NORMAN — Baker Mayfield may one day be voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.
He might captain a Super Bowl-winning team with the Cleveland Browns.
He has a chance, with a supporting cast that now includes Odell Beckham Jr., to become one of the more prolific quarterbacks in pro football.
Ultimately, Mayfield might be the hero that Cleveland most needs: one who delivers a championship (like LeBron James did with the Cavaliers) but doesn’t leave Ohio (like LeBron James did to the Cavaliers).
Mayfield could be destined for all of those career-defining achievements, but OU’s 2017 Heisman Trophy winner will never do anything more uncommonly cool than what he experienced in January.
In a two-minute commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, Mayfield was one of 44 current and former NFL stars featured in an “NFL 100” spot. The commercial launched the commemoration of the special nature of the 2019 season — the league’s 100th season.
On Wednesday, during a Baker Mayfield Football ProCamp that attracted 477 kids to a park south of OU’s Memorial Stadium, Mayfield spent five minutes with media members.
Within the flurry of questions about Mayfield’s second NFL season, and about Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts, I was able to ask about his “NFL 100” experience.
When invited to have a role in the “NFL 100” commercial — filmed in Los Angeles about three weeks before the Super Bowl — was Mayfield immediately aware of the magnitude of the production?
“I understood that it’s a pretty big deal — a Super Bowl commercial,” Mayfield replied. “But once I saw the script and who I was going to be with, it became a bigger deal. It was a special thing.”
The commercial starts with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell presiding over a banquet. Marshawn Lynch notices a huge cake. He jams his hand into the cake, resulting in a gold football tumbling from the cake top to the floor.
The Mike Singletary of today reacts as the Singletary of 1985 would have reacted — by roaring “Fumble!!!”
Several of the tuxedo-clad former players dive for the loose ball, and what follows is phenomenal mayhem.
Jim Brown was involved. So were Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. At one point, Barry Sanders winds up with the football. He executes a spin move and watches a diving defender crash into a table.
Deion Sanders high-steps across the room after intercepting a Joe Montana pass intended for Jerry Rice.
Mean Joe Greene is there. Peyton Manning. Patrick Mahomes.
What a cast.
At the 1:11 mark, as playmakers and defenders collide throughout the ballroom, Mayfield is shown while seated with Brady.
Mayfield: “Get out there, old man.”
Brady removes five Super Bowl rings from his right hand.
“Hold these,” Brady says, dropping the rings into Mayfield’s hands. Brady bolts out of the scene as Mayfield examines the jewelry and smiles.
While the Mayfield-Brady exchange was clever, the commercial’s best scene was the Terry Bradshaw-Franco Harris re-enactment of “The Immaculate Reception.”
The Mayfield moment amounted to five seconds, but the value of those five seconds is immeasurable.
After having been a professional for only one season — and only a few months after having quarterbacked the Sooners in a College Football Playoff semifinal against Georgia — Mayfield had a role in an “NFL 100” instant-classic production.
During CBS’ Super Bowl telecast, the “NFL 100” commercial was seen by seen by 101 million viewers. It will be replayed throughout the 2019 season.
“Any time I get to be around guys like that, it’s pretty special,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “When it comes down to it, (Brady) is the greatest to ever do it. But he’s also a normal guy, too. It was fun to be around him off the field.”
Mayfield is on a roll of memorable years.
In 2017, he got his Heisman while driving the Sooners to the Big 12 championship and the College Football Playoff.
In 2018, he was the first pick overall in the NFL draft. For a Browns organization that finally is showing signs of life after a lengthy, miserable slump, Mayfield made 13 starts and finished with an NFL rookie-record 27 touchdown passes.
His 2019: Mayfield is getting married in a few weeks, his second Browns training camp begins on July 28 and he has the distinction of having had a speaking part in the best sports commercial in television history.