In Which The NFL Gets A Little Captain In Them

Sure this Cowboys-Eagles game is entertaining, but why do I suddenly have the urge to loot the Spanish West Indies? That’s Eagles tight end Brent Celek there striking a pose, with the help of teammate Jason Avant following Celek’s TD reception on Sunday night. Guzzlers of fine rum recognized it immediately as the Captain Morgan pose. But why did Celek do it? And why didn’t Avant get on his hands and knees and act as the barrel?

Brent Celek, Captain Morgan

Turns out it was stealth advertising snuck in by the booze company, in cahoots with Celek, with proceeds going to charity. The NFL of course was not amused, and has vowed to hunt down all such advertising pirates and hang their heads from the yardarm.

After the game, Celek denied any complicity with the Captain Morgan people, but YAHOO SPORTS dug deeper and found that Celek was fibbing. Of course they worked together on this, and more NFL players were planning to get in on it.

The “Captain Morgan” was effectively banned this week after the league learned of a wider campaign meant to get players to repeatedly strike the pose during NFL games.

“A company can’t pay a player to somehow promote it’s product on the field,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Yahoo! Sports this week. “Every league has the same rule. … It’s come up before, companies trying to use our games and then players for ambush marketing purposes.”

Here’s a link to the video of the TD and pose.

In hopes of raising brand awareness, Captain Morgan intended to offer lucrative charity contributions in exchange for each instance a player was caught on camera doing its pose during a game. The contributions were earmarked for the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund – a non-profit which helps retired NFL players with various hardships after leaving the game.

“The [ad campaign] has been going around internally for a while and [Celek] learned of the program through his contact at Diageo [Captain Morgan’s parent company],” said Glenn Lehrman, an account director at Rogers & Cowan, the Los Angeles-based firm that handles Captain Morgan promotions. “Brent said, ‘You know what, if I get the opportunity, I’m going to go ahead and do it.’ He sort of beat us to the punch, but we’re certainly not going to complain.”

The campaign was set to be unveiled next week and was fairly simple: For every time a player was caught on camera striking the “Captain Morgan” during a regular season game, $10,000 would be donated to Gridiron Greats. For each instance in the playoffs, the donation would elevate to $25,000. And for instances in the Super Bowl, the bounty was slated to hit $100,000 per pose.

First of all it’s a huge upset that Chad Ochocinco wasn’t somehow involved in this. Secondly, it’s going to harder for the NFL to keep the lid on this kind of thing than it thinks. The first time I see a player look at the camera, close his eyes and see “Home of” “the Whopper” written on his eyelids, I’m going to laugh and laugh.

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