LT's Affliction: Chicken Noodle Soup and Commercial Success

Charlie CoxCorrespondent IOctober 19, 2008

Yes, I know you might think this is a stretch, or you might think this is silly, but legitimate evidence proves that some endorsements might actually reduce the productivity of a player; and no this isn't the same as the Madden Curse, but similar.

Ladainian Tomlinson has been one of the biggest producers to ever play the game amassing an astonishing 11,096 rushing yards on 2,488 attempts. Tomlinson has scored 119 rushing TDs and 14 receiving, yet recently has started a sudden, quite sharp, decline. LT only has 446 rushing yards with four TDs this year. Is this just age catching up with the San Diego phenom, or is it commercial stardom?

Tomlinson is the spokesman for Campbells' Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup and his ads litter television commercial breaks—much more frequently this year than in the past. This also is the first year LT hasn't seen great success. Perhaps if he wouldn't watch his film on his Vizio, but on a Sony HD, like Peyton Manning, he'd be playing better. I mean, Manning watches on a Sony and look at the success—or lack of, I mean he has.

The growing trend is endorsements for athletes, yet compare the athletes stats before and after those commercials. Sure LT is without Lorenzo Neal, but a fullback didn't rack up those Hall of Fame numbers.

Other signs of the digression can be seen in players of the past:

Donovan McNabb

McNabb, the former spokesman of Campbell's, is now having a phenomenal season, however, during his tenure with Chicken Noodle Soup, his production was way down—along with his team. Now that McNabb is off the Soup, he has brought his game back up.

Jason Giambi

The former Bronx Bomber used to have an ad for Degree deodorant. Giambi was coming off a string of highly impressive seasons before his Degree mishap. After his commercial, Giambi's success instantly dropped, until he grew the mustache.

Shawne Merriman

Merriman, another Soup victim, was a breakout linebacker for the Chargers with a promising future; However, his late night pickup game in the mud, with none other than LT, ended those promises for him and San Diego. Since the release of the commercial, Merriman's production has dropped and now injured him with multiple tears to ligaments in his knee.

These are only some of the examples of commerical affliction. Other examples consist of Rafael Palmero's Viagra, Eli Manning's watch commercials, and the Mia Hamm-Michael Jordan tandem of Gatorade.

Yes, this does seem a bit hokey, and yes it seems unlikely that Hollywood really affects the play on Sunday, but judging by the comparisons in the numbers and results, it could be a disastrous phenomenon.