The Pittsburgh Steelers are not the Dallas Cowboys. I can argue all day that the Steelers are “America’s Team,” but there is no denying the Cowboys’ players get all kinds of endorsements. Players like Dak Prescott, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and on and on ad nauseum in all kinds of commercials. In recent years, Pat Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers All State commercials have become insanely popular. Insert Jack Lambert and “Mean” Joe Greene instead, and the copy practically writes itself. Steeler Nation knows and loves all our stars but the Black and Gold national advertising campaigns have been few and far between.
It is hard to see Greg Lloyd becoming the face of a national restaurant chain for example. The ad campaign would probably be something along the lines of “Come to our restaurant, or else.” Somehow, I do not think it would be viewed as good clean family fun. The flag of Steeler Nation is the Terrible Towel. A bar of soap or dishwasher, or even a dish detergent seems like a natural fit, but it has been 40 years and I am still waiting for the connection.
That said, let us look back at what I think are the 5 best commercials featuring a Pittsburgh Steelers player in the Super Bowl era:
5. Terry Bradshaw and Jerome Bettis Pepsi/Frito Lay Commercial
Eli Manning and Victor Cruz co-star in this Super Bowl commercial, but Bettis and Bradshaw steal the show. Pepsi might not be as big as Coca-Cola, but they know a good thing when they see it. The Steelers are obviously a good thing!
4. JuJu Smith-Schuster Pizza Hut Doorbell Dance
The commercial was aired during the 2018 NFL Draft and featured JuJu Smith-Schuster enjoying himself and showcasing the doorbell dance. Smith-Schuster was a big personality and say what you want about him, but he played with a smile and was always having fun.
3. Troy Polamalu Groundhog Day Commercial for TruTv
Troy Polamalu was a gifted pitch man for a few products, and some could point to his Head & Shoulders campaigns or his Coca-Cola throwback. But I really like this one the best. It is the funniest in my opinion and this is my list!
2. Antonio Brown Madden 17 Video Game
Antonio Brown had a very funny ESPN commercial and Rob Corddry and Brown did some great work on his Pepsi commercial too. However, based on his new career, this commercial is a sneak peak of what a Brown concert might look like.
1. Joe Greene Coca-Cola 1980
No doubt for me on this one. It was a cultural phenomenon and spawned a funny imitation with Polamalu nearly 30 years later. Greene and Tommy Okon touched America’s heart with this 1-minute masterpiece.
Bradshaw, Bettis, Smith-Schuster, Polamalu, Brown, and Greene did a fine job representing the Steelers and they are not the only ones over the years. The 2022 Steelers will be a young team fighting for respect on the field. If they turn into a serious playoff contender during the season, will Madison Avenue come calling? T.J. Watt the NFL Defensive Player of the Year seems like a good candidate as a pitchman. Maybe Cam Heyward and Connor Heyward could horn into the Peyton/Eli Manning schtick and find out if Nationwide is on the Steelers side. How about Kenny Pickett and Home Depot, the fencing ads write themselves, Paging Arthur Blank, Mr. Blank pick up the Black and Gold courtesy phone? Wait a minute, I need to stop giving these away for free and end this.
What do you think, Steeler Nation? What is your favorite Steeler Commercial of all time? Please comment below or on my twitter @thebubbasq.