Football is one of the few sports nowadays that teaches perseverance, and the values of enduring through the physical pain that may surround you. Football is all about how long you can endure the ultimate struggle against the opposition. Not many other sports have that quality instilled within the nature of the sport.
I believe all sports create self-confidence, character, and gets kids' minds working (the strategy). Football is an interesting perspective though, I would say more so with softball, baseball, and basketball type sports. Sports, including football, help kids stay fit (which is good for them later in life also) and it improves their attitudes too.
Football certainly has the ability to prepare kids for life outside of football. It can help teach kids work ethic, team work, and commitment. However, the same can be said about any other hobbies, from playing music, to riding horses, to playing video games. The hobby itself is not what prepares the kid for life, it is how the perform the hobby and which lessons they are able to take away from it.
Foot ball prepares children for life outside of football. As with any sport whether it be softball or basketball or soccer, being on a sports team can teach children, team work, leadership, responsibility. It can also teach them to test themselves and know their strengths. It can give them goals to work towards.
There are numerous football players from the college and professional level that have gotten into drugs, violence and plenty of other career ending circumstances. If players really learned any life lessons from football, then there would not be a higher percentage than any other sport of players that ruin their careers by making horrible choices.
Playing football at an elite level does not prepare children for life. Star athletes get special treatment and are often given inflated grades. The game itself can teach some valuable life lessons, but the cult of the athlete hampers personal development off the field. An ex-football player may have difficulty in holding jobs and dealing with life outside the limelight.
Football does nothing besides prepare people to play football. You may ask, "but what about players and coaches who tout the idea that teamwork and life lessons are learned on the pitch?" My argument is that players and coaches who do learn life lessons (and not all football players do), learn them elsewhere and apply them on the pitch, not the other way around. Have you ever been to a high school football practice? It is a lot more face-in-the-dirt and a lot less huddle-around-life-lessons.