NFL Playoffs

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The NFL's latest campaign, which debuted this weekend, highlights the significance of its playoffs, a three-week single-elimination derby to determine the Super Bowl participants.

Unlike last year's stylized "Win or Go Home" campaign from director Spike Lee, this year's "In Their Own Words" campaign was produced in-house by NFL Films and Emmy award-winning director-producer Steve Sabor. It features 20 interviews with current and past players and coaches, shot in black-and-white in red letterbox form.

The spots feature the tagline: "This is what it's all about." The participants include NFL MVP Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams; coaches Steve Mariucci and Jon Gruden of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, respectively; New York Jets running back Curtis Martin; rookie Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears; and Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary, also of the Bears.

A print campaign in USA Today broke Jan. 11, and 30- and 10-second TV spots began over the weekend, when the wild-card playoff games took place. The campaign continues with this weekend's conference semifinals and the conference championship games on Jan. 27.

"One of our big initiatives is to really begin to take equity" in NFL's signature events, said John Collins, the NFL's senior VP-marketing and entertainment programming. "We've always had the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the draft. Last year, we looked at the playoffs and felt that our second season is unlike any other sports' playoffs. There are no best 3-out-of-5 or 4-out-of-7 series. It's win today or nothing."

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