T-Mobile released its original, unedited Super Bowl commercial starring Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski that was rejected from airing in the game.
The original version, which T-Mobile was told to edit and resubmit for consideration, included mentions of Tampa Bay in the conversation between Brady and Gronkowski.
The uncut 60-second commercial flashes back to a conversation between Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, where Gronkowski is encouraging Brady to retire from football and come to Tampa Bay. But due to poor cell phone service, Brady interprets the conversation as Gronkowski encouraging him to go to Florida and to take him with him. The end of the spot shows Brady at a press conference announcing he is going to Tampa Bay and Gronkowski is going with him.
T-Mobile said that the ad was ultimately banned because of a protected rights deal with the official telco sponsor.
But the request for T-Mobile to remove mentions specifically of Tampa Bay indicates that's not quite the whole story. A National Football League spokesman declined to comment on why specifically this ad was rejected.
One of T-Mobile’s in-game ads featured a similar concept about the consequences of spotty service, but this one starred Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. In that ad, which takes place a few years ago, Stefani is videochatting with Levine and tells him she is ready to start dating again (following her divorce from Gavin Rossdale). She tells Levine she is looking for someone from another country who is “cultured and sensitive and someone who is not threatened by a strong, confident woman.” But because of spotty service, that’s not what Levine heard, and he sets Stefani up with country star Shelton.
Of course, following the through line of those stories, Brady's awful service does end with him winning yet another Super Bowl, and Stefani is engaged to Shelton, so maybe it's not such a bad thing.