AT THE making of the NFL's "Road to Forty" commercials--a series of ads that will run until Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5--some of the most memorable moments took place between takes. At Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, Calif., Roger Staubach, 63, the MVP of Super Bowl VI, entertained the 50-member crew by zipping passes to his costar in the ad, Cowboys safety Roy Williams, 25. In the "talent" trailer at the L.A. Coliseum, waiting for his close-up, Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper (right) watched tape of the first Super Bowl before going out to meet that game's MVP, Bart Starr, in the stadium in which the game was played. And during downtime at Ontario Airport outside L.A., Super Bowl IX MVP Franco Harris recounted his glory days in Pittsburgh to Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
In all, 14 NFL stars past and present came to Southern California in July to shoot the six 30-second spots. The ads--directed by Tarsem, who did REM's Losing My Religion video--team current players with retired Super Bowl champions who inspire the younger guys to stay motivated for the title. Shoots lasted from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. "You don't realize the time it takes with all the lighting and setup," said Staubach. "But football is more complicated. It's strategic."
There were some tough weather conditions (Tony Gonzalez and Redskins great Doug Williams sweated through 100° heat at the Rose Bowl; fog delayed the start of the Staubach--Roy Williams shoot), a wardrobe mishap (Marcus Allen's suit had to be altered) and a smoothie incident ("They ran out, and I didn't get one. Can you believe that?" said Harris), but the players say they had fun and learned from each other. "Mr. Starr isn't the type of guy who needs someone to get him water. He gets it himself," said Culpepper. "I got a lot out of how he carries himself. He's achieved greatness, but he's levelheaded and humble. I like that."