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Carolina Football: How long until Sam Howell becomes the nation’s top chicken spokesman?

UNC’s Heisman hopeful and known chicken connoisseur has an important decision to make

Capital One Orange Bowl - Texas A&M v North Carolina Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

College sports have entered a brave new world by allowing athletes to profit off their own name, image, and likeness (NIL) and some interesting partnerships have already unfolded. Miami quarterback D’Eriq King signed with “College Hunks Hauling Junk,” a moving company. More impressively, Oklahoma quarterback, and likely Heisman Trophy frontrunner Spencer Rattler signed an endorsement deal with chicken fast-food chain Raising Canes.

Rattler deserves credit for securing a deal with a national fast-food chicken franchise. While their chicken is not at the top of the food chain, the reach of their brand could put his face on cups and boxes, and potentially online and television ads, around the country.

But Rattler is just another high-performing Oklahoma quarterback in a long assembly line of excellent signal-callers to roll out of Norman. What deeply personal connection does he have with fried chicken? UNC quarterback Sam Howell, another Heisman candidate, is well known for his love of chicken. It is a deep, abiding love that comes at the expense of other (and probably more delicious) meats.

With this knowledge in the public sphere, Sam Howell should be the prize hen of chicken sales. The cock of the walk. Top booster rooster. Which company to support, though? If we disregard Raising Cane’s, there are three other contenders for Howell to consider. Don’t @ me for not including KFC, Howell wouldn’t touch that garbage.


Pros: Chick-Fil-A is objectively delicious. The pickle juice-brined chicken breast sandwiches are the best in the fast food chicken ecosystem. The sauces for their nuggets and strips are as delicious as they are varied, giving those that are inclined to eat chicken every single day a way to keep things fresh. The waffle fries are delectable plain, with ketchup, or with the dipping sauces. The sweet tea is refreshingly satisfying, and the milkshakes give patrons the option to complete their meal with a tasty, sweet treat.

Cons: Some of the company’s social stances are problematic for a modern athlete looking to support a brand that appeals to wider demographics. Plus, Sam Howell likely eats chicken every day. Even Sundays.


Pros: Delicious chicken in all of its forms: wings, legs, breasts, thighs, sandwiches, biscuits, strips. Fixin’s to please all Southerners and visitors from other points of the US. Mac ‘n cheese, dirty rice, cole slaw... the list goes on. Plus the fries, thin rectangles sprinkled with seasoning that perfectly compliments the crunchy skin of their fried chicken, are the best of the lot. Bojangles also has a history of supporting quarterbacks revered in the state of North Carolina.

Cons: Umm... The pork sausage isn’t as good as their chicken biscuits for breakfast. Their soda affiliation with Pepsi is a downgrade, as opposed to Chick-Fil-A’s partnership with delicious Coca-Cola.


Pros: Love that chicken from Popeye’s! The whole-chicken parts and tenders have a variety of spiciness levels to choose from. Anything Cajun-flavored is scrumptious. The sides are just as plentiful as Bojangles, but with more vegetables like green beans (though they don’t seem as healthy as green beans you’d have at a home-cooked meal). The Popeyes chicken sandwich launched a revolution in the fast-food industry, leading to nationwide hoarding, imitations from McDonald’s and Burger King, and this meme that encompassed the entire mood of 2020.

Cons: Who among us have never craved Popeyes, devoured Popeyes, and then had to Jean-Claude Van Damme kick a bathroom door down to diarrhea 15 minutes later? Unscientifically, I have Popeyes as the worst offender of this affliction amongst the fast-food chicken options.

All things considered, I think that Bojangles is the clear choice. This partnership would be further cemented should Sam Darnold fail to raise his level, leading to the possible drafting of Charlotte-native Sam Howell. By the time he retired with multiple Lombardi trophies, the Panthers would have to build a statue outside of the BOA with a football under one arm and a Big Bo Box under the other one.

Which chicken brand do you think will sponsor Sam Howell? Let us know in the comments below.


Which chicken fast-food will Sam Howell be a spokesman for?

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