NFL's Stance on Safety Is a Big Lie

NFL's Stance on Safety Is a Big Lie

Suppose you work for Phillip Morris. Er, Altria. Whatever. And suppose you're making a commercial, highlighting advances in cigarette filter technology. The theme is forever nicotine. The target audience is moms, kids, potential customers, anyone with a sneaking suspicion that smoking might be, you know, bad for them. 

 

 

Crazy, right? 

 

Anyway, you need celebrities. Familiar faces. Names viewers can trust. Like Walt Disney. He was a smoker. As was Paul Newman. And Peter Jennings. Thing is, all three men died of lung cancer. With that in mind, would you still include them -- well, actors portraying them, touched up with a little digital magic -- in your spot?

 

No?

 

Congratulations. You're officially less cynical than the NFL.

 

During the Super Bowl, the league ran an advertisement about player safety. The ad wasn't new. It premiered last year. You've probably seen it. A kick return begins in Canton, Ohio, in 1906, moving up the field and forward through time, football's rules evolving, leather helmets becoming plastic, facemasks adding bars, sepia tones becoming vivid color. Ballcarrier Ollie Matson becomes Rick Upchurch. Upchurch becomes Mel Gray. Eventually, Devin Hester scores a touchdown, and Ray Lewis delivers the closing voiceover: "Here's to making the next century safer and more exciting. Forever forward. Forever football."

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