Patrick Grieve
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How Does Howie Long Really Feel About Steps on Pickup Trucks?

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Howie Long checks out the extending running boards on the 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500

Howie Long (right) talks about the 2016 Silverado with Chevrolet Chief Engineer Eric Stanczak

During the Great Truck Wars of 2009, Chevrolet made the curious decision to highlight one of the F-150’s available features in what was ostensibly an ad for the Silverado. But in the minds of Chevy’s marketing dudes, of course, they weren’t endorsing the product—they were mocking it:

Related info: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 model overview

In the commercial, we see muscular NFL legend Howie Long loading heavy bags of concrete into his trusty Silverado. Right next to him, some slob secures a bird feeder in the bed of his F-150, presumably because he’s an ornithologist or something nerdy like that.

Then, instead of simply hopping off his truck like a cowboy dismounting his stallion, the Ford driver uses a fold-out step to (awkwardly) climb down from his vehicle. No doubt embarrassed by this display of weakness, he quickly makes to leave, forgetting to re-fold the truck’s step.

“Hey buddy, you left your little ‘man-step’ down,” Howie says to the F-150 driver, with the same disdainful tone that a guy might use when calling out his friend’s effeminate “man-purse” or “man-scaping” habits. Meanwhile, the guy doesn’t even seem to recognize 1984 AFC Defensive Lineman of the Year Howie Long, probably because he knows nothing about the NFL and prefers to spend his Sundays drinking mimosas at brunch. Instead, the guy shamefacedly folds up his man-step, and then presumably drives back to his home on Fire Island.

The message is clear: Howie Long thinks a step on a pickup truck makes about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine, and is twelve times as girly.

That’s why this new 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 promotional video from GM is so confusing. Skip to the one-minute mark to see the incident in question:

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In the video above, Chevrolet Chief Engineer Eric Stanczak shows off some of the 2016 Silverado 1500’s new features to longtime fan Howie Long. These features include optional articulating running boards that extend automatically when the door is opened, which according to Eric, make it “easier to get in and out.”

Now, if you’re like me, you were expecting Howie Long to slap Eric right in his face, much like how General George S. Patton slapped officers who avoided combat action due to “shell shock.” Howie is not the kind of man who needs some candy-ass steps to get into a pickup truck; Howie is the kind of man who kicks out the safety glass window with his steel-toed boots and then crawls into the driver’s seat like a NASCAR racer.

But instead of assaulting Eric, Howie simply let out a small “wow” upon seeing the wussification of his favorite vehicle.

“Wow” as in “wow, what kind of a little girl needs help getting into a truck,” you might be thinking? No, it was an awed “wow,” as in “wow, I can’t wait to show this to Terry Bradshaw the next time we go get our nails done.”

Howie was even more effusive in his praise when shown how the running boards extend rearward when tapped.

“That’s convenient, particularly for a big guy,” Howie said. “I like that!”

Uh, you like that, bro?

What the hell, Howie? Not only are you going to suddenly change your opinion on steps that help dudes get into trucks, but you’re also going to try to spin such features as actively masculine by saying that they’re great for “big guys”?

Howie’s radical shift in opinion from one commercial to the next has me starting to wonder if I can actually believe anything he says. For example, when told that the truck’s built-in Wi-Fi has a connection that’s more powerful than a smartphone, Howie declares, “I love power!”

But does he really? Probably not as much as he loves watching the movie 27 Dresses

And when Howie declared the headlights “awesome,” or the wireless phone charging feature “cool,” were those superlatives said with sincerity? And would he use the same adjectives to describe the act of peeing while sitting down?

And make no mistake, this credibility issue goes beyond Chevy commercials. Next year, when I’m watching FOX NFL Sunday, and Howie Long says that J.J. Watt is the best defensive end in the league, can I believe it? When Howie says that Blake Bortles is a quarterback who plays with a lot of grit, will he really mean it? When Howie predicts Cleveland will beat Baltimore as his “upset pick” of the week, should I risk betting money on it?

This whole thing is pretty upsetting. I can only conclude that Howie is a flip-flopper, a girly-man, a liar, or some combination of all three. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I now find Jon Cryer a more believable (and manlier) Chevy endorser than Howie Long.