JACKSONVILLE, FL—Although NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue declared the Super Bowl XXXIX experiment with in-game product placement a success, fans and players expressed mixed feelings about the championship game Monday.
"Don't get me wrongthis year's Super Bowl was an exciting face-off," said Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, whose team was defeated 24-21 in a hard-fought contest. "The Patriots only got 331 yards on our defense, mostly because it took us a while to adjust to tackling players doused in Axe Deodorant Bodyspray For Men. But you can be sure they felt the heat of our Ford Motor Company sponsored Lincoln Mark LT blitzes. Our nose tackle drove this season's hottest new luxury truck straight into their offensive line."
In spite of complaints from football fans, Super Bowl XXXIX was a tremendous financial success, with an estimated audience of 2 billion worldwide and a sponsorship revenue exceeding $820 million.
Advertisers as diverse as H&R Block, Verizon, and FTD paid top dollar to have their products and logos used or represented during game play.
"It was great for the team to earn a couple million when we lined up and used the Anheuser-Busch logo as our scrimmage formation," said Eagles safety Brian Dawkins. "Unfortunately, that logo is really elaborate, so we got flagged for having 40 men on the field."
Dawkins was hampered by penalties and flagged once for failing to dial 1-800-COLLECT.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who completed 30 of 51 passes for 357 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions, said he would have performed even better if it weren't for the wind and the difficulties he experienced throwing the two-liter Pepsi bottle, the oversized Viagra tablet, and the 13 other objects that served as balls during the game.
"This is great for the league, but I'm not sure it's the best thing in the world for the players," McNabb said. "The anxiety made me throw to [wide receiver Todd] Pinkston a half-second before he turned and looked back for the ball—I mean, looked for the can of Campbell's new Chunky Chili. If I hadn't felt so much pressure to please the advertisers, I wouldn't have hit him in the forehead with that pass. I also believe that, if he'd been wearing a traditional helmet instead of a KFC bucket, he wouldn't be in the hospital right now."
The play in question earned McNabb and Pinkston $65,000 each.
Patriots running back Corey Dillon said it took some time to adjust to the new game rules.
"You expect to get hit, and you expect the game to be played hard," Dillon said. "But you don't expect the quarterback to call a lead-toss right off-tackle play and then hand off a damn 50-pound Kyocera Mita combination copier/printer/fax machine."
In spite of the unusual circumstances, Dillon went free with a 45-yard run, breaking four tackles and making clean, crisp prints all the while, in an open-field romp that office-machine manufacturers are calling the play of the century.
"One thing's certain," Dillon said. "Kyocera office products go the distance."
Patriots wideout Deion Branch, Super Bowl XXXIX's Most Valuable Player, was instrumental to the Patriots victory, catching The Pepsi Spirit, The Great New Feeling Of The Great City Of Jacksonville, and 11 passes for 133 yards.
NFL marketing chief Phil Guarascio admitted that on-field product-placement is in its early stages.
"The league is sensitive to complaints from fans who say advertising should not affect play," Guarascio said. "That's why we've urged Kyocera to develop lighter copiers."
"And we're still hearing things, good and bad, from the professional-sports community," Guarascio continued. "The NFL Player's Association has made several good points about a few ill-considered product placements that may have led to player injuries. Nonetheless, we think product placement will make the NFL a more exciting and profitable venture for players and marketers alike."
According to doctors, Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi is still listed in critical condition after recovering a fumble in the Kingsford Charcoal Red Hot End Zone.