The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Allstate Commerical Makes Drunk Fan Cry
Originally posted 4/8/2003

Wyberg (right) with Ridge, an hour or so before the unpleasantness
EVANSTON, IL - Northwestern University graduate student and longtime college basketball fan Todd Wyberg, 25, embarrassed himself and his family name Monday evening at Sully's, an Evanston, Illinois sports bar, by getting drunk and then crying during an Allstate insurance commercial. The ad, which is set to cheesy inspirational music, highlights great moments in recent NCAA tournament history.

Despite repeated attempts to defend himself, Wyberg was eventually forced to leave the bar amid a hail of insults and catcalls. "I was pretty drunk," said Wyberg late Monday night. "Then that commercial came on, with that stupid music, and they showed [former Duke All-American Christian] Laettner, then Patrick Ewing and John Thompson. I remember watching Ewing with my dad when I was a little kid. Then they show Jimmy V... I mean, you'd have to be made of granite not to be at least a little affected."

The advertisement in question shows, following shots of Laettner and Ewing, the phrase "An Underdog Had A Believer" superimposed over a black screen before depicting slow-motion clips of the late Jim Valvano, then the coach of North Carolina State, celebrating his team's improbable upset victory over heavily favored Houston in the 1983 NCAA championship game. Valvano, who went on to become a popular television broadcaster, passed away in 1993 after a long battle with cancer that was noted for its bravery.

"Look, we're not saying Jimmy V wasn't great," said Wyberg's friend and Sully's bartender Calvin Ridge. "He was. That 'Don't Ever Give Up' speech, just thinking about it gives me chills. But I'm sorry. Crying from a commercial... not cool. Not cool."

"I know it was lame," said Wyberg. "It's just a TV ad. That NC State game, though, with the put-back at the buzzer, that was so amazing what that team accomplished. And what [Valvano] went through after he got sick, the dignity he showed -- no, I'm not crying, it's just my allergies. Leave me alone."

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