Posted on: February 2, 2024, 03:59h.
Last updated on: February 2, 2024, 03:59h.
FanDuel will make changes to the “Kick of Destiny” commercials that featured actor Carl Weathers who passed away earlier today at the age of 76.
The largest online sportsbook had been running advertisement featuring Weathers and former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski in the run-up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 11. This year’s spots were framed as a sequel to a 2023 campaign in which Gronkowski missed a 25-yard field goal.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carl Weathers,” FanDuel said in a statement provided to Casino.org. “Throughout his life, Carl was an iconic talent who had a profound impact on the people he worked with on and off the screen. FanDuel was fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with him during our Super Bowl campaign. We are adjusting our campaign accordingly out of respect for the family during their time of grief.”
The gaming company, which is a unit of Dublin-based Flutter Entertainment (NYSE: FLUT), said that is the entirety of the information they’ll be sharing at this time.
FanDuel Framed Weathers in Appropriate Light
Born in New Orleans, Weathers is most remembered for his role as Apollo Creed in the first four Rocky movies, but his career spanned decades and included appearances in television shows and music videos as well as big roles in movies such as Predator and Happy Gilmore.
In the FanDuel commercials, Weathers was framed as a coach of sorts to Gronkowski. The gaming company was right to position Weathers in such a light because that was similar to the role he played in Rocky III and as Chubbs in Happy Gilmore.
Weathers’ appearances in the “Kick of Destiny” commercials was pertinent for another reason. He had direct football ties as he was a linebacker for two years at San Diego State before joining the Oakland Raiders. He helped the team to its first ever AFC title game appearance in 1970 and was released in September 1971.
From there, he went to the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) where he appeared in 18 games over three seasons. He also did narration for NFL Films and participated in coverage of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Fate of ‘Kick of Destiny’ Commercials TBD
As noted above, FanDuel will be adjusting the “Kick of Destiny” ads that featured Weathers. Whether the spots are pulled outright or are changed to acknowledge the actor’s passing remains to be seen.
The sportsbook operator did not mention whether or not the halftime promotion will proceed or how its Super Bowl advertising plans are affected by the death of Weathers, if at all.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, FanDuel said the “Kick of Destiny 2” press conference is scheduled for Feb. 7 in Las Vegas.
“Rob Gronkowski will be holding a press conference, moderated by Kay Adams, from the FanDuel set that will air on FanDuel TV, FanDuel TV+ and stream live on FanDuel’s YouTube channel on Wednesday, February 7 at 10:30 AM PT,” according to the operator.