As fans of NFL football and high-dollar advertising campaigns await the arrival of Super Bowl LVIII and all its big plays and performances, the sports-entertainment world suffered a sad hit in the form of Carl Weathers’ death. The 76-year-old athlete-turned-actor passed away in his sleep on February 1, 2024, with possibly his final filmed performance coming in a Super Bowl ad. Following the tragic news, the company FanDuel revealed the ad will be adjusted accordingly, but I can only hope they don’t remove Weathers entirely.
Previously, Carl Weathers was revealed to be appearing along with former NFL champ Ron Gronkowski in at least one Super Sunday ad, for a follow-up campaign to the “Kick of Destiny” arc that was part of last year’s lineup (though it wasn’t one of Super Bowl LVII’s funniest commercials). A 30-second ad was shared online well ahead of time (an issue we’ve written about previously), but it sounds like it may not be the same finalized version that airs on CBS.
According to THR, FanDuel released a statement indicating the company execs’ decision to tweak the existing ad. It stated:
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Carl Weathers. Throughout his life, Carl was an iconic talent who had a profound impact on the people he worked with on and off the screen. FanDuel was fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with him during our Super Bowl campaign. We are adjusting our campaign accordingly out of respect for the family during their time of grief.
Check out the ad below to see Weathers riding up out of nowhere in the desert like a pure badass.
I obviously understand that this is an extremely sensitive time for everyone in Carl Weathers’ family, and my wishes are not for anyone to be more upset than they already are. But it doesn’t look like he had any other on-screen roles on the horizon, with The Mandalorian’s Season 3 finale and Toy Story 4 being his last reported TV and film roles, respectively. (The same goes for his directorial efforts, which include two 2023 episodes of Mando and Chicago Med.)
As such, it would be unfortunate if this last bit of TV excellence was clipped from existence entirely, especially if there’s more footage of Weathers and Gronkowski together. I’m not going to act like the “Kick of Destiny II” campaign is on the same level as his work in the Rocky franchise or on Arrested Development, but anytime pop culture has a chance to embrace the Action Jackson star in any capacity, that chance should be taken.
FanDuel certainly isn’t the only company whose Super Bowl ad popped up online in the weeks preceding the big game. Viewers can also get early peeks at Kate McKinnon’s Mayo Cat commercial and the Suits cast promoting e.l.f. Cosmetics. And they’ll all be on the small screen when Super Bowl LVIII airs on CBS on Sunday, February 11, at 6:00 p.m. ET, and it’ll be streaming for everyone with Paramount+ subscriptions.