The Curse of Endorsement


If you watched any ball this Sunday, you may have seen Denver lose their second consecutive game since coming off their bye week.  They are now a troubling 7-2.  Likewise and even worse, you may have noticed that Green Bay seems to be starting some sort of self-destruct sequence at 6-3.  And we won’t even talk about the returning champs, the Seattle Seahawks who at a mediocre 4-5 are kind of stinking up the joint all while a fierce looking Russell Wilson adorned the September 10th issue of a NFL special edition Rolling Stone magazine.

Now that’s three prime-time athletes whose years are slowly turning-or have turned all the way-to doo-doo; especially Peyton Manning.  Some commentators gloomily have him sitting down for the remainder of the season, or worse.  I think about that Nationwide Insurance jingle, the music he’s so fond of, except the words to mine are, “I think he might retire soon”.

There seems to be a trend occurring in the NFL.  It’s more than just a flip-flop or any kind of ‘those who were up are now down’ type of thing; I think it speaks to things more ethereal than that.   It’s alright, scoff but I think that somewhere along the lines, cats forget about the demands of the gridiron.  I think they overlook how quickly one can be taken off his game.  It’s what I call the curse of celebrity athlete endorsement.

Watching the New York Giants vs. the Indianapolis Patriots, they were talking about Bill Parcells-a Belichick mentor-and his staunch words of advice; you have to decide what you want to be.  I’d heard him use those words before back in the day. Does anyone remember Jason Taylor, four-time all-pro defensive end and linebacker for the Miami Dolphins?

Jason Taylor, long story short, is no longer a ball player.  He’s an analyst for ESPN.  What happened, you ask?  He lost focus, danced till his heart’s content, got hurt, got traded back and forth and the rest is history.  He’s not the only one falling victim to the jinx either, my opinion.

Aaron Rodgers (#32, $7,500,000) needs to daaauble-check himself before the Packers season tanks anymore.  And if you ask me, Russell Wilson (#41, $6,000,000) of those underachieving, non-repeating Seahawks should’ve stayed his ass entirely away from Nickelodeon.   You’re a grown man; leave those kids alone.  Tony Romo of Dallas (#45, $5,000,000) has been out, hasn’t played.  Keep that up and his behind is going to have to sell a whole lot of crafts.  Eli Manning (#31, $8,000,000) of the New York Giants lost a close one to the Patriots on Sunday.  I wonder what kind of material Bad Comedian Eli Manning has to offer in retrospect.  And then there’s the man himself, big brother Peyton; the most sought after athlete endorser in the NFL.

Expected to earn $12,000,000 in endorsement income, Manning is the spokesperson for Buick, Nationwide Insurance and Papa John’s Pizza of which he personally owns 25 stores.  He was one of only two football players in the top 25 (out of 100) celebrity athlete endorsers for 2015.  The other was Drew Brees of the Saints coming in at number 25 with earnings of $11,000,000 but it seems he’s keeping off of TV.

I don’t know; I could be wrong.  Hell, I probably am but it is strange.  It is after all about excellence and excellence comes from practice, doesn’t it?  And it follows then that while you’re in front of the camera, cha-chaing on DWTS or getting slimed, that means you’re not on the playing field or watching film or training in the gym or simply resting at home recuperating.  Focus is easily lost.  Skills are surprisingly diminished.  Big Tuna was right; cats have to decide just what they want to be because you can’t do both.

Who else is toying with the football gods in such a fashion?  Drop me a comment and let me know your choices.

Romo video from YouTube, Hoosiers Waterfowlers

Russell Wilson photo cover of September 10th issue of Rolling Stone magazine

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