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NFL selects 12 finalists from fan pitch contests in New York, Dallas & Denver to determine NFL's Sup

And then there were 12.

More than 1,700 fans showed up to pitch their Super Bowl commercial ideas to the NFL at events at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, Texas Stadium in Irving, TX and INVESCO Field at Mile High in Denver, CO. The NFL has narrowed those pitches down to a group of 12 finalists. Fans may now vote for their favorite commercial idea at www.NFL.com/SuperAd through January 7.

The winning pitch will be determined through the online fan vote as well as a vote by a NFL panel of judges. The final NFL judging panel will be made up of award-winning actor and star of past NFL commercials, DON CHEADLE; filmmaker and award-winning director of numerous acclaimed television commercials, JOE PYTKA; and NFL Senior Vice President of Consumer Products and Marketing, LISA BAIRD.

The winning pitch, which will be announced on January 8, 2007, may be produced into the NFL's ad that will run during the Super Bowl XLI broadcast. In addition to serving as a judge, Pytka will also be directing the winning commercial.

For the first time ever, the NFL enabled fans to present their ideas for the Super Bowl commercial that best expresses the NFL experience through the campaign entitled "Pitch us your idea for the best NFL Super Bowl commercial ever. Seriously." The NFL retained GMR Marketing to help manage the campaign.

All pitches were scored by a panel of three NFL judges, including NFL marketing executives, current and former NFL players, advertising professors at local colleges and members of the media. The judges rated fan pitches based on connection to the NFL, commercial appeal, originality and creativity, and heartbeat - the emotional connection the pitch made with the judges.

Following is a list of the 12 finalists, their hometowns and a brief synopsis of their pitch:

NAME HOMETOWN COMMERCIAL IDEA
John Brennan Charleston, SC Under the tagline "Everyone is a winner," NFL players help out there opponents both on and off the field in an attempt to help others succeed.
Gino Bono Portsmouth, NH Under the tagline "It's so hard to say goodbye," as the Super Bowl comes to an end, fans and players have a difficult time accepting the fact that the season is over.
Nicole Cipolla Niskayuna, NY Star players from both Super Bowl teams show that to become a champion, it takes heart.
Dave Deffenbaugh Tyler, TX A leprechaun, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus enjoy the Super Bowl experience, proving that Super Bowl Sunday is "Everyone's favorite holiday."
James Flavin Denver, CO Super Bowl winning coaches Don Shula and Mike Ditka work in a barbershop cutting the hair of former Super Bowl champions. The waiting room is filled with players yet to win a Super Bowl. "Who's next?"
Mark Lucera Centennial, CO Ray Lewis thinks back to the moment he realized that he wanted to play in the NFL during a Duck, Duck, Goose game in elementary school.
Gregg Macaulay New Bern, NC Babies react to watching the Super Bowl as a future Super Bowl MVP completes a touchdown pass, throwing his baby bottle to a stuffed animal.
Jay (William) Madison Cincinnati, OH The Super Bowl XLI football, Superballus Maximus the 41st, explains the history of Super Bowl footballs.
Craig McLeod Vail, CO Keeping with the "One Game. One Dream" theme of the 2006 season, an offensive lineman dreams of playing quarterback in the Super Bowl.
Vanessa Rouse Fayetteville, AR A hearing-impaired boy attending the Super Bowl is unable to hear the roar of the crowd, but by placing his hands on his seat's armrests, he feels the power of the NFL.
Abe Sutton Brooklyn, NY Don Cheadle plays every position for both teams in the Super Bowl. The coaches are Don Cheadle, the fans in the stands are Don Cheadle. Don Cheadle is everywhere.
Allan Zeman Bronx, NY A teacher challenges her students to prove to her that football has taught them lessons in life if they want to have their homework assignment extended a day due to Super Bowl Sunday.

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