NFL Spotlights Player, Fan for Super Bowl

Elaine Wong, Brandweek

NEW YORK The National Football League has picked the player and fan-based stories it will air during the upcoming Super Bowl.

NFL player Usama Young’s pitch about how his father got him a job at a friend’s lemonade stand in what is now FedEx Field (where the Washington Redskins play) was the winning player-generated video picked from over 200 entries. The contest, which is in its third year, also garnered submissions from over 400 consumers. This year’s winner, football fan Reginald Castilla, talks about how he would watch the Dallas Cowboys play via a TV installed in his father’s car in between church duties.

This is the first time the NFL has tapped both players and fans for Super Bowl ads. In its first year, the program solicited pitches from fans; the following year, submissions came from the league’s players.

“We want to hit even the most casual fan out there,” said Rob Stecklow, advertising director at the NFL. “It’s the ultimate dream: Kids across America grow up and wish they could be in the NFL one day,” Stecklow added, referring to Young’s commentary about one day playing on the same field where he sold lemonade and hot dogs.

The winning player’s pitch can be viewed at, while Castilla’s story can be found at The ads were produced in-house by the NFL. NFL’s agency, BBDO, New York, was also tapped as a consultant for the project.

Castilla’s story, on the other hand, was chosen for his humorous recount of the great lengths he’d take to not miss a Dallas Cowboys game. In a 30-second spot airing during next month’s game, Castilla discusses how he’d sneak the TV into the trunk of his father’s car the night before his favorite team played.

Aside from the player and fan spots, the NFL is also debuting a 10-second ad promoting its youth health and fitness partnership with the United Way.

The NFL spent $175 million on advertising in 2007, and $110 million through October of last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.