NFL pressures Toyota over spot’s helmet hit

The NFL is notoriously overprotective of its image. No surprise, then, that it's now editing TV spots. The league has targeted a pretty mundane Toyota ad (below) that shows how the carmaker is developing technology that can be used to understand brain injuries. The Saatchi & Saatchi spot shows, for about a second, a helmet-to-helmet collision between non-NFL players. The NFL, which has dealt with a rash of concussions, along with credible accusations that it long swept the problem of brain trauma under the rug, freaked. Of course, all it could really do was bar the ad from airing during its games. But it asked Toyota to do more. An exec at the carmaker hints that the NFL wanted Toyota to pull the ad entirely, but Toyota was willing only to edit out the offending couple of seconds (though so far it has left the YouTube version intact). The move might be more trouble than it's worth for the NFL, which is now getting showered with abuse from the likes of Deadspin. It's sure to shed an unfavorable light on the league's late reaction to its concussion problem at a time when it's preparing for a major labor showdown with players. Sometimes it's best to just let things be.