Monday, January 30, 2012

A Super Bowl Ad Worth Watching

National Football League
The N.F.L.'s Super Bowl commercial includes an actor portraying the Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, whose career was cut short by knee injuries.
The New York Times is reporting that the NFL will be running a commercial on player safety during the third quarter of the upcoming Super Bowl.

The concept sounds interesting:
The commercial, directed by Peter Berg — who created the TV program “Friday Night Lights” — will be shown during the final commercial break of the third quarter. It uses one long kick return as a way to take viewers through the evolution of the game’s rules and equipment, from the sport’s beginnings on a muddy field in Canton, Ohio, when players wore no helmets or pads, to the present in a brightly lighted Soldier Field.

At one point, a leather helmet peels back to reveal a more modern one made of plastic. Later, a player grabs an opponent’s face mask, a violation of current rules.

Only the most devoted fan would recognize all the references. The flying wedge, a blocking technique that is believed to have made its debut in 1892 but was banned soon after, is shown briefly in the opening seconds. Near the end, a horse-collar tackle, only recently forbidden, is featured.

But nobody, particularly the casual fan at whom the commercial is primarily aimed, will miss its closing message, delivered by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis: “Here’s to making the next century safer and more exciting. Forever forward. Forever football.”
I'm a little uneasy making Ray Lewis a spokesman for anything related to saving lives, but that's beside the point.

There's also been some criticism leveled at the NFL that, after years of ignoring the problem, it took lawsuits for them to actually address it. And that's very fair, but again a little beside the point. Yes, they waited too long to address the problems inherent in the game. But they are addressing them, even if reluctantly. And the fact that they feel compelled to spend their valuable Super Bowl face time on this is a huge step forward. You may recall that last year they ran a much less hard-hitting ad, if you'll pardon the pun.

I'm intrigued to see the ad. Even if that screenshot's the closest our Packers will get to the game this year. The re-created mid-1960s uniforms look pretty good, although I'll have to check those 5's.

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