I noticed that I haven’t put anything in Back Page Sports in a while, and since I’m so sports-minded, I can’t help but feel like that’s not a good thing on my part. I’ll admit, I haven’t really been paying much attention to the NBA or Major League Baseball because the wife has been giving me a crash-course into hockey, so there isn’t really much I write on that at the moment. So, I’m canvassing my brain to figure out how I make make another contribution to the sports facet of this blog and then it hit me… NFL promos!
While most of these are not going to explicitly be promotional spots advertising the National Football League on it’s own, it needs to be said that the NFL has done a phenomenal job advertising themselves while advertising other products, such as beer, fast food, and cable providers. Let’s take a look at some of the best TV spots the NFL has had over their history.
- … With the Twins!
The NFL and Coors Light have been bosom buddies for a while. Hell, the NFL has been bosom buddies with most breweries for a while. The tapped into their viewership demographic by realizing that the Sunday afternoon chomp-fest of nearly every American consists of pizza, wings, and beer… and the twins!
Who doesn’t love the twins?
- I’m Allergic to Dolphins!!
This one way be on this list at least partially because of nostalgia, but either way, this was a damn good promo. In the mid-1990’s, there was a resurgence with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang, thanks in part to a little cult-film called Space Jam. Despite it being a movie that showed a “not quite how it happened” version of Michael Jordan’s return to basketball, it catapulted the Termite Terrace creations back into the national spotlight, and introduced the world to Bugs Bunny’s love interest, Lola. The NBA and Warner Brothers used these ink-and-paint heroes to their fullest marketing advantage… but so did the NFL.
Note: My goal was to find the promo in it’s entirety, and I did, but it’s in the midst of a five-minute collection of commercials. The Looney Tunes bit starts at :38 and ends at 1:08.
They took four of the biggest names in the star-driven NFL at the time and put them on cups featuring four of the most popular Looney Tunes characters of all time. Brilliant, and on top of that, you got them at McDonald’s. In 1995, McDonald’s was, in all seriousness, the shit.
- They Usually Go For Two
Another beer promo, this time for long-time friend of the NFL, Anheuser-Busch. Known for the Clydesdales, the makers of the signature Bud products decided to make them do a little more than prance around in majesty during this ad from Super Bowl XXX.
Not only did that horse kick a field goal that only the great Jason Elam could have made, but the choreography with the equines was brilliant. This commercial is probably the best combination of product and gridiron the NFL ever came up with. Well, except maybe…
- Hey Kid… Catch!
I’m pretty sure you all know what this video is going to be, so I’m not going to beat around the bush. Mean Joe Green is hobbling off the field after a game which I presume was played against either the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, or Miami Dolphins (it is the 70’s, after all), and some kid follows him into the tunnel to tell him how awesome he thinks he is. The kid gives Green his Coke, which took some convincing for Mean Joe to accept, but I think after he realized it was not a Pepsi, he decided “hell yeah, I want some bubbly goodness”, and took the fizzy elixir of amazingness. The kid let’s out a sigh, then walks away, but reinvigorated by the nectar of life, Mean Joe Green tosses the kid his dirty, sweaty, and presumably bloody jersey (it is the 70’s, after all). Happiness all around!
Many consider it the best NFL promo of all time, and for the sheer sake of it’s long-lasting impact, I may have to agree. However, let us not forget when the ad was updated for the newer generation, involving another Steeler who is among the NFL’s badassery elite.
- Hey! That was for ME!
The Mean Joe Green ad was revisitited for Super Bowl XLIII (I think it was that one), featuring none other than Troy Polamalu, who at the time was one of the most feared defenders in the league, and is quite possibly, one of the best, if not the best, safety to every play pro football (I still reserve that Ronnie Lott is the best, but let’s move on, shall we.) The idea behind the ad was to push Coke Zero, a not-quite-Coke beverage that is catered to a more “zero calories” audience. They claim it tastes like Coke. I beg to differ, and I have 20 years experience with this stuff. Anyway, the commercial plays out like the original until the “Coke brand managers” step in and take the Coke Zero from Polamalu, which entitles them to feel the safety’s wrath. In lieu of a jersey, Polamalu rips off one of the brand managers shirts and tosses it to the kid, ending the ad with the “dah-da-da-da-da-daaaaaah!” seen commonly in late 2000’s Coke Zero ads.
- The Super Bowl Within the Super Bowl
We can go on for hours about awesome NFL promos, but we have to find a stopping point somewhere. So, I figure I’ll leave you all with something that really doesn’t need much explaining. Just watch the glory of… Bud Bowl!
Bud Bowl I: Budweiser 24, Bud Light 24 (during Super Bowl XXIII)
Note: There is an alternate ending of Bud Bowl I that I cannot find, but it parodies the infamous Heidi Game.
Bud Bowl II: Budweiser 36, Bud Light 34 (during Super Bowl XXIV)
Bud Bowl III: Bud Light 23, Budweiser 21 (during Super Bowl XXV)
Bud Bowl IV: Budweiser 27, Bud Light 24 (from Super Bowl XXVI)
Bud Bowl IV, unfortunately, didn’t show the game, instead chronicling the misadventures of a Bud Bowl fan who’s potential million dollar ticket was accidentally thrown out by his wife.
Bud Bowl V: Budweiser 35, Bud Light 31 (during Super Bowl XXVII)
Bud Bowl VI: Bud Light 20, Budweiser 14 (during Super Bowl XXVIII)
Bud Bowl VII: Budweiser 26, Bud Light 24 (from Super Bowl XXIX)
Note: Bud Bowl VII did not have it’s own video, so I just showed the ending.
Bud Bowl VIII: Budweiser 27, Bud Light 24
Unfortunately, a video for Bud Bowl VIII doesn’t exist. But, I think you get the drift.