Madden 12 is out now. Fans of this NFL tie in have stayed up late to purchase an early copy of the best selling sports video game title for years now. While Madden is one of the most popular and well know video game tie ins for a major sports league it is still not the only way the NFL extends its brand. There have been many other tie ins for the NFL some great some not so great below are a few of the products produced with the NFL’s approval.
William “The Refrigerator” Perry as part of G.I.Joe
With G.I.Joe riding high in popularity and the popularity of the NFL at that time being pretty high this would seem like a marketing dream. The Fridge was a physical training instructor for the Joes. This is particularity strange as the Fridge was known for being a gifted athlete but never one who kept himself in the best of conditions. Initially available as a mail order only figure, he came with a black football attached via chain to a handle for the action figure to grip.
(Marvel comics 1991)
The 12 issue series produced by Marvel comics from 1991 featured Phil Grayfield and ex-football star turned superhero after receiving an indestructible football uniform that cost ”five million dollars” to make. He fought along side such Marvel comic as Spider-Man and was a part of the Marvel continuity. It also featured some hilariously bad villains such Quick Kick a placekicker turned ninja and Instant Reply an assassin who can slice through time. While not one of the worst comics it is definitely up there in terms of being reviled by some comic book fans. Also I don’t think the NFL would endorse a product in which one of the main villains is steroid monster, what with all of the scandal surround performance enhancing drugs.
When Pro-Stars debuted on NBC as a part of its Saturday morning line up, all three featured athletes Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Bo Jackson were at or approaching the height of their popularity. Bo Jackson was two sport star as a star running back for the LA Raiders, Wayne Gretzky LA Kings and Michael Jordan the face of the NBA in the 1990s. The three athletes fought crime and protecting the environment.While this show was not a direct tie in to the NFL the inclusion of Bo Jackson at the time was as close as we would get to having an actual sanctioned NFL cartoon.
NFL RUSH ZONE: Guardians of the Core
Rush Zone Guardians of the Core is a cartoon featuring players and coaches from all 32 teams in the NFL, with some actually doing some voice acting as themselves. The 10 year old lead character has to protect special objects in the NFL stadiums around the league. It ended with a movie special before the Super Bowl.