Ex-NFL star launches G1 esports organization

Adam Fitch
Kenny Vaccaro Gamers First G1

NFL pro Kenny Vaccaro has retired from American football and launched an esports organization named Gamers First, or G1 for short.

Making a name for himself at the Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints, Vaccaro has hung up his professional sports jersey and traded it for competitive gaming.

The athlete has launched Gamers First, also referred to as G1, alongside entrepreneurs Hunter Swensson and Cody Hendrix with three core values of competition, content, and culture.

Vaccaro cites his preference to identify as a “gamer first” while he was competing in football as the inspiration for the team’s name. The press release states he’s left his chance to win the Super Bowl to “instead shoot for a Halo World Championship.”

At launch, G1 have signed four professional Halo players and four content creators for Bungie franchise Destiny. As well as competing, they plan to produce “community-focused initiatives” such as tournaments for charities.

G1 is similar in name to established and prominent organization G2 Esports, founded by former pro player Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodríguez, and the recently revived gaming network G4.

A host of NFL players and athletes from other sports recently joined Complexity Gaming as part of a new division that aims to bridge the gap between gaming and other entertainment sectors.

“This isn’t a reflex decision for me; it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time,” said Vaccaro. “I’ve been a gamer for even longer than I’ve played football, and I’ve always thought of myself as a gamer first. So this is the realization of a long-term dream for me.

“And while football has been how many have defined me, G1 is evidence for other athletes as well that life doesn’t end just because you put down the helmet. You can reinvent yourself.”