On Friday, Gary Coleman died. His only connection to football was the episode of Diff’rent Strokes in which a girl made the team instead of Arnold, and Mr. Drummond secured a roster spot for him by purchasing uniforms.
On Saturday, Dennis Hopper died. As a reader reminds us, Hopper was the centerpiece of a 1994-95 Nike campaign in which he played a deranged, footstep-hearing, shoe-sniffing, photograph-eating official named Stanley, who often wore a trench coat over his uniform, and a backpack over his trench coat.
Hopper did spots devoted to Bruce Smith, Junior Seau, Hardy Nickerson, Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Sterling Sharpe, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin, a postseason homage to horseshoes and hand grenades, and an extended Patton-style monologue for the Super Bowl. (If we’re missing any, let us know.)
They’re all surprisingly good, despite the passage of nearly 16 years. So rest in peace, Dennis, and thanks for giving us a rare moment in time when we enjoyed the commercials played during football games almost as much as the game itself.