This article is brought to you by vitaminwater, unofficial sponsor of the NFL

April 24, 2007 at 2:43 am | Posted in clif, football (american) | 2 Comments

070130_urlacher_vlrg_8a_widec.jpgI’ve been thinking about that fine unloaded on Brian Urlacher recently and the uproar that has accompanied it.  Sports writers and fans are bent out of shape that the league would come down so hard ($100,000 fine ) on one of the leagues ‘good guys’ for something as silly as drinking a non-league-sponsoring sports beverage and wearing a hat with that company’s logo on it.  Urlacher’s got a pretty clean record and this fine dwarfs most fines levied for much more offensive offenses.  Brian (Wood, not Urlacher) was telling me about a piece he saw (on ESPN maybe) about how the cumulative fines of illegal-hitting, locker-room-brawling, steroid-slamming NFL bad guy, Bill Romanowski, didn’t come close to $100k. 

But I’m not crying for the Bears LB and I’ll tell you why.  After a pre-season game, the league fined rookie Reggie Bush $10,000 dollars (which is the regular season fine; $100,000 is the Super Bowl amount) for wearing Adidas shoes, instead of Reeboks.  When asked to comment about the fine, Bush replied “Adidas took care of it.”  I haven’t talked to Brian (Urlacher, not Wood) about his fine, but if I did, I imagine his reply would be something along the lines of “sucks to be vitaminwater.” 

Urlacher is not an idiot.  I guarantee he knew that his promoting a product not endorsed by the NFL would result in a fine.  And I’m sure vitaminwater (or Adidas or any other brand hitching their wagon to NFL stars without league consent) knew the same and agreed to cover the cost.  And, the league knows players and brands know, and that the corporations will pay the fee, which is why they make it so costly.  Gatorade pays through the nose to be seen on all sidelines and in the hands of players, and the NFL will be damned if some other sports-type drink is going to sneak in there without paying for it.  It’s not a punishment to the player for breaking the rules, but an advertising charge to the corporation.

It’s a brilliant move by vitaminwater.  They pay $100,000 fine to the league and whatever they gave to Urlacher to wear/drink their stuff and they get millions of dollars worth of advertising when their name is splashed all over sporting news.  I guess they must have hired a new marketing department after firing the geniuses that named the product. 

On a side note, one article related this incident to one in 1985 (the last time the Bears went to the Superbowl) where Jim McMahon was fined $5,000, by then-commissioner Pete Rozelle, for wearing a headband that read “adidas,” which was not a league sponsor.  The following week, during the conference championship, McMahon donned a new headband that said “rozelle.”  That guy is so awesome.


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  1. I am a Bears fan from Argentina. Very nice Bears information.
    I miss the days of Walter Payton and William Perry.
    I hope to be in Chicago for a game this fall.

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote
    the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive
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