Pelé, Ronaldino and Kaká are household names among millions who follow soccer around the world.
Shrewd marketers FIFA, the governing body of the World Cup, believe branding of its star players is essential to soccer’s success. However, many think the NFL matches FIFA toe-to-toe as a global marketer.
Attempting to one-up its sporting competitors, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is negotiating with the league’s player’s union to ask many of its stars to brand themselves by a single name like their soccer counterparts.
“The NFL is fast becoming a worldwide attraction,” Goodell said in a press release. “We’ll soon have teams in London, Mexico City and, perhaps, Tokyo, so this move is part of our overall strategy.”
The idea is catching on. One Pro Bowler said most players would enjoy having their own brand. “I’m lovin’ it,” the player said. “Besides, the coaches don’t know half the dudes’ last names now, so this is da bomb.”
Some players have hired public relations firms to find names for them. Among monikers floated to the media are “Omaha,” for Peyton Manning. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will be called “Boinggggg!”
Among names rejected are “Steroidio” and “Homophobius.”
One report said several Chicago Bears are branded, including “Bustoff,” for Shea McClellin, and “Pancake,” the name chosen for Chris Conte.
Quarterback Jay Cutler will be known as “Jago.”