Timing is everything, especially when it comes to good advice about life.
Appearing in a local podcast recently, Cleveland Browns legend Joe Thomas shared such a bit with the audience.
And if Baker Mayfield was listening, he might have wished he’d heard Thomas’ anecdote back in 2018.
if only Browns legend Jim Brown had taught Baker Mayfield what he taught Joe Thomas… pic.twitter.com/SUAAYjVx4j
— Ohio’s Tate (@BarstoolTate) May 3, 2022
According to Thomas, none other than the great Jim Brown talked to the team’s locker room years ago.
The topic was commercials and promotions, and the advice basically came down to, “don’t do it.”
As per Thomas’ explanation, Brown said,
“Whatever money you think you’re going to make on this endorsement, don’t worry about that. If you put the energy you put into commercials into what you do on the field, your contracts in football will be 100 times more than that. So it’s a good investment to invest in yourself as a player and not waste time doing the shenanigans off the field.”
Does Thomas or Browns believe Mayfield would be in a better position now if he skipped making commercials?
Times Are Different Today
Baker Mayfield is the star of a highly successful and entertaining series of commercials for Progressive Insurance.
The “At Home With Baker” segments imagine Baker living at FirstEnergy Stadium and spin everyday tasks to match.
But appearing in the Progressive ads takes much less time than it probably did in Brown’s playing era.
Back then, editing and other technical aspects were not as flexible or as easy to manage.
“At Home” with Baker Mayfield has a whole new meaning these days. pic.twitter.com/rpX7KwVoBH
— Browns Rally Possum (@Browns_Possum) March 23, 2022
Commercials were often shot during the season, sometimes right after a game or practice.
And they often required multiple takes because the live version was probably what viewers were going to see.
Progressive shoots a full season’s worth of commercials in a couple of days with minimal effort from Mayfield.
And his compensation is significantly more than what players received to smoke a particular cigar in the 60s.
But Is It Still Good Advice?
Of course, the most successful athletes in all sports will tell you how important it is to manage distractions.
And the more you expose yourself with promotional appearances, the more opportunities arise for controversy.
Few will insist they don’t enjoy Mayfield’s antics in Progressive’s “At Home” commercials.
And even some of those ready to move on from the player admit they’ll miss the 30-second pieces.
Baker Mayfield on the @ynk_podcast: “I feel disrespected — 100%. Because I was told one thing and they completely did another. That’s what I’m in the middle of right now. I've had 4 different head coaches in four years. A bunch of different coordinators." pic.twitter.com/Eok9peq7Vc
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 13, 2022
But Jim Brown’s advice could be rolled into more modern distractions with good effect.
Thomas would do well to warn Mayfield and other young players to eschew social media and podcast appearances.
Besides reflecting poorly on mainstream fans’ sentiments, it’s time that could be better spent honing their craft.
And maximizing their NFL compensation will pay off better than any viral post or meme.