Harry Pemberton didn't need to pay for two tickets to Super Bowl XLV. It's fair to say he talked his way into the big game.
Pemberton, a longtime Orange County resident who has lived in Newport Beach the past 11 years, won the tickets by becoming the champion of the "Smack Talk Your Way to the Super Bowl" contest at http://www.fanschoice.com.
Pemberton left for Dallas on Friday to watch Sunday's matchup of the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Green Bay Packers.
After the game there will be an MVP, but before the game, Pemberton, 47, became the Most Valuable Smack Talker.
Now he's headed to the Super Bowl with his wife, Lauren. What's more he has also been selected to announce the Fan's Choice for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 on the NFL Network with Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young. The announcement gig is part of Van Heusen and the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Fan's Choice campaign.
"When we got the call that I won, we were so overjoyed with enthusiasm," Pemberton said. "We were jumping up and down. We did the Hokey Pokey — we were so excited."
The Pembertons will most likely be dancing at some point during this weekend. They will spend four nights in Texas and will also be guests for a special Super Bowl party.
Pemberton can credit his smack-talk skills for the prize, but he's also grateful for kickers. In the contest, Pemberton defended NFL kickers and displayed passion in his quest to prove that Gary Anderson deserves induction into the Hall of Fame.
At first, he phoned in a 30-second take on kickers, earning a spot among the finalists who produced a one-minute video of smack talking about who should get into the Hall.
Pemberton used a local landmark as a backdrop for some creativity and flavor for his video. After getting a camera in the mail from Van Heusen, Pemberton filmed his smack talk at 54th Street on the sand at Newport Beach. You can watch the video on YouTube by typing in a search for, "Harry Pemberton."
He flipped his cap backward and wore a pair of shades as he began to run off reasons why kickers like Anderson belong in the Hall.
While holding a football in his right hand, Pemberton began with: "NFL kickers are valuable specialty players that deserve respect and induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
He then leans toward the camera, pushes his glasses down to peer into the camera to say, "Yes, I said kickers."
The smack-talk contest helped increase attention to fanschoice.com. Last year was the first time fans could vote for the player they wanted in the Hall of Fame. This year, the campaign added the smack-talk contest.
Voting increased fourfold over last year to nearly 4.5 million votes, said Mike Kelly, executive vice president of marketing for Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.
"Harry is eloquent in a lot of ways," Kelly said. "He put on a great piece. He went out on the beach and just supported a good argument on a kicker, which is always an interesting conversation in the Hall. He was everything we hoped for. He did an excellent job."
Pemberton's spot on NFL Network with Young will air at 4 p.m. Saturday during the Hall of Fame's Road to Canton official announcement show.
Pemberton is anxious for the weekend and he's also excited about a new chapter in his life. He and his wife used to work for Southern California Edison. They both recently took new jobs at Tennessee Valley Authority. They are nearly finished moving to Chattanooga, Tenn.
Before they settle in, they plan to create great memories at the Super Bowl.