In the lead up to this weekend’s Super Bowl, the National Football League and Lowe’s announced last week that the blue brand is now the Official Home Improvement Retailer of the NFL. Financial details of the deal weren’t announced, but one suspects the timing of the announcement wasn’t a coincidence given Sunday’s game takes place in Home Depot’s hometown of Atlanta.

The announcement also sends a message to consumers, competitors and investors. The narrative for the first six months of Marvin Ellison’s tenure has largely focused on the tough yet necessary decisions that have been made to improve Lowe’s competitive position and return to shareholders – decisions that have led to store closings, the shuttering of Orchard Supply Hardware and an exit from Mexico. The move to partner with the NFL, though, is a clear reminder that big things and positive changes are still on tap for the next chapter in Lowe’s story.

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