So, NFL draftee Taco Charlton of the Dallas Cowboys is going to endorse tacos.
“In my short time here, I have discovered that Texas is the place for tacos,” Charlton said in a statement. “Believe me, I’ve been trying them my whole life.”
Charlton, who signed a four-year rookie contract worth $10.02 million in May, might also be the recipient of unlimited free tacos, as a nice bonus.
Charlton’s brand friendly name got us to thinking about other endorsement-like names in football and the other three of the “Big 4.”
Here are 15 we think fit just nicely with a chosen brand.
15. Kevin Love – AdultMart
With a name like Love, who better than to shill for major adult products chain AdultMart, which conveniently has five stores in the greater Cleveland area. We’re not sure if Love has been approached by the chain whose motto is “Where shopping is for pleasure” but it couldn’t hurt. Currently, the Cavaliers star power forward/center endorses unsexy stuff like 361 Degrees shoes from China, Pepsi Max and lately Banana Republic. However, he is related to Mike Love (uncle), a founding member of the Beach Boys, who rocked “California Girls.” As far as we can tell, Love isn’t currently married, so an endorsement deal would no doubt be a boon to his love life.
14. Justin Smoak – Smokey Bones
Yup, we said it. Soon-to-be first time all-star Justin Smoak ought to use his newfound celebrity to market good chain BBQ. The Goose Creek, SC native would know a thing or two about ribs, brisket and pulled pork, having grown up in the home of southern BBQ. The eight-year veteran is enjoying his finest major league season and the chain could capitalize on his ability to “smoke” the ball and how pitchers might want to stick a ball or two “right in his ribs” to back him off the plate. We don’t know anything about Smoak’s current endorsements, but Smokey Bones can find him easily at AthleteSpeakers.com. It really is too bad the Jays don’t have a Grilli (he was designated for assignment) anymore to go along with their outstanding Smoak. Giggles.
13. Cooper Kupp – Shock Doctor
Taco Charlton isn’t the only 2017 NFL draftee with a moniker ideally suited for marketing. Cooper Kupp, drafted in the third round by the L.A. Rams out of Eastern Washington University, holds the FCS records for most receptions, yards and touchdowns. And, with a name like Kupp, endorsing protective gear for the nether regions makes all kinds of sense. Currently, Denver Broncos running back Jamaal Charles stumps for the athletic protection manufacturer out of Fountain Valley, CA. Known principally as a mouthguard maker (they rolled the first ones off the line in 1993), Shock Doctor moved into all protective gear types, including supporters. Cooper Kupp, here’s your first endorsement.
12. Blake Wheeler – Mack Trucks
Blake Wheeler is built like a Mack Truck at 6’5″ and 225 lbs., so why not team up with company synonymous with long-haul trucking? The Winnipeg Jets captain and native Minnesotan used his big frame to score 74 points this past season, good for second place on the Jets. He also, pardon the pun, carries the freight as well in the defensive zone as the offensive zone, having logged a career +46 and been a Selke Trophy nominee four times in 10 seasons. He’s nearly as durable as a Mack Truck, too, having missed just seven total games in his 10-year career. Like the trucks, Wheeler was “Born Ready” for hockey.
11. Otto Porter – Uber
Think about the name and then think about just how one gets a ride in an Uber. Pull up the app and instantly get a ride with an independent operator, kind of like an auto-porter, get it? OK, that was lame, but it makes sense. As the starting small forward for the Washington Wizards, Otto Porter Jr. also transports basketballs to the hoop, as well as steal the ball from opponents (1.5 times per game in 2016-17), much like Uber stealing clients from taxi companies. Uber could use a celebrity sports endorser right now, as the previously profitable company has been put through the bad news wringer as CEO and founder Travis Kalanick was forced to resign.
10. Malik Hooker – Mepps Fishing Lures
Back to the theme of 2017 NFL draftees with awesome marketing names, Malik Hooker is a natural fit for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fishing lures, Mepps. Like Hooker, Mepps is proudly American, hand making all their products in Antigo, Wisconsin. Hooker, from New Castle, Pennsylvania, was a stud at Ohio State in his sophomore year in 2016, snagging wayward passes like bass to the tune of seven interceptions, three returned for touchdowns. That kind of performance got the highly regarded free safety selected 15th overall by the Indianapolis Colts at the draft.
9. Mike Leake – Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service
With a name like Leake, endorsing one of the USA’s largest plumbing companies is a no-brainer. Mike Leake, from San Diego, CA, is in his eighth season as a starting pitcher in the National League and second with the St. Louis Cardinals. In terms of his overall performance in the big leagues, Leake hasn’t flushed his opportunities down the drain, going 78-70 in 217 career starts, along with a 3.93 ERA and 923 strikeouts in 1,358.1 innings. He doesn’t ooze talent, but brings enough dependable skill to the mound to help his teams escape with more wins than losses. Roto-Rooter could do much worse.
8. Jake Butt – Under Armour Underwear
Funny that a guy named Butt is also a tight end. Jake Butt, who was drafted 145th overall by the Denver Broncos, was a dependable pass catcher at the University of Michigan, catching 138 career passes in four years, for 1,646 yards and 11 TDs. Among his accolades were the Ozzie Newsome award for best college tight end and two First Team All-America awards. Under Armour already has a huge stable of athlete pitchmen, however, they could have Butt be a specialty marketer for their massive line of underwear, which just happen to come in Denver Bronco orange. Fitting, it is.
7. Nene Hilario – Comedy Network
In Spanish, Hilario means happy, cheerful, joyful and glad. Maybyner Rodney “Nene” Hilario, the veteran Brazilian center for the Houston Rockets, may not be always cheerful or funny on the court (he does have 3.1 personal fouls per game, career), but we’re sure he has his moments. With a name like Hilario, it stands to reason he could be a pitchman for Comedy Central, the giant cable repository for all things funny, including Chappelle’s Show, The Daily, Drunk History, Inside Amy Schumer, Key And Peele and South Park. Hilario, a noted Christian, might not appreciate Comedy Central’s sometimes anti-religious offerings, but what better ironic endorser could there be in basketball?
6. Golden Tate – Ore-Ida French Fries
Athletes are no strangers to endorsing all manor of fast food, think Peyton Manning and Papa John’s, LeBron James and McDonald’s and Miggy Cabrera shilling for Burger King. Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate is a too easy fit to endorse one of America’s largest potato concerns and their french fries, Ore-Ida. Tate has shown some tasty moves in seven NFL seasons, including a pretty good 2016 campaign where he caught 91 passes for 1,077 yards and four touchdowns. We scoured the interweb looking for any current companies that Tate might be stumping for, but came up empty. Ore-Ida is on the clock.
5. Cal Clutterbuck – LetGo
As a hockey player, Cal Clutterbuck typifies the type of no-nonsense hockey player that New York Islanders’ fans have come to love. He can make plays (188 points in 638 NHL games) and hits everything that moves (2,580 total body checks thrown). The Islanders’ alternate captain with the interesting last name should be internet buy and sell giant LetGo’s hockey pitchman. And the company has made some very hilarious commercials on how Americans can rid themselves of clutter. We think a spot with Clutterbuck having to drag around a bag full of his stinky, smelly old hockey gear, making his teammates gag with the stench, and then getting rid of it on LetGo for a few bucks would be a good start.
4. Andrew Luck – Bovada
If Richard Sherman can endorse fantasy sports giant FanDuel, there should be no reason a guy named Luck can’t endorse sports book behemoth Bovada. Well, there might be a couple of reasons, but Andrew Luck already shills for TD Ameritrade, which is just a different kind of legalized gambling, and just as tenuous as sports betting. Luck hardly needs the money, considering he has an endorsement stable that also includes DirecTV, BodyArmor, Nike, Verizon and Klipsch, but wouldn’t it be a bit snarky of him to thumb his nose at Roger Goodell and his minions at the league office’s and include Bovada? We think it would be.
3. Jeremy Sprinkle – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love a few sprinkles on their favorite brand of ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream conglomerate, has probably seen a mountain of sprinkles added to their many confections. They have also named many of their most famous concoctions after celebrities, such as: Vermonty Python (After Monty Python), Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road (Elton John) and Scotchy Scotch Scotch (Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy). Depending on what he does with his NFL career, Washington Redskins’ fifth round selection, TE Jeremy Sprinkle of the Arkansas Razorbacks, might just be in line to be immortalized by Ben & Jerry’s.
2. Chris Sale – Amazon
Chris Sale is at a whole other level in his first season with the Boston Red Sox. In just 16 starts, he has established himself as the Sox ace, as well as a prime candidate to grab his first ever AL Cy Young. Sale is 10-3 with a 2.77 ERA and league leading 155 strikeouts in 113.2 innings pitched. He has thrown for more than 10 Ks in a game 10 times, too, including a stretch of eight in a row. Who better then, to help extol the virtues of the world’s largest on-line retailer of just about every consumer item that exists on planet earth? His name is Sale, after all.
1. T.Y. Hilton – Marriott International
We’re betting most would say all-pro wide receiver and 2016 NFL receiving yards leader T.Y. Hilton would be a lock to stump for his eponymous hotel chain. But, we’re being cheeky to suggest he should be the face of the world’s largest hotelier, Marriott International, which has 5,878 hotels worldwide. It’s a near certainty he has slept in a Marriott bed while on the road with the Indianapolis Colts, better to rest his feet while accumulating 5,681 yards in receptions in his five seasons. The Marriott Hotel Chain also has a simple slogan “Revive”, which sounds like a good verb to describe what Hilton does to the Colts’ offence when it needs a deep route kick start.