For the 2022 season kickoff, the NFL worked with Los Angeles artist Ruben Rojas to create Rams and Bills versions of "Love" sculptures to encourage nationwide unity.
The sculpture painted in Rams colors will be unveiled Thursday prior to kickoff.
According to a press release from the league, fans attending the Thursday night's game game will be able to see the LA "Love" sculpture on Upper American Airlines Plaza by the 'Countdown to Kickoff' stage any time after gates open at 3 p.m. pacific time. The Bills' sculpture will debut in front of Highmark stadium the week leading into the club's Home Opener on September 19.
"Love is a verb," Rojas said to Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey in a video shared on both the NFL's and Rojas' Instagrams. "We use it as fuel, we have to choose it, just like we choose God, just like we choose being good people, but we can't just throw it around. It's something that you actually have to do the work, just like putting in the reps at practice, putting in the reps in the gym – it's not easy choosing love."
"Honestly it's easy to get caught in your emotions sometimes and get mad, flick somebody off or do something," Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey said to Rojas in another video shared on that same post on both the NFL's and Rojas' Instagrams. "But when you have a constant reminder of, 'this is how we gonna change the world right here, this is our purpose right here, let's show love, let's live through love,' that's why I was so connected to you from the jump, because I have that same mindset, I have that same vision."
The collaborative message of love and unity from the NFL and Rojas to kick off the 2022 NFL season is intentional in wake of an increase in hate crimes and gun violence nationwide. Following a targeted attack against the Black community in Buffalo earlier this year, the NFL Foundation and the Buffalo Bills Foundation donated a combined $400,000 to charities benefiting the city's East Side community. During Thursday's game, both Bills and Rams players will wear helmets with the message "Choose Love" as part of the league's social justice helmet decal messaging this season.
Each "Love" sculpture is hand crafted from sheets of aluminum through techniques like laser cutting, manual molding, welding and sanding. The sculptures, which measure 10 feet high, appear free floating, an intentional creative choice by Rojas to highlight the power of love and how it can stand freely on its own.
Rojas, who gifted Ramsey a piece of his own during a recent visit with him, said that collaboration between art and sports can be powerful.
"I think that's how we can change the world," Rojas said.