There are also few things that entertained me as much as Nike's NFL commercials of 1994 did when I was a teen. In these ads, legendary actor Dennis Hopper plays Stanley, an obsessed football fan in a referee's uniform who seeks out some of the stars of the era. Lets take a look at what happened next.
First, and most famous, is the ad where Stanley enters the Buffalo Bills' locker room to get a whiff of Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith's shoe. Smith was one of the best linemen to play the game, retiring as the NFL's all-time sack leader (though he had to play more years than Reggie White to break the record).
Next up is Stanley's thoughts on Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, who he calls "a cannonball loose in a pinball machine".
In this ad, Stanley uses ESP to contact the Dallas Cowboys' QB/WR duo of Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, who won three Super Bowl titles in 4 years during the early '90s.
Stanley gets in the Christmas spirit in this next ad, discussing Deion Sanders. Deion was playing for the San Francisco 49ers in '94, and ended up winning his first Super Bowl ring in January of '95.
This next one brings a tear to The Mike's eye, as it features Packers receiver Sterling Sharpe. Sharpe was easily my favorite player between '92 and '94, which would be his last season in the NFL due to a spinal injury. Despite the injury, Sharpe led the NFL with 18 TD receptions that year, the second best total for a receiver in NFL history at the time. Meanwhile, the commercial made the phrase 'Choo choo, baby. Choo choo!" part of my vocabulary.
The surprise of the '94 season was the San Diego Chargers, led by linebacker Junior Seau. In this ad, Seau makes an impression on Stanley.
When the playoffs came around, Stanley got a little more excited. Here, he reminds us that marbles, not football, is a game.
Last, but most certainly not least, is Stanley's 90 second Super Bowl spot. This is, without a doubt, my favorite video on YouTube.
(Note from The Mike: There's one more ad that I can remember but can't find, in which Stanley praises Steelers linebacker Hardy Nickerson using a tape recorder.)
Now that we've got some Hopper in our lives, let's get to the football!