With the Super Bowl less than a week away, it’s time to start thinking about who I am going to pick as the winner. While Kansas City’s highly explosive offense is appealing, San Francisco’s stout defense is not to be taken lightly. However, as opposed to other years, this year, my pick will be influenced more by my superstitions around trademark filings than it will with actual statistics or skill.
Recently, I wrote an article discussing the potential of a “trademark curse” in sports. The article explained how, in the past, athletes and teams who have sought trademark protection concerning a mark referencing their achievements (e.g., a championship) before actually achieving them often fail to deliver.
Interestingly, one San Francisco 49ers player did precisely that. On December 30th, ahead of their first-round playoff matchup, 49ers star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo filed for trademark protection for the mark “FEELS GREAT BABY”. The phrase derives from an interview he had earlier this season following a Thursday Night Football win over the Arizona Cardinals that improved the 49ers’ record to an undefeated 8-0. In the interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews, Garoppolo was asked how it felt to be 8-0, responding simply with “It feels great baby”. Later, on December 29th, following a big win against the Seattle Seahawks, 49ers tight end George Kittle was seen sporting a “Feels great, baby” t-shirt in a televised, post-game press conference. One can only imagine how many “Feels great, baby” t-shirts might sell after a San Fransisco Super Bowl victory.
In comparison, Garoppolo’s Super Bowl counterpart, reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes, maintains a much different presence at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Despite being listed as the best-selling NFL player for all licensed products over the last eight months, and owning his own logo, website, merchandise, and brand names “Mahomies” and “MVPAT”, Mahomes does not hold a single trademark registration at the USPTO.
With that said, my pick for the Super Bowl is Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Perhaps my superstitions are getting the best of me, but those aside, it is noteworthy to see the different brand strategies of two of the NFL’s brightest stars ahead of the big game on Sunday; one choosing to grow his brand through ambitious trademark filings, and the other through use.
Written by Alexandre Dumais, IPilogue Editor and JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. Alexandre is also the Director of Sports, Osgoode Entertainment and Sports Law Association.