Bob Sanders was one of the best -- and most influential -- Iowa players of the early '00s, a player still beloved now, almost 20 years (gulp) since his playing days in Iowa City. Bob hit opposing players like a dump truck and seemed to be magnetically attracted to loose footballs.
After his outstanding Iowa career, Sanders was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and he had an NFL career that was ultimately short due to injuries, but very impactful. Dude only played more than six games in two seasons (2005 and 2007), but he was first-team All-Pro in both of those campaigns, won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, and was a key reason why Peyton Manning finally won a Super Bowl with the Colts.
Little did we know that Bob also filmed a commercial for ESPN's iconic "This is SportsCenter" campaign around that time. Per longtime ESPN personality Steve Levy, it went unused because Sanders retired shortly after the spot was finished.
2/2....this "This Is SportsCenter" promo with Colts safety Bob Sanders NEVER aired...The often-injured star retired shorty after we filmed... pic.twitter.com/O8Z5td1ndg— Steve Levy (@espnSteveLevy) May 25, 2020
Here's the full commercial:
This is choice. An unaired SportsCenter commercial starring Bob Sanders. pic.twitter.com/CvyzG51bX1— Hawkeye Homer (@hawkeyehomer) May 27, 2020
Kind of surprising they leaned into the whole "Sanders plays safety" thing, so he has ESP to know where to be and how to prevent bad things from happening instead of doing something with his "Hitman" rep, but hey. Maybe they didn't want to deal with Bob tackling someone through a wall in Bristol. It's still a fun spot and a nice reminder of Bob's playing days.
And if you want to see him erase hapless receivers and running backs on a football field, well...