In Florida, the NFL has been busy – not only planning this year’s Superbowl in Tampa, but helping to restore a coral reef near Miami, host of last year’s game.

“The 100 Yards of Hope is a project to restore an area of coral reef the size of an entire NFL football field,” says Jack Groh, director of the NFL’s environmental program.

“The barrier reefs provide an intensive habitat for marine plants and animals and they also create an enormous storm break,” he says.

That helps protect coastal areas. But Florida’s reefs have been damaged by warming waters, storms, and disease.

So the NFL partnered with researchers from the University of Miami and other organizations to replant staghorn corals, a fast-growing, endangered coral species.

Scientists working on the project report that the first corals planted as part of the project are thriving.

Groh says helping repair this important ecosystem is part of the NFL’s larger environmental mission. He says the goals go beyond recycling and reducing waste during the Superbowl, “to leave some kind of a legacy of greenness and sustainability.”

And that legacy will last long after game day.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.