Nike: "Leave Nothing"

By Published on .

Ain't it just like Nike to waltz right back into the TV spot world, after giving a clinic on interactivity and design with its (and R/GA's) + project, and kick everyone in the sack.

I don't watch NFL football unless Mr. Iezzi is watching and I'm too numb to move but I know a rousing slice of gridiron mythology when I see one. This Wieden-created, Michael Mann directed stunner couldn't be simpler—it depicts Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman and Rams running back Steven Jackson traveling across a field and across time and through any human or meteorological foe in their way. But Mann has made it something beyond football thrills and spills—it's real hardcore giants-walking-among us-modern day gladiators fare, larded with universal human struggle; it's like life condensed to 60 seconds.

Mann cheekily borrows from his Last of the Mohicans for the stirring score and creates a piece of film (video, likely given his format track record) that doesn't even look real at times, but that feels really real (there's a moment in which Merriman, having blasted his way through four opponents falls down and takes a second longer than he should to get to his feet. Goosebumps).

I have no idea if Merriman's steroids scandal last year (an incident of which I just now became aware after looking up his name) is meant to be a subtext here. Don't care. I also don't care, for these 60 seconds, that Merriman's steroid troubles (he was, apparently, just taking supplements, a universal practice among NFL players) are indicative of a increasingly barbaric game that makes impossible demands on athletes—athletes who are already the biggest and the strongest and who are made to get even bigger and stronger by almost any means necessary and inflict maximum pain on other players and play through serious injury (read a jaw dropping story of ex NFL stars who played through pain here). I don't care that the game makes human athletes into well paid flesh for fantasy, meat puppets for the profit of corporate overlords and the amusement of the masses. I just want to watch this spot over and over.
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