In an effort to promote its kickoff to the regular season next week between the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens and the Denver Broncos, the NFL has put up banners of quarterback Joe Flacco posted throughout downtown Denver.
The promotional efforts have been met with predictable reactions from Denver residents and Broncos fans and even some players.
In an interview with Denver radio station 850 KOA, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said "it doesn't seem like it makes sense that the Denver Broncos have to have an opposing player on their stadium."
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Via Twitter, Vanessa Park wrote: "The fact that there are Joe Flacco posters on the 16th Street Mall is just unbelievable. Marketing fail by the NFL. Way to make people angry."
Another Broncos fan named Rachel Nicole wrote: "Why in the hell are there Joe Flacco posters all over downtown Denver? Pretty sure he's one of the most hated people in this city."
There was that double-overtime victory in the AFC divisional-round playoffs where Flacco threw a touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones at the end of regulation behind flailing Broncos safety Rahim Moore.
That said, it's the NFL and its marketing arm sponsored by the league and Pepsi that put up the banners.
As NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy noted on Twitter via this photo, there are huge banners of both Flacco and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning up at Sports Authority Field at Mile High
And there are more signs promoting the rematch at Times Square in New York, via this photo.
It's not as if the Ravens or Flacco have invaded the Broncos' turf and posted these banners independently. It's part of the NFL's marketing plan.
The Ravens were supposed to host the NFL opener, the tradition for defending Super Bowl champions.
However, a scheduling conflict between the Ravens and the Orioles prevented the NFL from scheduling the season-opener in Baltimore.
Instead, Baltimore is the venue of a free kickoff concert by country musician Keith Urban.
Broncos coach John Fox was asked about the banners today.
“I haven’t seen it," Fox told Denver reporters via a transcript provided by the Broncos. "There was a billboard here a couple of years ago I never saw either (laughing). At the end of the day, we don’t pay that too much mind. I think somebody may have showed me a picture, but I never saw it in person.”