Sports

They’re NFL players … and they’re anything but ordinary

A sustainable chicken farm. A fashion line. A book of poetry. A love for Skittles and helping others. Be inspired by the unique passions of these five NFL players who prove that they’re anything but ordinary, both on and off the field. And find out how they’re using technology and partnering with Microsoft Surface to help their young fans be anything but ordinary, too.

This season, NFL superstars JuJu Smith-Schuster, Travis Kelce, Von Miller, Tyler Lockett, and Marshawn Lynch share what makes them tick, what they do when they’re not playing football, and how they hope to make their mark on the world.

They’re also teaming up with Microsoft Surface as ambassadors to help their young fans be anything but ordinary through digital education. With Surface as the official laptop of the NFL, Microsoft Stores are kicking off a series of NFL-themed workshops nationwide that focus on STEM, coding, robotics, and app and game development—all with a Surface-NFL twist.
NFL Workshop Ohbot table
Become a STEM, coding, and robotics MVP
Students can discover how to program an Ohbot robot to move, speak, and carry out a creative vision while getting an introduction to robotics, AI, and coding at a Microsoft Store near you. Or, they can learn how to build their own football-themed video game with MakeCode Arcade using fundamental game and coding concepts—like mods, sprites, variables, and coordinates.

For Seattle Seahawk Tyler Lockett, serving as an ambassador at a robotics workshop is a chance to connect with young people and encourage them to strive beyond their comfort zone or what seems possible in the moment. An adventurer who never got to travel when he was younger, Tyler pushes himself to experience different places and perspectives now. A published poet—his book “Reflections” was published in 2018—his interest in poetry was first piqued by a video he discovered as a child when it became clear music wasn’t going to work out for him.

He describes himself as “weird” and believes that every young person should have the same chances to discover their potential, which is the mission behind his Light It Up Foundation: “We want everybody to have a chance to shine … Sometimes people don’t get that opportunity, so we try to find ways or create events to give people exposure and have a chance to spark that light inside them.”

Lockett at the Ohbot workshop in Seattle
Tyler Lockett talks about the Light It Up Foundation

“Ordinary is the norm ... It’s better to be weird. It’s better to be authentic. It’s better to be creative and intellectual … Go above and beyond.”

- Tyler Lockett

And Tyler, along with many of his fellow extraordinary colleagues, is in the running to win the first-ever Anything But Ordinary Player of the Year Award. The NFL, in partnership with Microsoft, is celebrating what makes athletes like these great on and off the field. Fans can discover their favorite players’ passions and cast a vote for the award.

Vote for the first-ever Anything But Ordinary Player of the Year
Microsoft Surface and the NFL are celebrating what makes NFL athletes great on and off the field at NFL Honors. Discover what makes your player extraordinary, cast your vote, and share via Twitter for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. + DC 18+. Game ends at 12:00pm PT on 1/20/20. See AnythingbutOrdinaryAward.com for Official Rules.
Lockett at the Ohbot workshop in Seattle
Anything but ordinary

NFL players are known for their strength, strategy, and ability to pull off a win under even the most stressful circumstances. Their lives and livelihoods are, by definition, extraordinary. But what happens when the cameras are off, the lights in the stadium dim, and they have a chance to explore their passions outside of football?

JuJu Smith-Schuster: WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

A young NFL fan favorite, JuJu is known for his touchdown celebration dances and his larger-than-life social media persona. Also an avid gamer, he loves Fortnite and got his first console in middle school off of a bet with his grandma where he earned $20 for each touchdown. These days, he’s a proud father to a French bulldog named Boujee and is the founder of the JuJu Foundation, which supports underserved youth and the elderly to “lift the spirits of those in need.”

Travis Kelce: TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Known for his leadership on the field, Travis offers much more than just records in Kansas City. Pre- or post-game, Travis’s style is unparalleled. He loves fashion so much, he created his own clothing line. Though he has a penchant for trash-talking on the field, he likes to back it up with kindheartedness off the gridiron. He and his foundation opened the 87 & Running Robotics Lab, which provides a safe space and educational opportunities for underserved children in the Kansas City area.

Von Miller: LB, Denver Broncos

Von, Super Bowl 50 MVP, is not only a defensive force in the League, but he’s also dedicated to his sustainable chicken farm in his home state of Texas. A self-proclaimed Dallas country boy, Von is passionate about sustainable chicken farming. His top 3 chicken names? Patton, Rainbow, and Milkshake. But farming isn’t his only passion. He also has a huge collection of eyeglasses, and he also founded Von’s Vision, which provides eyewear to low-income children in Denver.

Tyler Lockett: WR, Seattle Seahawks

Often hailed for his sportsmanship, Tyler isn’t just exceptional at finding his rhythm on the field. He’s also a spoken word artist with a published book of poems called “Reflections.” Friends and family describe him as “weird”—and he has to agree. He’s always been an adventurer who loves travel, music and helping young people discover their potential through his Light It Up Foundation.

Marshawn Lynch: RB, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn has made an iconic name for himself and needs no introduction. Beast Mode speaks for itself. He’s known to love Skittles… and doing good deeds. He opened Beast Mode Apparel, a lifestyle brand that exemplifies what it means to be a “beast”—hardworking, accomplished, and humble… with a dash of attitude. Known to be family-oriented, he co-founded the Fam 1st Family Foundation, which supports underserved youth in the Bay Area.

Microsoft’s history with the NFL goes way back, with Surface helping NFL players, coaches, and teams excel from the sidelines since 2013. On game day, the NFL provides all 32 teams with the devices, which are equipped with Microsoft’s Sideline Viewing System. The app helps coaches and players analyze images from previous plays so they can better plan the next series in real-time on the field.

Over the last five years, Surface has become an integral part of every NFL team, from handling club business to creating digital playbooks to reviewing critical plays.

For a sport where seconds and inches matter, speed, agility, and reliability have never been more important. Microsoft’s goal is to help every team and each player go beyond ordinary, every season, every game.