2019 Shortlist 

NFL Throwback

Entrant: NFL

Winner 🏆
  • Outstanding Use of Instagram


How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?

Our follower base is perhaps the most engaged in all of sports media.

The page's interaction rate (8.0%) is more than twice as high as the rates produced by the leading sports pages on Instagram (Bleacher Report – 2.8%, ESPN 1.5%, House of Highlights – 2.4%, SportsCenter – 1.5%) or by pages with similar audience sizes and content offerings (NFL Films – 3.2%, NFL on FOX – 3.7%, ESPN NFL – 2.2%) to ours.

It’s more than four times that produced by the NBA’s comparable account, NBA History (1.8%).

Our strategy proves that brands can satisfy sports fans' short attention spans with exciting highlights while also providing deeper storytelling in comments for those who want to spend more time with the content.

And as for evidence that the industry has taken notice, look no further than this: on Opening Day this spring, MLB launched its own historical content page.


Our goal was to bring to life the history of the NFL in a way suited for Instagram and unite football fans of all ages.

Prior to this season, no one had ever mined the expansive NFL archive specifically for social content or presented NFL history in a form optimized for social platforms. So, with fans' attention increasingly turning to social platforms like Instagram, we saw a significant opportunity for a brand centered around NFL history.

Strategy & Execution:

We engaged our fans with a dynamic content plan of highlight videos, eye-catching images and beautiful graphics, supported by a highly interactive approach to Instagram.

Whereas football coverage on TV largely makes use of artistic, slowed-down shots, we leaned heavily on broadcast footage to give fans a look at old players and moments in a raw, authentic way that felt natural to social.

For Instagram's young demographic, we've used highlights of recent stars – Aaron Rodgers, Brian Urlacher, Chad Ochocinco, for example – as a hook that allowed us to then demonstrate the amazing exploits of older players.

Throughout the season, we were interactive with fans, positioning the brand as a trustworthy source of historical stats and stories and consistently responding to comments.

Through thoughtful, dedicated research, we turned our comments section into a space where our followers could get reliable, high-quality information and anecdotes, adding an extra content dimension that almost no other sports brand is utilizing.

Most pages' engagement with followers is either non-existent or comes in the form of a few cursory replies ("Happy birthday", "Hi") on each post. We've stood out by responding consistently but limiting it to meaningful interactions only: either high-quality information or a quick-witted response.


After launching the brand September 4, we gained 450K followers in the five months of the NFL season, generating 115 million video views and 17 million interactions overall.

We've drawn engagement from the majority of the 32 NFL teams, as well as a long list of players, both current and retired: some of the bigger names include Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Owens, and Michael Vick.

And, though we'll tell you we believe NFL Throwback is great, you're probably better off taking it from our fans, who consistently say it's "the best sports page" or even "the best account on Instagram."


  • NFL


Matt Cummings
Social Content Producer

Kaveh Kaghazi

Scott O'Malley

AJ Curry
Manager, Social Content

Jordan Dolbin
Manager, Social Content

Bryce Gustafson
Manager, Social Content

Dave Feldman
Sr. Director, Social Content

Ruth Wels
Lead Illustrator

Mickey Conroy
Digital Content Editor

Daniel Cohen
Video Editor

Justin Anderson
Sr. Manager, Social Content

Logan Rhoades
Managing Editor, Social Content

Bryndon Minter
Social Creative Producer

Scott Koppenhaver
Social Content Producer

Nick Toney
Social Content Producer

Colin Huber
Social Content Producer

Justin Goldman
Graphics Producer

Mike Gallegos
Designer & Animator

Join the Engagement + Creative Elite

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