For years, the National Football League has tried to build an audience for American-style professional pigskin to other countries -- but a weird incident yesterday suggests there's still quite a ways to go.
Specifically, Rob Ford, the controversial mayor of Toronto, who reportedly admitted to probable crack-cocaine use "in one of my drunken stupors," showed up at a press conference rocking a Broncos jersey that at least a couple of the journos on hand didn't seem to recognize despite the global hype for a little game called the Super Bowl.
In this tweet, Elizabeth Church, from The Globe and Mail, identifies Ford's outfit as a "football shirt."
— Elizabeth Church (@lizchurchto) January 27, 2014
Likewise, Matt Galloway of CBC Radio1 refers to the garb generically as an "orange football jersey."
— Matt Galloway (@mattgallowaycbc) January 27, 2014
CBC Toronto's Jamie Strashin seems to be a little more up to speed on the NFL. In his accompanying tweet above, he name-checks Orlando -- i.e., Orlando Franklin, who wears number 74 for the Broncos. According to TSN, Franklin grew up in Toronto. But Ford's also a Peyton Manning fan, as he noted in a recent radio appearance.
In the meantime, credit journalist Simon Ostler for actually recognizing the jersey as pertaining to the Broncos....
— Simon Ostler (@SimonOstler) January 27, 2014
Regarding the press corps in general, TSN reports that Ford didn't address the Broncos outfit in his comments, and if anyone asked him to explain the attire, his response didn't make any of the reports we found. Apparently reporters in Canada are so accustomed to wacky behavior from Ford that they don't even bother inquiring unless someone complains about it. Note that in November, Ford was criticized by his hometown Toronto Argonauts for making sexually explicit statements while wearing one of that squad's jerseys.
Thus far, we haven't heard of any gripes from the Broncos. And at least Ford supporters in Canada now know who their guy wants to win the Super Bowl: the team in the orange football shirts.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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