Thursday, April 19, 2007

The NFL Will Tell You What To Wear And When To Wear It.

We all know the NFL's a stickler about sponsorships, what logos you can see on your person in uniform, how your uniform ought to be worn, etc. Bengals WR Chad Johnson gets the most attention and the most fines for rocking the orange chin strap, the odd shoe colors, and the custom nameplates, etc. Coaches Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan had to accept Reebok as their tailor and designer before the NFL would permit them to go all Tom Landry on the sidelines.

Now, Bears LB Brian Urlacher has hit the fine board for a cool $100 Gs, and it's apparently all over a goddamned drink and a cap:

Urlacher was fined for drinking vitaminwater and wearing a vitaminwater hat during the media session in Miami leading to the title game. Gatorade is the NFL's official drink.

That's pretty damn harsh, and it's a first-of-its-kind fine in terms of it happening in the Super Bowl. Former Bear QB Jim McMahon got slapped with something similar back in the day. Reggie Bush got nailed for $10,000 when the league was able to see that he was rockin' his Adidas (Reebok logos only, people!)

The cap I kind of understand. But Urlacher couldn't even drink whatever he wanted to drink, he had to clear it with the league first? (Plus, the fact that it cost 100K because it was during Super Bowl week is mind-boggling.) Next thing you know someone will get fined for eating a Quarter Pounder at a press conference. (The last result I came up with for official fast food sponsor revealed that Burger King was the official fast food restaurant.)

Problem is, guys get fined a lot less than $100K for more problematic stuff. T.O. spitting on DeAngelo Hall got him $35K, and Tyler Brayton and Jerramy Stevens got $25K and $15K a piece for in-game scuffling (Brayton's extra 10 gr. was for a knee in the crotch; most people will tell you Stevens deserved it, especially Seahawks fans.)

Clearly, Roger Goodell is just as interested as protecting the millions in sponsorship rights that funnel in as he is the league's image, if not more.

(Update: Flubby at KSK has obtained a copy of Goodell's letter regarding the fine to Urlacher, with some examples of acceptable headgear.)


Anonymous said...

Urlacher could drink whatever he wanted to drink, but I guarantee that Urlacher didn't just decide he was going to wear that hat and drink the drink just for the hell of it. Vitaminwater paid him a lot more than $100k is my guess, and Gatorade paid a whole hell of a lot more to be the exclusive provider of sport drink to the NFL. So yeah, I think Goodell is interested in protecting the millions in sponsorship rights, but you can't say he's not interested in protecting the league's image.

Signal to Noise said...

Anon - Oh, of course Urlacher got paid for that cap and drink, and he can swing that 100k easy. It's just so out of proportion as far as things to be fined on go.

Anonymous said...

Let's clarify something here. Vitamin water paid for the controversy that we're discussing. It's free advertising. They also picked up the tab on Urlacher's fine graciously.

Signal to Noise said...

Sure. Then the best way for the NFL to defuse this entirely is to not fine that excessively for it.

Zach Landres-Schnur said...

controversey = great advertising!