Dissecting that Super Bowl ‘Dirty Dancing’ ad
During a Super Bowl nail-biter that had fans on both sides holding their breath at every yard gained, it was a commercial that definitely got some chuckles.
In the NFL's new advertisement that aired during Sunday's big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning completes a pass to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the team's practice facility, the music starts and well, you have to see it to believe it.
With Manning and Beckham looking at each other, "(I've Had) the Time of My Life" from the 1987 movie "Dirty Dancing" plays in the background.
Manning does some fancy footwork, joined by his Giants teammates, before the commercial ends with him lifting Beckham into the air, recreating Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey's famous scene — and setting the bar high for touchdown celebrations of the future.
"The return of touchdown celebrations to the NFL has unleashed a lot of creativity on the field. … Players practice. We thought what would be the ultimate touchdown celebration. … 'Dirty Dancing' came to mind," Owen Dougherty, the Grey Group's chief communications officer, told ABC News today.
The Grey Group said in a news release the dance had been choreographed by Stephanie Klemons of the musical "Hamilton."
Dougherty said that while Manning had a couple of hours of rehearsal for the commercial, he didn't think that Beckham had any. Dougherty said the "backup dancers" practiced during the shoot.
"At first they were counting off the steps in their head and all got it very quickly. …. [They are] great athletes who are used to hard work," Dougherty said.
In behind-the-scenes footage, the players could be seen practicing the moves and cracking up as they wrapped up the commercial.
"Eli kinda struggling with the hips," safety Landon Collins said. "We're trying to get him to get the hips loose. We gotta do a little bit more exercise right in that area. It's weird as I don't know what but it's getting there."
As for the lift and the question on everyone's minds: Did Manning really lift Beckham?
"They did the lift, as you see it, but a few wires held Odell up as he hung in the air," Dougherty said. "They all had a lot of fun."
According to Dougherty, there were no stunt doubles and the shoot was done in a day and a half about two weeks ago.
Dougherty said that Aaron Stoller, the commercial's director, was well known for shooting comedy and that the commercial set out to deliver "a little unexpected humor in a very contentious year."
"One of our people at the game said both Eagles and [Pats] fans cheered when the spot hit the big screen in the stadium," he said.