think the ultimate bucket list would be to take them to the Super Bowl. I think having one moment with them at the Super Bowl would be the ultimate gift to them and to my mom."
To read Erich's story in its entirety and cast your vote, click here.
The submission deadline for the 'Together We Make Football' contest is Nov. 5 at 9:59 p.m. MST.
To check out more entries from fans around the world, or for more information on the contest, visit www.TogetherWeMakeFootball.com.