Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Yes, I am going crazy. I’ve somehow managed to survive over two months without live sports but the effects this has had on my brain may never be reversed.
I awoke in a cold sweat at 3 am with one thing on my mind and it was frightening to say the least. A blurred image of Joe Flacco trying to convince to eat at Pizza Hut. I apologize if the mention of that caused you to have a visceral reaction but if that’s the case at least you can sympathize with my plight. As I tossed and turned in the wee hours of the morning, failing to fall back asleep, I realized this horrific image was put in my head for a reason. It’s my duty to compile the best commercials featuring Ravens players and rank them for the amusement of the masses.
10. Haloti Ngata – Thompson Creek
Alright let’s kick off our list with a commercial I had forgotten about. During his nine years as a Raven, Haloti Ngata not only became a fan favorite in Baltimore for his performance on the field but also for has many great performances in TV commercials.
While playing on a defense full of big personalities, Ngata may not have seemed like the go to guy for a commercial but he played the role of the charming big man very well.
In 2013 Ngata teamed up with Thompson Creek window company for this classic ad. There are few words spoken through the 30 second run time but the acting from Ngata is impeccable. I’ve never seen the sun portrayed so vividly and I can’t help but feel uneasy by his presence outside the window.
Top it all off with some smooth dance moves at the end and you have a pretty solid and memorable commercial. Unfortunately the lackluster acting by the two home owners fails to live up to the high standard set by Mr. Ngata and therefore I have to place this one farther down on the list.
9. Justin Tucker – Royal Farms
Since becoming the Ravens kicker in 2012, Justin Tucker has become one of the biggest personalities in franchise history. It’s not often you can say that about a kicker but Tucker’s infectious personality makes him an easy choice to star in commercials.
The folks at Royal Farms tapped into that early and have used Tucker as their main spokesperson for years. It’s hard to say just how many commercials he has done for Royal Farms. Haloti Ngata accumulated a long resume of appearances for the popular convenience store during his time in Baltimore and I would imagine Tucker has matched that.
If i’m going to choose one to represent the entire group, I’m going with the opera singing he did in a 2015 spot. Everyone in Baltimore knows by now that Tucker can sing opera but think back to some of his earlier years with the team. Do you remember your reaction when you found out he can not only sing opera well, but he can do it in multiple languages?
At this point we know that’s just Tucker being Tucker but I think the absurdness of it is a little lost on us. I can’t think of many commercials that feature opera singing in them and only one that has an NFL kicker performing the song.
8. Joe Flacco – Pizza Hut
Here we have the commercial that inspired this list. I really wanted to put this in the top five but I quickly realized how many good commercials I was choosing from so it’s going to hold down the 8 spot.
Don’t blink or you might miss this one as Flacco delivers a perfect 10 seconds of adverting gold. Lets start by setting the scene as you have all the makings of a great local ad right here. Terrible lighting, a green screen with pizza footage in the background, awkward posture, and an ugly football jersey.
Before you even here that first “Hey,” you know this one is gonna be great. Speaking of Flacco’s warm greeting, it has to be my favorite part of the entire commercial. With only 10 seconds to work with we are thrown right into the fire with no warning other than a nonchalant “Hey” from Joe Cool himself.
$10 for any pizza? That’s a steal. No wonder it’s Flacco’s favorite. Imagine how much Pizza Hut was purchased in the Flacco household after his massive contract in 2013?
And how could I not mention the most famous line from this ad? “Hut Hut, Pizza Hut” is ingrained in my memory for better or worse and I gotta be honest, I’m happy about it. We may be living in the Lamar Jackson era right now but call me back when Lamar endorses fast food pizza with as much swagger and grace as Flacco.
7. Joe Flacco – 1st Mariner Bank
Yet another appearance by Joe Flacco but I’ve got news for you, this won’t be his last time showing up on this list. How can you have a top ten commercials list without Flacco anyway?
This one that he did for 1st Mariner Bank is a fan favorite and for good reason. It’s a simple commercial that taps into our primitive hatred for the Pittsburgh Steelers as Ravens fans.
I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t trust my money in Pittsburgh so I understand Joe’s adverse reaction to the thought of having his money in Steel Town. While he only has a few quick lines, you can tell that Flacco’s delivery and presence in front of the camera has grown a lot since his Pizza Hut days.
There isn’t really much to analyze here. The ad speaks for itself but I will say it has a high replay value and that is something you can only say for a few ads on this list.
6. Jonathan Ogden – Gebco
I have no idea what year this is from but i’m just glad it will live forever on YouTube. I’m sure there are many old school ads by Ravens players that are lost in time because they are not available online but Jonathan Ogden’s partnership with Gebco insurance is definitely worthy of mention here.
We start with the relatable problem of getting into a minor fender bender. Little do we know that 6’9″ Jonathan Ogden is involved and he isn’t even driving. Don’t worry, I haven’t even gotten to the absurd part of the commercial yet.
The driver is very confrontational toward Ogden despite that fact that she hit him with her car. Thankfully our favorite left tackle is far too charming and her attitude quickly changes from angry to flirtatious. The future hall of famer is told he should get Gebco Insurance and sends us off to what i’m guessing is a flashback or dream sequence based on the cheesy transition effects.
This dream land see’s Ogden transported to an open field, surrounded by dancing women. Like any rational man would, he joins in on the dance party as the chants of “Call Gebco” ring out. Enticed by the company of these hussies, Ogden finally comes to the conclusion that he should infact get Gebco Insurance.
So much happens in the span of 30 seconds that I wish more money was shelled out to make this a full minute. I feel like I missed a lot of the finer details in this Shakespearean tragedy.
5. Joe Flacco – NFL.com Fantasy Football & Reebok
This one comes to us from a series of great commercials that made the rounds toward the end of the 2000’s. NFL.com partnered with Reebok to make a bunch of fantasy football profiles for some of the most popular players around the league.
The concept for each is simple. An NFL player makes a pitch to fans as to why they should draft them for the upcoming fantasy football season. It’s a cool idea by itself but the editing and stunts pulled through all of these profiles makes the players look super human at times.
Joe Flacco was going into his second season as the QB in Baltimore at the time of this ad. For his pitch, Joe shows off his accuracy by knocking clay pigeons out of the air at a gun range with footballs.
The best part of the commercial is when Joe turns around after pulling off the stunt and tells the camera his rookie season was only the beginning. Not only is this hilarious given Flacco’s dry personality but he only threw for 2,900 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2008. In the three playoff games he added 437 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
That’s not really lighting the world on fire but I guess Joe was right when he told us that was only the beginning. I still find it odd he was selected for this series in the first place. What was it about the boring rookie from Delaware that Reebok and NFL.com couldn’t resist?
Fans on twitter will often take a trip down memory lane and beg NFL.com to make new versions of this classic series with today’s stars but the requests have been denied so far. Hopefully someday we will see these return and another Ravens player can be involved.
4. Haloti Ngata – Royal Farms
Before Justin Tucker became the main pitch man for Royal Farms, our good friend Haloti Ngata was the face of the world famous fried chicken. There are so many Royal Farms commercials with Haloti in them that I lost count a long time ago.
With that being said, choosing just one for this spot on the list is nearly impossible. Despite Tucker taking over in recent years, Ngata is still synonymous with Royal Farms in my mind. I’m sure plenty of other Maryland residents feel the same way.
What makes these so impressive is the range Ngata shows as an actor. One second he is paddling down the river in a boat and the next he is bursting through an office door while wearing a chicken suit. On top of that, Ngata wasn’t just tasked with pushing Royal Farms chicken. We all know that stuff practically sells itself but he also did commercials for other Royal Farms services, including their atm’s. Now if that’s not versatility, I don’t know what is.
3. Ray Lewis – Old Spice
We have reached the top three and at this point I actually have nothing bad to say. These are all legitimately great ads so there is really nothing I can crack jokes about.
Ray Lewis appeared in his fair share of commercials over the span of his 17 year career but his trio of Old Spice ads in 2010 take the cake. They featured the typical absurd humor we have come to know from Old Spice but with a little extra twist that only Sugar Ray could provide.
All three are memorable in their own right but I gotta say the first one to premier is my favorite. Nothing will beat that image of Ray riding off into space on the back of a rocket-powered Raven.
2. Ray Lewis & Ravens defense – Madden 2005
In 2005 Ray Lewis became the first defensive player to grace the cover of the popular EA Sports football video game, Madden. Typically the game appeals to the offensive side of the ball as you try to run up the score on your friends but in 2005 they decided to put Ray Lewis on the cover and in turn make playing defense more sexy.
EA sports really leaned into that with the tagline, “Ten yards has never seemed so far.” Combine that with Ray’s wild on field personality and you have the perfect storm. I don’t care if I show my bias when I say this is the best Madden commercial and it’s not even close. They did a great job taking real game footage and mixing it with studio shots to create something that makes me wanna run to my nearest thrift store and look for an old copy of Madden 05.
1. Joe Flacco – Pepsi & Tostitos
Can you really put anything else in the number one spot? Joe Flacco has been all over this top ten and I won’t apologize for that. After years of practicing his craft with local Pizza Hut and 1st Mariner Bank spots, it was finally time for him to go Hollywood in 2015 with this amazing commercial for Pepsi & Tostitos.
Finally someone was able to harness the dull and boring side of Flacco and embrace it to make a great commercial. It’s amazing to see how far Joe has come since his humble beginnings in 2008. What’s even more amazing is how he went from looking like the live action version of Bert from Sesame Street to a suave and handsome guy. They even make mention of that in the commercial as Flacco references his “perfect haircut.”