Tom Brady won Super Bowl ring No. 7 on Sunday. Shortly after the game, he won Super Bowl MVP No. 5. And during the trophy presentation, he appeared to make a sly move that one of his sponsors would love.
As he prepared to take a question on the podium, Lombardi Trophy in hand, Brady glanced down at his shirt, then pulled the collar tight around his neck – conveniently concealing the Nike logo on his undershirt.
Why is that notable? Brady is a prominent endorser of Under Armour, a Nike competitor.
On the field, Brady wears Under Armour cleats, and an Under Armour glove on his left hand. The NFL has an apparel and equipment contract with Nike. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ uniforms, like those of every other team, are made by Nike. Their undershirts, and now their “SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS” t-shirts, have Nike logos on them.
Brady – likely aware how much brand visibility matters to sports apparel companies, especially on a stage as big as the Super Bowl’s – perhaps realized that a quick shirt adjustment could make his appearance Nike-free.
Did Brady pull a reverse Jordan?
Brady isn’t the first athlete to make a branding move on a celebratory podium. Team sponsorships and individual sponsorships often clash during postgame photo ops. The most famous example came at the 1992 Olympics.
At the time, Team USA was sponsored by Reebok. When the men’s basketball team – popularly dubbed the “Dream Team” – won gold, Michael Jordan was forced to wear a Reebok warmup jacket onto a podium for the medal ceremony.
Jordan, a celebrated Nike endorser, found a workaround. The entire team half-unzipped their jackets to cover up the Reebok logo. Jordan, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson draped American flags over their shoulders to be absolutely sure that the Reebok logo wouldn’t be seen.
It’s unclear how much thought Brady put into the shirt lift. It could have simply been a comfort move. But it very well could have been a sly nod to his Under Armour partnership.
Brady’s cover-up wasn’t as successful as Jordan’s
If it was a nod to Under Armour, though, Brady wasn’t quite as clever or particular as Jordan. In other photos and videos from Brady’s trophy lift, the Nike swoosh is clearly visible, front and center.
Brady also didn’t have the foresight to roll up his left sleeve, where another Nike swoosh lingered.
All in all, though, it was a pretty successful night for the greatest quarterback ever.
Super Bowl LV from Yahoo Sports: