Not content to dominate the national sports conversation for the five-six months teams are actually competing, the NFL’s turned several pieces of its offseason business into events that generate headlines... and fuel the appetite of its football-hungry fanbase.
The newest and probably most deviously brilliant of those is the hype the League’s built around the release of team schedules. There’s a formula for which teams will play each other each year, so everyone has a list of their opponents for the next season as soon as the previous one ends — it’s actually one of the more logical things the NFL does. But they’ve still managed to turn the reveal of when those teams will play each other into a now-week-long happening.
Cynicism aside, one of the cool things about the strategy is how it gives each team a chance to flex their marketing muscles. From memes & shady tweets about rivals to full-blown video productions, Schedule Release day proper now gives us 32 different creative campaigns of various quality.
And this year, two of those featured WWE Superstars. Seth Rollins and The Miz’s love of the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns is well documented, so they undoubtedly marked out for the chance to be a part of their release videos. WWE certainly loved being a part of a high profile NFL effort like the Schedule Release.
Schedule. Freakin'. Release. pic.twitter.com/ugTCq44WQN— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 11, 2023
For my money’s, Seth’s is the winner — and not just because the Bears realized he and the thing they’re celebrating have the same initials (is it because Miz is repping a division rival of my favorite team? No comment).
Chicago’s video is a parody of the F/X show The Bear, a very good family dramedy set in a sandwich shop on the city’s North Side. Rollins stars alongside team legend Charles Tillman, with the former taking orders while the latter runs the kitchen. One noteworthy thing about it is there are no wrestling tie-ins, and nothing about it makes a big deal about Seth being a wrestler, or even tells the audience that he is.
Miz’s Browns went an entirely different route, having the A-Lister play color commentator for an animated wrestling federation, Dawg Pound Wrestling (in honor of the Browns rowdiest fans and the section of their stadium they traditionally occupy). He’s joined by Browns play-by-play voice and Corey Graves sound-alike Nathan Zegura.
It didn’t do much for me personally (how fired up can you get about watching a cartoon elf called “Brownie”? Also, see above. Signed, a Yinzer Yeller). I will give them credit for making the Indianapolis Colts-inspired wrestler look an awful lot like the team’s former punter-turned-broadcaster who pinned Miz at WrestleMania 39 last month.
Awesome all around. I’m sure Nick Khan and his soon-to-be bosses at Endeavor think so, too.
UPDATE: I missed Sheamus in one of the Tennessee Titans’ two Schedule Release videos (probably because I was crying laughing so hard at the “person on the street” version).
All our rowdy friends are at Robert's and ready for football!— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) May 12, 2023
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: 2023 Schedule Release on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/ymAaKLU87L
He doesn’t talk about it nearly as much as Seth or Miz, but The Celtic Warrior calls Nashville home, so presumably Music City’s pro football team is his fave.