Let’s face it: When you see the words “National Football League” and “dogs” in the same sentence, the name that’s likely to come to mind is Michael Vick. And it’s not going to make you feel warm and fuzzy.

If you’re a football fan and an animal lover, here’s some good news: Together, we can change that association.

I got an email the other day from Becky Krueger, Director of Education & Public Relations for the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, who wanted to share a new pet adoption PSA called “Home Game” with me. It features St. Louis Rams star Rodger Saffold and an extremely cute dog named  Popeye:

It was intended for my Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me To Kill Myself series, and you can certainly consider it part of that. But it also occurred to me that, since it highlights a member of a major sports franchise, we in the pet community have an opportunity to do more: Celebrate big tough NFL guys who are manly enough not to hurt dogs.

So although I have zero interest in football, I researched Rodger Saffold. According to Wikipedia:

Saffold was drafted by the Rams in the second round, 33rd overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. On July 28, 2010, he signed a 4 year contract worth $6.3 million, that includes $3.9 million guaranteed. Saffold earned the starting left tackle position for the Rams in his rookie season and started in every game that season for the Rams. Saffold garnered rave reviews for his play and was named to multiple All Rookie teams, including Pro Football Weekly and the Sporting News.

Except for the money and rave reviews part, this means next to nothing to me. But when I took my research to the Rams’ website, I found a terrific video on the creation of Rodger’s PSA called “That’s My Dog.” I can’t embed it, but I urge you to watch it. It’s clear that Rodger is a really nice guy and thus more deserving of all that money than most sports figures. And how cool is it that a major football team’s site features a video that promotes animal welfare?

I’m sorry to report that no one — except me, now! — has Liked, Tweeted, or +1’ed the video. Since sharing is caring, why don’t you start by doing that?

One more digression, because I cannot get enough of either Popeye or Rodger.  Here’s a blooper video from the filming of “Home Game”:

It’s not all head rubs and bacon, though.  On November 18, Rodger was placed on the injured reserve list because of a torn pectoral muscle incurred while he was lifting weights.

So here’s what I want you to do, in no particular order. Go over to the Rams’ Facebook page and Like it. Then post on their wall that you really like Rodger Saffold and tell them why. Send people to the video on the Rams’ site that I linked to, above.  Tell Rodger you hope he feels better. And thank him for all he does for animals. Share this post, spread the word.

Go Rodger. Go Rams. Go pet community. Let’s make it okay for animal lovers to get excited about the NFL again, even if you couldn’t care less about football.

14 thoughts on “Real Men Love Dogs, NFL Edition: I ♥ Rodger Saffold”

    1. Yeah, that bloopers video was pretty darned funny; I loved that they all genuinely seemed to be having a great time.

  1. This is what change is made of.
    How about “You just have to have a big heart” for a role-model, kudos Rodger.
    Shared it, tweeted it and posted to their FB wall, take that M.Vick!

    of course, the dog is extremely cute too 🙂

  2. Thanks for posting this Edie. I’m not really a football fan and don’t really follow the sport. So, I had never heard of Rodger Saffold before this but it’s wonderful to see a sports figure creating a positive image instead of a negative, destructive vision. Mr. Saffold is the type of person I’d much rather see my kids admiring, if I did have children of the two-legged variety. Michael Vick, not so much. I tweeted, +1ed and liked the video 🙂

  3. The videos didn’t make me want to cry and kill myself, they were so great they made me want to cry and and almost “mark” myself with laughter.

    Uh, Edie, I know it’s all about the dog and the dog message, but you failed to mention that besides all his other good qualities, Rodger is a major hunk (I guess that’s a little sexist, isn’t it?)! Will follow your instructions in support of Rodger right away.

  4. I like the fact that Roger is a man of color and an athlete which helps speak to that demographic. What a cute dog.

    Reminded me of Sam who invaded our household when I was a teen. My mother would cook for Sam and he always got fed first. He loved chopped liver, scrambled eggs, and spaghetti (wore a white t-shirt for the latter).

  5. Oh Edie! I actually started to tear up at the end! The bloopers were awesome too. What a clever way to promote pet adoption. You’re right. We should be calling out a football player like Rodger Saffold.
    I’m so glad you shared it.

    P.S. I love Popeye’s ears! OMG!

  6. Thank you all for the comments and for spreading the word. I just got an email this morning from Becky of the Animal Protective Association of Missouri saying she loved the post and would be forwarding it to Rodger and his agent! And that she would be looking back for further comments. So feel free to express your love for the Big Guy and his little friend here too, since they might be coming around.

    Be careful though: I have a feeling Popeye might be a bit of a prima dogga, so be sure to lavish extra praise on him.

  7. Popeye is one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen! Next to Frankie, of course. I saw the final cut on the weekend but didn’t have a chance to check out the other two until today. I think I am now hooked!

  8. I have zero interest in football but it is nice to see another side of football players relationships with dogs. I think I have seen a few photos and stories floating around too showing that big football guys can own small dogs.

  9. I’d take ’em both home! Seriously, what a great way for the NFL to reach out and build support — even among folks who previously had no interest in football! Go, Rams!

  10. As they said on Flight of the Conchords, I’m not crying… it’s just raining on my face. I have to admit I got a little teary at the end, but in a good way. Absolutely fantastic ad – Rodger Saffold is my new hero.

    The bloopers were awesome too.

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