Terry Tate: Office Linebacker

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For the Australian rules footballer, see Terry Tate (Australian footballer).
"Terrible" Terry Tate

Terry Tate: Office Linebacker was a series of short comedy television commercials created by Rawson Marshall Thurber, for Reebok, based on a short film pilot he created in 2000; Tate was first shown at Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The short films feature Lester Speight as "Terrible" Terry Tate, an American football linebacker who "gives out the pain" to those in the office who are not obeying office policies.

Originally, Reebok produced 6 episodes between August to December 2002 with another episode Terry Tate, Office Linebacker: Sensitivity Training being made on February 1, 2004. Even Reebok in the United Kingdom made an episode called Late Lunch on January 22, 2005. There are a total of 9 episodes. The advertising campaign was one of the most successful of those in the history of the Super Bowl halftime shows.[1]

The catchphrases include "The pain train's comin'", "You kill the joe, you make some mo'", "You can't cut the cheese wherever you please!", "'Cause when it's game time, it's pain time!", "Don't bring that weak-ass stuff up in this humpy-bumpy" and "Woo-woo!" After tackling a worker, Terry usually leaves him with a "WOOH! Bitch!!!"

While the first episode of the series implies that hiring an office linebacker is a highly unorthodox practice (one described as "thinking outside the box"), future episodes depict office linebackers as a common occurrence.

Though successful in attracting viewers and attention, the ads' ability to increase recognition of the Reebok brand has been questioned, with only 55% of respondents on an on-line poll indicating they realized the ad was affiliated with the company.[2][3] Despite being aired only once on national television, the short was downloaded more than seven million times from Reebok's website.[3]

Main Characters[edit]

Lester Speight as "Terrible" Terry Tate (a.k.a. The Pain Train a.k.a. Triple T) - Hired by Felcher & Sons as an office linebacker. He enjoys his job, punishing office workers who disobey office policy. Terry is also in charge of office supplies, this is why all his interviews are done in the supply storage room, his office.

Michael Sean McGuinness as Ron Felcher - The CEO of Felcher & Sons. Terry's employer. According to him, ever since Terry joined the team, productivity has gone up by 46%.

Jeremy Rowley as Paul Merkin - The Jr. Mail Room Engineer, and a common target of Terry's wrath.

Natacha Wenger as Geneva Stoller - A sensitivity trainer, she works for Sanchez, Steamer, & Co. and is employed by Felcher & Sons to help their own staff work better together.

Christopher M. Lee as Courtney Cate - Appearing in Draft Day, Courtney was chosen to work alongside Terry as another office linebacker.

Thomas Weaver as Gaston Du Coque - The Hotel Manager, makes an appearance in Vacation highlighting Terry Tate's impact on the employees.

Original episodes[edit]

Terry's World (August 11, 2002)
An introduction to Terry's world. He slams into Paul Merkin after his failure to refill the coffee after he's used it, and then Ron Felcher gives a brief description about how the productivity in the office has soared after Terry's arrival from Reebok. Terry then puts more office workers in their places, for various offenses such as failing to recycle an aluminium can, failing to put a cover sheet on a TPS report, and drinking coffee while not on a break. His friendly side is also shown, as he gives a co-worker a cake on their birthday. Near the end of the episode, Terry himself is the victim of an injury after being hit with a mail cart, but he returns to work swiftly in order to keep everyone in line once again.
Draft Day (September 1, 2002)
Felcher & Sons hire a new linebacker, Courtney Cate, to work alongside Terry in the office. At first, the two have some "initial friction" between each other, but they soon gel and begin to work more efficiently as a team, jointly dealing out the pain to the co-workers who step out of line. However, the company made the decision to relocate Cate to a European branch in Germany, due to salary cap reasons, and also because he made some errors (such as taking out an employee for wearing a Hawaiian shirt to work, not knowing it was Casual Friday).
Vacation (September 14, 2002)
After 1000 days at work without a single day off, state law requires that Terry must take a vacation. At first he dislikes his holiday (having problems opening his room's door with the card key, and the small towels he is forced to use), but once he begins to put the hotel staff in line (as he does with his office co-workers), he begins to enjoy himself. The hotel's manager is pleased with Terry's actions, saying that he is welcome back any time and has been the best guest the hotel has ever had. However, back at Felcher & Sons, many of the staff have been acting up without Terry around, but his return quickly gets the company back into shape again.
Office Athlete Of The Century (October 15, 2002)
Terry is awarded the prestigious Office Athlete Of The Century award from OSPN (a parody of ESPN). Throughout the episode Terry's earlier life is recapped. He graduated from high school as captain of the football team before accepting a full scholarship to Major University. He then joined a freelance mime troupe. It was during this job that he attacked a spectator who was talking loudly on their cell phone. Ron Felcher, one of the spectators, saw this incident, and decided to hire Terry as a result.
Super Bowl 2003 commercial (November 27, 2002)
This is a remix of the incidents from the past episodes, depicting scenes from the past episodes.
Streaker (December 4, 2002)
In a direct spoof of a similar Nike ad, a naked man runs across the field during a soccer match. Terry appears from nowhere and slams him.
Sensitivity Training (February 1, 2004)
Office worker Paul Merkin accuses Terry Tate of assault, and in response Felcher & Sons hire Geneva Stoller, a sensitivity trainer. She gives out badges of shame to anyone who breaks office rules, and after Terry drives into a worker in his usual office role, she moves him to a desk job. As a result, office productivity declines, and Terry is forced to watch from his desk as office staff all around him fail to do any work. However, after seeing Geneva make a sexual advance on a male employee, Terry slams into her to put her back in line. The company part ways with Geneva, and Ron Felcher shows how productivity had declined since her arrival, but since her departure things had recovered once again, with the help of Terry.
Late Lunch (January 22, 2005)
A short episode showing how Terry tackles a worker, Roger, who returns to his desk late for work. His co-workers are less than happy, handing him papers that should have been completed 15 minutes ago. But Terry is at hand to get the worker back in line once again.
Pro Bowl (Date?)
In this episode, Terry helps keep the players focused on the game and ready to give 110%. It's narrated by Ray Lewis and features an appearance by Don Ho. Other notable player appearances include Steve McNair, Chris McAlister, Ahman Green, Clinton Portis, and Dante Hall. There are several quotes not used in other episodes to include: "If you're gonna distract, Triple T's gonna attack", "You dancin' like you got a nay nay in our shorts", "C'mon Ho, you gotta make me feel the bubbles...bloop bloop...".

Spoof of Nike ad[edit]

In February, 2003, Reebok released a commercial featuring Tate that parodies a Nike, Inc. commercial; in the original a streaker disrupts a British football match; in the Reebok ad, Tate tackles the streaker then proclaims, "You just did it, so I had to hit it". The advertisement was one of several competitive and deliberate spoofs between the rival companies.[4]

California recall election[edit]

In 2003, Terry Tate was entered as a candidate in the 2003 California recall election, under the name "Lester Terry Tate Speight".[5]

2008 U.S. Presidential election[edit]

The Terry Tate character resurfaced in a series of short videos urging people to vote on November 4, including scenes that depict the Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin being (purportedly) tackled following famously controversial interviews.[6]


  • From Russia with Love (October 16, 2008), Tate tackles Republican Candidate Sarah Palin after she answers a question from Katie Couric about her foreign policy experience.
  • Reading is Fundamental (October 16, 2008), Tate tackles Republican Candidate Sarah Palin after she gives an elusive answer to a question from Katie Couric about her reading material.
  • Get Out the Vote (October 20, 2008), Tate tackles a co-worker who states he will not be voting.

ESPN's Mayne Street[edit]

In a 2008 episode of Kenny Mayne's ESPN parody program Mayne Street, Tate appears to defend anchor Stuart Scott from an intrusion on his lunch break by an individual touring ESPN headquarters. Tate then reminds Mayne that people on his tour groups should not bother "the franchise" (Scott), and that this was discussed in a previous staff meeting.


  1. ^ Sankey, D (2008-10-20). "Terry Tate's a big hit — on Palin". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  2. ^ Rovell, D (2003-01-30). "A Twist of Tate". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  3. ^ a b McCarthy, M (2003-03-23). "Office enforcer wins raves". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ Elliott, S (2003-02-05). "The Media Business: Advertising -- Addenda; Reebok Ad Tackles Nike Commercial". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  5. ^ Elliott, S (2003-08-12). "The Media Business: Advertising; The Reebok campaign joins the California campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  6. ^ "The Return of Terry Tate". 

External links[edit]