The Los Angeles Chargers have won the NFL schedule release video contest with a meticulous, gem-filled homage to anime greats.
As NFL fans clamor to see the official NFL schedule release for their favorite teams, NFL social media accounts are embroiled in a heated battle: which team can release the best video detailing their schedule release?
The New England Patriots used a special guest and stirred up the “Pink Stripes” controversy, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a couple of greenscreen gags with cheery offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs.
But the Los Angeles Chargers won the NFL schedule release video competition, and it’s not even close.
Though anime-lovers will enjoy the homage to some of the genre’s greatest hits, there are plenty of gems for NFL fans, including:
- A slumped-over Urban Meyers in a London pub
- A redacted message for the Cleveland Browns, presumably about Deshaun Watson
- A Seahawks graveyard littered with the hopes dreams of Mina Kimes
- The Falcons flying head-first into another loss (and a 28-3 reference)
- Someone nicknamed “Chucky” thrown in the Las Vegas Raiders trash
AFC West fans will enjoy a mechanized Mahomes battle, a Raiders pirate ship, and seeing Russell Wilson burn Mile High Stadium to the ground.
Los Angeles Chargers win the NFL schedule release with on-point anime homage
For fans of the Bleacher Report animation series “Gridiron Heights“, the Chargers NFL schedule is full of nods to both the Chargers players and season as well as famous Japanese anime. Polygon detailed some of the anime references, which include callbacks to Naruto, Avatar: The Last Airbender, mecha anime, and more.
Remarkably, the Chargers video team produced the video entirely in-house, which is a labor-intensive effort for an NFL video team that is constantly producing content. Chargers feature editor and producer Andrew Córdova explained that the Chargers pulled a lot of animation from anime lineart.
On Córdova’s Twitter thread, the producer ties beloved anime scenes to the essence of team-building in sport, as well as giving respect to the Japanese animators who created the original animations.
It’s not exclusive to NFL fans: there is an extensive history of NFL players professing their love of anime such as Dragon Ball Z. Juju Smith-Schuster made it clear he was a Sasuke stan when he re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in March 2021.
The Chargers may have not won that fourth down that decided their 2021 season, but the Chargers video squad wins once again.