Director Spike Lee instructs Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb on the scene about to be shot
If the thought of St. Louis Rams wide receivers Ricky Proehl and Torry Holt sprinting into the north end zone of Raymond James Stadium makes you a bit queasy, relax. It's only November 28, almost three weeks before the Rams will visit for a much-ballyhooed Monday Night showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 18.
On Tuesday, however, Proehl and Holt did spend quite a bit of time in the Bucs' end zone, along with a number of other NFL luminaries, including Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb, Miami defensive end Jason Taylor and Buffalo WR Eric Moulds. These players, and many more, joined well-known filmmaker and sports fan Spike Lee at Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday for a series of shoots to produce NFL commercials for the upcoming playoffs.
At least Moulds was familiar with the territory. His 19-yard touchdown catch in that same end zone just two days earlier had pulled Buffalo within a field goal of Tampa Bay in the fourth quarter before the Bucs pulled away for a 31-17 win. On Tuesday, Moulds was back, feigning TD catches and following with elaborate spikes and dunks over the crossbar.
Moulds wasn't trying to show anybody up, of course. He was merely doing as Lee directed. Dozens of players from around the league flew into Tampa on Tuesday to do just that, including LB Donnie Edwards of Kansas City, DT La'Roi Glover, CB Fred Weary and LB Keith Mitchell of New Orleans, Taylor and CB James Madison of Miami, Moulds and DE Marcellus Wiley of Buffalo, RBs Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne of the New York Giants, McNabb, WR Qadry Ismail of Baltimore, Proehl and Holt of the Rams and a handful of Buccaneers.
In the morning, one shot at midfield literally revolved around Tampa Bay DT Warren Sapp. Surrounded by a tight ring of reporters, Sapp fired off comments as the camera whirled around the scene in a circle. K Martin Gramatica then took part in an interesting shot in which he kicked off with a super-wide camera shooting from under the ball.
The shot was held in Tampa because Super Bowl XXXV will take place in Raymond James Stadium, of course. Still, that was no sacrifice for Lee, who has emerged as a prominent Buccaneer fan in 2000. Lee arrived in Tampa on Monday and visited the Buccaneers' afternoon practice before getting down to business on Tuesday.
The director of such critically-acclaimed movies as 'Do the Right Thing', 'Mo' Better Blues', 'Malcolm X', 'Get on the Bus' and 'Summer of Sam', Lee also has a history of interaction in the sports world. His commercials for Michael Jordan and Nike shoes are memorable, as has been his courtside presence at important New York Knicks games.
The shoot was held on Tuesday as that is the players' day off around the NFL.