14 Jan 1999: Jimmy Johnson talks during a press conference at the Miami Dolphins Head Quarters announcing Dave Wannstedt as the new Assistant Head Coach in Davie, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Eliot J. Schechter /Allsport
A friend likes to say that Jimmy Johnson has made no mistakes, and therefore everything he does is automatically right. He bases this belief not just on the former 'Canes and Dolphins coach's on-field success, but mostly on his achieving the world's most perfect retirement plan: move to Islamorada, party shirtless, fish daily until outer layers resemble beer-cured sharkskin.
It takes a big man to admit he uses a male-enhancement supplement, and apparently former coach and current "Fox NFL Sunday" host Jimmy Johnson is just the guy. Mr. Johnson has just signed on as pitchman for late-night direct-response TV advertising staple ExtenZe in a new campaign breaking Monday.
Mr. Johnson is an unabashed user. Though [marketing exec] Robert Yallen declined to say whether he was one before signing the deal, Mr. Johnson is a user now and will attest to that in the 15-, 30- and 60-second ads.
"Yes, there was a lot of concern [about potential embarrassment]," Mr. Yallen said. "But I think what we've done is legitimized this category that we brought into being 10 years ago...[Jimmy Johnson is] probably one of the few people who can pull this off and get gains in his career from this."
Perhaps he also realizes his name is Jimmy Johnson and he might as well profit from his parent's lack of foresight. The pill, once available only by direct marketing, is receiving a huge push as it moves to "legitimize" itself with a presence in retail stores like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and GNC.
Which isn't to say it's avoiding the late-night punnery. In one of the ads, Johnson signs off with "Go long with Extenze. I do."
Oh, a football reference! Don't mind if we do: "Don't be stopped on fourth and inches." "Half the distance to the goal line? Get ExtenZe." "No more two-minute warnings." "Never let your play be blown dead." "Take the sack, but not for loss. ExtenZe."
Johnson won't just be making television commercials in the name of people doin' it longer: he's set to appear in person with team ExtenZe at the Daytona 500 on Sunday -- another thing that gets boring as it goes on for four hours too long.
Not that there's anything wrong with that, now that Jimmy Johnson's doing it.
Janie Campbell just happens to know there's 111 days until the draft. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.