How powerful is the NFL? It can compel the world's largest automaker to change a commercial simply because it doesn't like it.
The league asked Toyota to remove a clip of a helmet-to-helmet hit from a television advertisement late last year or have it banned from airing during the league's broadcasts, according to a report by Reuters. The Japanese company took out the segment but refused to pull the spot entirely. This despite the fact that the NFL was never referenced in the commercial and the clip in question involved generic high school football players.
"From time to time, we will address an ad that portrays our sport unfairly," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
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Take a look at the offending advertisement and see if it presents football in a negative light (pay special attention with 13 seconds remaining, which is when the helmet-to-helmet hit occurs):
A mother is worried about her son playing football? Hasn't that situation been a staple of sitcoms, movies and commercials since Carol was worried about Bobby playing ball on "The Brady Brunch"?
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The hit isn't pretty to watch (helmet-to-helmet hits never are) but did it make you think of the NFL? Just because the commercial is related to football doesn't mean viewers associate it with the professional game. You don't think of Mozart every time you hear a guy playing piano in a department store, do you?
The next time the league wants to complain to someone about the promotion of helmet-to-helmet hits, it should try purging its back catalog. Three years ago the NFL released a DVD called "Moment of Impact" and wrote this on the back of the box:
First you hear the breathing, then you feel the wind coming through your helmet's ear hole. Suddenly you're down, and you're looking through your helmet's ear hole. Pain? That's for tomorrow morning. Right now you've gotta focus -- focus on the next play and try not to focus on the next Moment of Impact.
The league no longer sells the DVD on its official website.
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