PLANO, Texas, Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Tostitos, the brand known for making anytime party time, turned football dreams into reality yesterday for select U.S. military veterans by transforming a seemingly ordinary football game to support Got Your 6 and benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation into the ultimate football party and star-studded event. This one-of-a-kind on-field surprise party – created to celebrate the homecoming of veterans who have previously served overseas – was complete with legendary college football players and coaches, including Bobby Bowden, Urban Meyer, Kurt Warner and Marcus Allen; actor and screenwriter, Owen Wilson; sideline reporting from Eric Stonestreet; and a performance by chart-topping musical guest, Gym Class Heroes. Highlights from the surprise party were captured on film and will be televised nationally during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl broadcast on ESPN on Jan. 3, 2013. The highlights will also be available on the Tostitos Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/Tostitos following the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl broadcast. Tostitos, one of the flagship brands from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division has been the title sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl, part of the Bowl Championship Series, for the past 18 years.
"The Tostitos brand is all about making anytime party time, and we couldn't think of a better reason to throw a party than to thank the men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice overseas," said Tony Matta, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay. "Making it a surprise and seeing this transformation unfold made this homecoming celebration even more unforgettable and exciting for everyone involved."
How the Surprise Homecoming Party Happened
Twenty eight unsuspecting service men and women arrived onsite at Cerritos College just south of Los Angeles ready to play a casual game of flag football to benefit Got Your 6 and the Pat Tillman Foundation. Unbeknownst to them, more than 12,000 fans were eagerly awaiting their arrival, ready to cheer them on as they entered the jam-packed stadium. While suiting up for the game, legendary college football coaches, Bowden and Meyer, arrived announcing they would each be leading a team, calling the plays and coaching their respective players to victory. The service men and women were then joined by former college and professional football greats, Allen and Warner, who revealed they, too, would be joining the game to play alongside the veterans. As the players ran through the tunnel and took the field, they were greeted by the thousands of cheering fans, a group of cheerleaders and the sounds of two full-fledge marching bands, making it clear that something big was happening.
As the players divided into two teams—Team Liberty and Team Freedom—they received the ultimate surprise—their final team member—well-known actor and screenwriter, Owen Wilson. Suddenly, this was no longer a casual game of flag football; it was the football party of a lifetime.
The game was action-packed, kept fans on the edge of their seats and ultimately saw Team Freedom achieve victory with a score of 26-20. Warner, traditionally known for his passing game, ran for two touchdowns. The last two minutes included game-changing plays made by both sides. With 41 seconds to go, Team Freedom took the lead. With four seconds left, Wilson had the game-winning, end-zone interception for Team Freedom.
When the game was over, the party continued with an exclusive musical performance by the multi-platinum group, Gym Class Heroes. Performing such No. 1 hits as "Stereo Hearts" and "Cupid's Chokehold/Breakfast in America," Gym Class Heroes carried out an extraordinary concert that capped off a truly amazing experience for those that took part.
The surprise Tostitos Homecoming Party Bowl was made possible through a partnership with Got Your 6 and the Pat Tillman Foundation. Got Your 6 is a campaign led by the entertainment industry that is helping to create a new conversation in America, one where veterans and military families are perceived as both leaders and civic assets. Founded in 2004, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing resources and educational scholarship support to veterans, active service members and their spouses.
The complete list of Tostitos Homecoming Party Bowl participants included:
- Owen Wilson – Comedic actor/screenwriter and longtime supporter of U.S. military veterans.
- Eric Stonestreet – Currently stars as Cameron Tucker on ABC's comedy series, "Modern Family," a role for which he earned two Emmy Awards in the "Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series" category, in 2010 and 2012
- Gym Class Heroes – Alternative/hip-hop group Gym Class Heroes first catapulted to international stardom in 2007 with their No.1 hit "Cupid's Chokehold/Breakfast In America." As a solo artist, Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie McCoy was responsible for one of the biggest songs of 2010 with his smash single "Billionaire (featuring Bruno Mars)." Last year, Gym Class Heroes scored their second No. 1 hit with "Stereo Hearts (featuring Adam Levine)." Collectively, Travie and Gym Class Heroes have sold more than two million albums worldwide and more than 10 million digital singles.
- Kurt Warner – Former quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, the New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals. Warner is also considered one of the greatest un-drafted quarterbacks in history, with a very successful 12-year career in the NFL.
- Marcus Allen—As a Hall of Fame running back with the Oakland (Los Angeles) Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, Allen is renowned for his on-field skills. He was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1981 during his time at University of Southern California and was later elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
- Coach Urban Meyer – Former player and current head coach at Ohio State University. Meyer who also coached the Florida Gators to two BCS National Championship Game victories in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
- Coach Bobby Bowden—Known as the most winning coach in college football history, Bowden had 40 winning seasons as the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles, a team he led from 1976 to 2009.
- Neil Everett – Joined the ESPN family in 2000 as a sports anchor and has since become the face of the network's flagship show, SportsCenter, as the anchor for the late-night Los Angeles edition.
- Marcellus Wiley – Former All-Pro defensive end Marcellus Wiley joined ESPN in 2007 and currently appears on NFL Live, and is a frequent guest host for "Mike and Mike in the Morning" and "SportsNation."
- Samantha Steele – Host and reporter for ESPN's College GameDay, Thursday Night Football and Super Tuesday college basketball. Steele formerly worked as a reporter/host for Longhorn Network and Fox Sports.
Fans attending tonight's Tostitos Homecoming Party Bowl were encouraged to share photos, tweets and videos from the game (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) using the hash tag #surprisebowlgame. For more information, please visit the Tostitos Facebook Page at www.Facebook.com/Tostitos.
The Tostitos brand 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.
About PepsiCo PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
About Got Your 6 Got Your 6 is a campaign designed to change the conversation in America such that veterans and military families are seen as civic assets and leaders who will reinvigorate our community. The campaign combines the reach and resources of the top American entertainment studios, networks, guilds and agencies with the expertise and commitment of more than two dozen non-profit organizations. Got Your 6 also enjoys the support of organizations such as Goodwill Industries. Through an extensive media footprint and a set of substantial service commitments, Got Your 6 will ensure successful reintegration of veterans into civilian life. For more information, visit www.gotyour6.org. Be the Change, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is the organizing body and fiscal agent for Got Your 6.
About the Pat Tillman Foundation Family and friends established the Pat Tillman Foundation following Pat's death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Afghanistan. Created to honor Pat's legacy and pay tribute to his commitment to leadership and service, the Pat Tillman Foundation is a national leader in providing educational support and resources to veterans, active servicemembers and their spouses. Inspired by Pat's attributes of leadership, passion for education and spirit of service, the Foundation annually awards educational scholarships through the Tillman Military Scholars program. Since the Foundation's inception, over $5 million in educational support has been invested in individuals committed to a life of service both in an out of uniform, including over $3.2 million awarded to 230 Tillman Military Scholars nationwide. For more information, visit www.pattillmanfoundation.org. For more information on the Tillman Military Scholars program, please visit www.pattillmanfoundation.org/tillman-military-scholars/.
BROADCAST / PRINT / TV MEDIA: Broadcast quality video, photo stills and press information is available to preview, download and share at www.magicbulletmedia.com/MNR/tostitoshomecomingpartybowl