Following the successful promotion of last night’s Denver Broncos – New England Patriots matchup as Manning — Brady XIV, NBC executives were quick to promote next week’s Sunday Night Football game between the New York Giants and Washington Redskins using the same roman numeral format, underscoring the Super Bowl-level importance of the game.
However, only hours after debuting a new campaign centered around star quarterbacks Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III, NBC decided to pull the ads — which billed the game as Manning II — RG III III — after realizing how confusing they were to viewers.
“Last night’s Manning — Brady XIV was a modern classic — maybe the most exciting game of football this year,” said NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood. “As such, we at NBC felt compelled to ‘keep a good thing going’ with next week’s great NFC East matchup between two longtime rivals. Unfortunately, the fine folks in creative at NBC failed to realize how difficult that would be with two quarterbacks who need qualifiers and suffixes added to their last names.”
According to Flood, NBC tested several variations on the roman numeral format — including Manning, E. — Griffin III, R. III; EM — RG III III; Eli — Robert III; and Manning Jr. — Cousins I — but each resulted in more confusion.
Flood also said that once NBC looked at some of their upcoming quarterback matchups, the quarterback Roman numeral idea was scrapped.
“We’ve got Big Ben and Flacco coming up next, and I can’t think of a single person who cares how many times those guys have played — what is it now, 17 or something?” Flood said. “And how do we know Big Ben will even stay healthy? No one will be tuning in for Flacco — Gradkowski II, that’s for sure.”
At press time, NBC confirmed they would forego weird advertising gimmicks in the future and stick with what works — showing football on television at the same time on the same channel every week.