Donovan McNabb's New Number

Photograph of Donovan McNabb wearing his new number 5 with the Minnesota Vikings.

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Minnesota Vikings Chat

5 = Donovan McNabb‘s old jersey number.
5 = Chris Kluwe‘s old jersey number.
4 = Brett Favre‘s old jersey number.
4 = Chris Kluwe’s new jersey number.

THOUGHT: You have likely already heard that the Minnesota Vikings traded with Washington for quarterback Donovan McNabb. He will wear the same number he’s worn his entire career, number 5.

What you may not have heard is how he obtained that number from its previous owner, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

NFL players sell their numbers all the time because the only time it only really matters is when a high-profile, highly-paid athlete is acquired from a team and the player who owns the number the incoming player wants stands to gain a bit of pocket change. And NFL pocket change is a tidy sum for normal people.

So what kind of a bargain did Chris Kluwe drive and why am I talking about a couple of football players in a publication devoted to marketing?

Kluwe gave his number 5 jersey to the Vikings new quarterback in exchange for:

  1. McNabb mentioning Tripping Icarus, the name of the rock band in which Kluwe plays bass in at least five different press conferences.
  2. McNabb donating¬†$5,000 to Kluwe’s Kick For A Cure foundation to benefit children with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
  3. McNabb must buy Kluwe an ice cream cone.

Kluwe will sport number 4 on his new jersey, “since pi is not an option.”

McNabb has already started to make good on the deal by mentioning Tripping Icarus six times during a conference call with reporters, he also mentioned Tripping Icarus a bunch of times during a recent radio show he was on (but are either of those press conferences? Do they count?).

Let me count the ways this is brilliant:

1) The initial media coverage of the deal caused search volume for his band’s name to go from virtually none to spiking through the roof.

2) Kluwe will get a ton of exposure for his band from a big name quarterback weaving Tripping Icarus into a handful of press conferences not just during the press conferences themselves, but from the media needing to explain why McNabb kept talking about Tripping Icarus.

3) At least early in the season, the story of how McNabb acquired his number will likely be told when McNabb makes his first appearance during games.

4) Announcers will also feel obligated to point out that Brett Favre is not the Vikings punter when Kluwe first takes the field, prompting another opportunity for them to tell the story and mention Tripping Icarus in the process.

5) Fans who bought Favre jerseys, and there are lots of them, can now wear them to games as Kluwe jerseys. The cameras that pan the crowd are not going to see the backs of the jerseys, so it will seem as if a LOT of people are Chris Kluwe fans. And that, of course, offers another opportunity for commentary by the announcers.

No word yet on whether Kluwe got his ice cream cone.



FOLLOW FRIDAY: Chris Kluwe is @ChrisWarcraft on Twitter. Follow him. He’s a natural.



Thank you for watermelon. 



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