Brady, Rice, Marino and Other NFL Legends 'Unretire' for PepsiCo

They've still got game—for commercials

Fittingly, Tom Brady gets the last word on "Unretirement" in PepsiCo's 2023 NFL kickoff campaign that puts legends back on the field in exceptionally funny fashion.

No. 12 and his pals Julian Edelman, Dan Marino, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith may have a few grey hairs and extra pounds these days. But they're raring to go, trading on their gridiron fame to hype cola, snacks and so forth in a :60 developed by Pepsi's D3 team with Superprime director Rick Famuyiwa.

Current superstar Josh Allen's in there, too. He'll retire one day. So fine.

Sports icons front commercials all time, but this work feels in tune with adland's year-long nostalgia craze. Many of us grew up with these dudes. Their exploits enhanced the fabric of our lives as sure as any hit song or TV series. 

Now that we're older, it's comforting, in a way, to watch them age with grace (or an exaggerated lack thereof). Brands want them in ads, so they're still relevant. By extension, in a sense, we're still relevant, too.

Maybe that's overthinking. If so, perhaps it's enough to grin as Dan the Man dons reading glasses to peep the plays, and World asks a stadium vendor for a senior discount.

PepsiCo | Back to Football

Oh, Tom, you'll be back. Perhaps as the first Hall of Famer to play after his induction. Have you considered the Pats? They could use a fresh arm.

"Our products go hand in hand with football, and with the start of the new NFL season, we knew fans would be getting their pantries and fridges stocked up to cheer on their favorite teams," Chris Bellinger, VP or creative and digital at PepsiCo Foods N.A., tells Muse.

"We wanted to show that even just the crunch of a chip or pop of a can help you get lost in the excitement," he says. "They can even inspire NFL legends to hit the field again."

This notion of equating sports and snacks drove cute ads from PepsiCo's Lay's featuring Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry. The NFL work employs the same strategy for football, amping up the star power.

"Fans of our products and the NFL span multiple generations and parts of the country," Bellinger says. "We wanted to provide smiles with every sip and every bite, so we were very intentional with the legends we selected, the teams we represented, the music we picked to make sure that there was something that everyone could get excited about when they watched the spot."

The shoot proved energizing and enjoyable for the cast and creatives.

"When the guys first came out dressed in their uniforms, for the first time in years if not decades, the whole crew started clapping and cheering," Bellinger says. "It was great to watch their eyes light up at that unscripted moment of appreciation. But also, all of them were saying how they forgot how uncomfortable the uniforms were."

At one point, he complimented Marino on his appearance in the 1994 comedy Ace Venture: Pet Detective. "He lit up and said, 'My best work!'" Bellinger recalls. While Rice "sat with the agency and brand teams to watch the footage, fully suited up in his NFL gear. He was in our director's chairs and playfully 'Monday morning quarterbacked' the performances of his cast-mates."

As for the close with Brady and Edelman, "We couldn’t keep a straight face as those guys just went back and forth with adlibs. We could've made a whole 2-minute spot of just the outtakes!"

What's stopping you? They'll be too busy to film new commercials once they unretire for real.


Brett O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer
Tina Mahal, Marketing Senior Vice President
James Wade, Marketing Senior Director
Kyle Ahrendsen, Marketing Senior Manager
Spencer Bryson, Marketing Manager
Echo Li, Marketing Insights Manager
Lindsey Smith, External Communications Manager
Dan Cohen, External Communications Senior Director
Natalie Stormer, Legal Associate Specialist
Jeanette Zimmer, Legal Senior Director
Marie Tsang, Media Manager

PepsiCo Beverages North America
Greg Lyons, Chief Marketing Officer
Stacy Taffet, Marketing Senior Vice President
Greg Herman, Marketing Senior Director
Amanda Mendel Zamore, Marketing Director
Lizzy Hlad, Marketing Associate Manager
Emily Tobias, Media Marketing Senior Manager
Caitlin Winsor, Media Marketing Director
Melissa Duhaime, Sports Marketing Director
Sophia Omuemu, Sports Marketing Manager
Nora Quartaro, External Communications Senior Director
Kristen Mueller, External Communications Senior Director
Ali Meade, External Communications Director
Taylor Heath, External Communications Associate Manager
Mireya Iglesias-Ayala, Marketing Senior Analyst
Michael Lazar, eComm Marketing Lead
David Wexler, Legal Senior Director
Carolyn Fazzinga, Legal Senior Assistant 
Jill Bilotta, Legal Assistant
Kelly Lasaponara, Sr. Legal Specialist
Gary White, Consumer Relations Associate Manager

Chris Bellinger, VP Creative & Digital PepsiCo
Tammy Schilling, Creative Director
Katheryn Renfroe, Sr. Associate Creative Director
Eric Snodgrass, Associate Creative Director
Nick Scott, Associate Creative Director
Rich Rodriguez, Sr. Marketing Director
Elizabeth Baldwin, Sr. Associate Account Director
Madelyn Bane, Account Supervisor
Dan Watson, Producer
James Clarke, Sr. Director, Digital & Social 
Ruchie Singh, Social Media Director
Lauren Kozar, Associate Social Director

Vice President, Manuela Gould
Managing Account Supervisor, Natalie Houck-Meloni
Account Supervisor, Kelsey Kolisek
Senior Account Executive, Katharine Morey
Assistant Account Executive, Javen Joerger
Assistant Account Executive, Eden McColl

Laura Sipes, Sports Marketing VP
Katelyn Krommenhoek, Sports Marketing Analyst

Direct Focus, Inc
Barry Rosen, CEO & Founder

Zach Garbiso, Senior Director Integrated Planning 
Valentina Cooper, Manager Integrated Planning 
Blaine Thompson, Associate Director Optimum Sports

Director, Rick Famuyiwa
Managing Director / EP, Rebecca Skinner
Managing Director/Head of Sales, Michelle Ross
Executive Producer, Kate Leahy
Head of Production / EP, Matt Sanders
Producer, William Green

The Den
Editor, Christian Jordan
Jr. Editor, Jake Swartz
Sr. Cutting Assistant, Nic Watkins
Sr. Executive Producer, Jennifer Mersis
Head of Production, Kristina Thoegersen
Senior Producer, Jessica Davis

The Mill 
Executive Creative Director, Matt Fuller
Managing Director / EP, Anastasia Von Rahl
Sr. Post Producer, Mari Suarez
BLR Producer, Noan John Vinod
Associate Producer, Abby Siegel
Shoot Supervisor, John Leonti
2D Lead Artist, Lane Jolly
3D Lead Artist, Zsolt Krajcsik
Matte Painting, Bill Lu
Colorist, Paul Yacono
Senior Color Producer, Denise Brown

Audio: JSM
Chief Creative Officer, Joel Simon
Executive Producer, Jeff Fiorello
Senior Producer, Norm Felker
Senior Producer, Andrew Manning
Producer, Sharon Cha
Mixer, Bryan Gold

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