Is Nike's 'Write The Future' cursed?
Well, yes. Obviously.
No one who's come near the 3-minute ad (which, it still has to be said, looks awesome) has emerged unscathed.
As Chris Young pointed out in his column today, all five 'featured' athletes are now dodging tomatoes in various parts of the world. But it's worse than that. Everyone loses (except the guys in the ads - they get paid a gajillion dollars).
Let's go through the victims, by order of appearance.
DIDIER DROGBA (Ivory Coast) - Japan's Tulio broke his arm in the lead-up (but not a very effective break, since Drogba played); Team was disappointingly average; At 32, the King of African football has almost assuredly played in his last World Cup.
FABIO CANNAVARO (Italy) - The best player at Germany 2006 looked himself, if himself was carrying around a 75-lb sack of grain on his back. Cannavaro was far too slow, just like the rest of his team. The team was jeered at the airport on the way home. No word on any 'Che Capitano' nightclub act, but Fabio probably won't be smiling if there is.
WAYNE ROONEY (England) - First he doesn't score a goal. Second, his team is humiliated by arch-rivals, Germany. Then the whole thing is blamed on his womanish grooming habits. Not a great three weeks. Maybe they kept that prop camper from the ad?
FRANCK RIBERY (France) - One of the ringleaders of the France team's work-to-rule day that Florent Malouda has now admitted was a "disaster." Reportedly said he cried when teammate Nicolas Anelka was sent home. Wait'll he hears about how much his value on the transfer market has dropped.
LANDON DONOVAN and TIM HOWARD (USA) - Shouldn't call it a disaster. Howard was exceptional at times and Donovan will always have that last-gasp spear against Algeria to cherish. But they still should have taken Ghana out. Next time, think Reebok.
THE QUEEN (U.K.) - For her summer holiday, she gets to ... tour Canada's top sites. God, it sounds like every nightmarish family vacation, to the power of 4.
GERARD PIQUE, CESC FABREGAS and ANDRES INIESTA (Spain) - The last men standing as far as playing in this thing goes. But Pique had his forehead cut open on that ridiculous tumbling play that gifted Switzerland a winning goal in the opener. Fabregas is nearly nailed to the bench (Have fun doing the same thing at Barcelona) and Iniesta is so pale, you could pick him out from space. Yeah, that's weak. But we have a theme.
BABIES NAMED WAYNE - Cursed, with or without Nike's help.
ROGER FEDERER - Bombed out of the French. Has to go through Rafael Nadal (whom everybody - but everybody - likes better) to claim his 7th Wimbledon. Would've called this one even odds, but then there's this ad, so .... (Update: Curse in full effect. Federer just got taken out in the quarters by Tomas Berdych)
RONALDINHO (Brazil) - Curious fact. Talking to a Brazilian fan a while back, and he told me that given Brazilian accenting, the proper way to say this name is "HO-nal-JIN-yo." Cool. How do you say, "Humiliated since he didn't even make the team"? In the mini-capsules they play now, the former world player of the year has been spiked. Robinho - who hasn't exactly lit this thing up either - takes his spot.
KOBE BRYANT (USA) - Already in league with the Devil, so no need to fear any sort of curse.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal) - One goal equals a pretty big bust on this stage. And it's unlikely ... hey. HEY! Stop spitting!
HOMER SIMPSON (Springfield) - Slumming. You were slumming, man.
GAEL GARCIA BERNAL (Mexico) - As an actor, it's not a good thing when your six seconds in a shoe company spot have a bigger cumulative audience than your last 10 movies. I'm giving you a pass because you were amazing in Amores Perros, but that was ten years ago. So sharpen up.