NFL to Address Player Safety in :60 Super Bowl Spot

Ad in third quarter will outline rule and equipment changes

The NFL placed one of the more entertaining commercials of the evening in last year's Super Bowl—a 60-second salute to the American football fan and the American family cobbled together with footage from classic TV shows. This year, the league will deliver a more sobering message in a 60-second spot about player safety, created by Grey in New York and airing at the end of the third quarter. The ad, and an accompanying website,, will offer detailed information about the history of the game and various rules changes enacted over the years to protect players, The New York Times reports. Directed by Peter Berg (who's also behind the Friday Night Lights movie and created the TV show), the spot features one long kick return as the structure for taking viewers through the evolution of the game's rules and equipment—with actors playing stars like Ollie Matson and Gale Sayers. At the end, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will say: "Here's to making the next century safer and more exciting. Forever forward. Forever football." It's a change of pace for the NFL, which has long been touchy about the issue of player safety—having gone so far as to pressure Toyota last year to edit a Saatchi & Saatchi spot showing a helmet-to-helmet collision between non-NFL players. But not everyone is set to cheer the new spot. One lawyer in the Times story who represents plaintiffs in concussion-related lawsuits against the league says the notion that the NFL has been concerned about player safety for decades is "obscuring the reality."

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