In the closing moments one of the best Super Bowl commercials in years, Odell Beckham, Jr. comes running into Eli Manning's arms and the Giants quarterback lifts his star (and injured) receiver high above his head. It was a near-perfect replica of Patrick Swayze lifting Jennifer Grey in the big finale of the 1987 movie "Dirty Dancing."
But was it real?
The short answer is: It was real enough.
What it was, was the perfect ending to the most talked-about commercial from Super Bowl LII on Sunday night, with Manning and Beckham doing a near-perfect imitation of the final dance scene in that iconic '80s movie. The ad for the NFL was a play on the NFL's creative touchdown dances, which were once again allowed by the league during the 2017 season.
And the league couldn't have found two better "actors" to pull it off.
"You really needed the right personalities," said Jaime Weston, the NFL's senior VP of marketing. "Eli and Odell are so different. That's what really made this special."
The idea of the ad, Weston said, was to showcase "our players' creativeness and enthusiasm" and after kicking around several ideas with Grey Advertising, which produced the spot, touchdown dances seemed the perfect way to go.
"It was really just about leaning into the fun again in our sport," Weston said. "It really rang true with our fans and our players -- leaning into the fun of the game and letting our players' personalities shine through."
The personalities of the two Giants stars came through in the commercial almost immediately in a spot that begins with Manning asking Beckham if he was ready to "work on that thing." He then throws Beckham a touchdown pass. That's when the recreation of the final scene of Dirty Dancing begins.
First, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes) begins playing. Then Beckham spins the football and turns back to look in Manning's direction. The quarterback walks over, they shake hands, and then the dancing immediately begins.
And they nailed it, nearly step for step, right down to Manning's near-perfect -- and very un-Manning-like -- spinning on his knees and twirling his head like Swayze did more than 30 years ago.
"I think that's what made the spot so great," Weston said. "It was so unexpected."
The spot, which was filmed inside the Giants' fieldhouse at their practice facility about two weeks ago, was choreographed by Stephanie Klemons, an associate choreographer and dance captain for the Broadway smash hit "Hamilton." And the two Giants picked it up quick enough that the whole thing -- which included a dancing cameo by five of the Giants' offensive linemen (Brett Jones, D.J. Fluker, John Jerry, John Greco, and Chad Wheeler) and a one-liner from safety Landon Collins -- was shot in just one day.
"Eli and Odell came in early and learned the dance that morning," Weston said. "They worked so hard to nail that down. It's a really intricate dance. But these guys are athletes. They have good footwork. It's just putting it together in a different way.
"They just went in and got to work. And the Mannings know how to prepare."
When they were finished, Weston said, the real challenge for the NFL was holding the spot until Super Bowl Sunday. Nowadays, many companies release their Super Bowl ads early though social media to generate a buzz. The NFL decided it wanted this spot to be a surprise.
"When we saw the cut we said, 'Oh, this is gold,'" Weston said. "We knew we had to hold it for reveal during the game."
A few days before the game on social media, and then again early in the game on TV, the NFL released several different 10-second "teasers" of what was to come. One was of Manning trying to plot a touchdown celebration by himself ("I can ladle soup … or play board games by myself"). Another had him teaching his offensive linemen how to do a "thumb war". Another had him trying out ideas on Collins, such as playing patty cake or pretending to toss a pizza.
The 60-second "Dirty Dancing" spot, though, was the star of the Super Bowl show -- especially when Beckham and Manning recreated the famous "lift" at the end of the movie.
But did they really?
Yes. And no. Manning was underneath Beckham during the filming of that part, and Beckham was in the air. They may have had the help of a harness or some wires, but those were details the NFL did not want to reveal.
"These guys are athletes," Weston said. "They're strong and agile. They can do anything. But we had to be safe, so we took every precaution.
"And in the end, what you see is what you see."