My Twitter friend @cherylmil24 tweeted this earlier in the month. And I have to admit, for the most part, I agree with her. A documentary series produced by NFL films, A Football Life is surprisingly moving and often about much more than just football.
In its second year on the NFL Network, A Football Life spends an hour delving into the life of one person (or persons) well-known in the professional football community. While you might expect a program full of spectacular highlights and stats, and there is some of that, instead what you get is a well-rounded look at the highs and lows of professional sports. The tragic lows.
The 2012 season has revisited the tragic death of Pro Bowl quarterback Steve McNair. Murdered by his mistress, several years later his family and friends are still reeling from the violence. And asking a lot of questions.
Questions abound in the portrait of Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. as well. DeBartolo, the San Francisco 49ers’ owner who led his franchise to five Super Bowl championships, still questions why he got snookered into a shady, felonious deal involving gambling in Louisiana. A guilty plea in court led to a one year suspension by the league and DeBartolo has not returned to the NFL.
My favorite episode of the season, though, has been less about tragedy and more about inspiration. “The Faces of Tebow” profiled the life and play of the New York Jets’ quarterback Tim Tebow through the eyes of five former NFL play callers, including Joe Namath who discussed his fame, and Steve Young dissected his football techniques. My favorite contributor, Roger Staubach, examined Tebow’s faith.
This Emmy winning program is appointment television. But @cherylmil24 and I both recommend you bring Kleenex to the appointment.