Urlacher's $100,000 Hat

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 19, 2007 4:57PM

2007_04_sports_urlacher_hat.jpgDid you know that the hat Brian Urlacher wore to the Super Bowl media day cost him $100,000? No, it wasn't some bling-encrusted, endangered-species-skin fashion statement. In fact, the hat itself was most likely given to him for free by VitaminWater. But his wearing of the hat cost him $100,000 because it violated the league's sponsorship rules. That's the largest non-suspension fine in league history!

See, the NFL has a little deal with Gatorade that makes it the "offical drink of the NFL." And the NFL likes to protect its sponsorship deals, especially when said drink company pays the league $45 million a year. Players' own endorsement deals don't always match up with the NFL's, and when it comes to official events the NFL bars logos from unofficial companies.

For a Super Bowl-related event, the six-figure fine is standard. Urlacher just happened to be the first hit by such a fine. A violation during the regular season is currently a $10,000 fine, and during the Pro Bowl a $50,000 fine.

Seeing as Urlacher removed the hat about three minutes into the event, when notified by a Bears public relations spokesman, the fine comes out to about a grand per second! A little excessive if you ask us. And, as the Trib's David Haugh pointed out, 20 times what Urlacher was fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit against J.P. Losman during the regular season. Does that mean that league sponsors are 20 times more valuable than starting QBs?

Urlacher's fine follows in the footsteps of Bears QB Jim McMahon, who was fined $5,000 during the 1985 playoffs for wearing an Adidas headband on the sidelines during a game. For the next game, he wore a headband with "ROZELLE" — then league commish — written across it. We can only hope that Urlacher shows up at the next NFL event wearing a "GOODELL" cap!

Base image via BodogBeat.