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Strike a Pose: Desmond Howard & Modelo Celebrate His Iconic Punt Return

“It’s been such an iconic part of college football,” the Michigan legend tells Boardroom of his 1991 Heisman moment. “To see that Modelo would reach out and do something as special and significant as this is nice.”

It’s been just over 30 years since Desmond Howard raced into the endzone against Ohio State in Ann Arbor to score arguably one of the most iconic touchdowns in college football history.

And not just for the play itself — but for the now-iconic Heisman pose he struck after taking it to the house in front of 100,000 fans decked out in Maize and Blue.Howard’s touchdown wrapped up any conversation about who was going to win the 1991 Heisman Trophy.

Now, the Michigan Wolverines legend is reflecting on the big score — and giving away some free beer — with the help of Modelo.

“It still gives me goosebumps when I see it,” Howard told Boardroom of that signature moment. “The reason why I don’t think there will ever be a celebration as iconic as mine is because when you watch college football, these guys celebrate everything. It’s almost as if it is the game-winning touchdown; they celebrate first downs like they are touchdowns. It’s overdone now.”

What followed was a departure from Ann Arbor to embark on a 10-year NFL career. He jumped around a few teams, but found his footing with Green Bay in 1997. The Packers went on to win Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots, with Howard contributing as critically as ever, accumulating 244 all-purpose yards and earning Super Bowl MVP honors. After his retirement, Michigan alum joined ESPN’s enduring College GameDay show in 2005 and has been a fixture on the show ever since. 

With Howard making his name in large part by returning punts and kicks, Modelo is celebrating his play by giving fans the opportunity to win big should a punt be returned for a touchdown in Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship in Indianapolis:

If either Alabama or Georgia scores a touchdown on a punt return, Modelo is rewarding 300 fans with free beer for the entire 2022 college football season.

“I don’t care which team gets one. It could be Georgia or Alabama. But I would love to see it,” Howard said. “I love what Modelo brings as far as the messaging, the product, and what the campaign is about.”  

Things got started earlier this season when Modelo became the official beer sponsor for the College Football Playoff as part of a multi-year sponsorship deal. As part of the relationship, Modelo has been hosting activations for fans throughout the past week at the Indiana Convention Center and three days of concerts at Monument Circle.

And while his Wolverines may have bowed out of the CFP in the semifinal round, Howard is happy as ever to have been chosen to participate.

“It’s really special that [the punt return] has maintained this sort of a life for this long. This thing took on a life of its own, and I’m just humbled by it and I’m honored by it. It’s been such an iconic part of college football — to see that Modelo would reach out and do something as special and significant as this is nice,” he said. 

Added Greg Gallagher, vice president of brand marketing at Modelo: “All season we live to see plays that define the course of a game. That’s why we are partnering with and paying tribute to Howard and his iconic play by giving fans the chance to celebrate their own fighting spirit well into next season.”

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About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a Staff Writer covering sports business and music for Boardroom. Before joining the team, he previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features he has written include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" - Hampton University - is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.