On Sunday, viewers of the NFL Network’s heaven-sent RedZone Channel (which now includes Time Warner subscribers everywhere) were treated to perhaps the wildest 30 seconds of football you’ll ever see. Thanks to their ability to show multiple games at once, RedZone and uber-host Scott Hansen - employing their “triple box” technology at just the right moment – caught lightning in a bottle as three games were effectively decided at the same time.
During this magical sequence of events, we get to see RGIII run 76 yards for a TD (bottom) to seal the Redskins’ win over the Vikings, immediately followed by Russell Wilson’s 46-yard bomb to Sidney Rice (top-right) to boost Seattle over the Patriots. Then, before you can blink, Jay Feely misses a game-winning 38-yard field goal attempt off the goalpost (top-left), which sent the game into OT where the Cardinals lost to the Bills.
If you don’t get RedZone Channel … now you know. Get on it.
This is hilarious.
Last week, the NFL Network aired the latest in their ongoing series “A Football Life“, entitled “Cleveland ’95“, which looked back at that fateful final season before Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore. It also examines the first head coaching tenure of a young Bill Belicheck, whose effort toward re-building the franchise went for naught, as the very team was yanked out from under them before they really had a chance. It was a rough time for all Browns fans … one that many have yet to fully recover from, and certainly not something they were particularly eager to re-live.
Well our old friend Mike Polk (of “Factory of Sadness” fame) is here to put things into perspective for us, with this brilliant teaser for the sports broadcasting world’s next plan to kick Cleveland fans while they’re down — simply called, “F%&* Cleveland Night”. With “the sole purpose of depressing the s#!t out of America’s longest-suffering sports fans”, this joint-venture of the NFL Network and ESPN promises to bring back all of the worst nightmares from Cleveland sports history … all in glorious HD, and right into your living room.
That’s right. Among other punches to the gut, Browns fans will get “the Decision”, “the Drive”, “the Shot”, and “the Fumble”. All. Night. Long. Oh, and just to ratchet up the sadness factor, the lowlights will be set to the music of Adele.
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Here’s some good news for NFL fans … “A Football Life” – the acclaimed series produced by NFL Films for the NFL Network – is returning for a second season.
Following up on the success of last year’s inside look at the enigmatic Bill Belichick, “A Football Life” will premiere on September 12th, with (what else) a feature on Tim Tebow, and his wild ride through the 2011 season. A week later, we get to go on the field with Ravens LB Ray Lewis, who allowed himself to be mic’d up for every game last season for the production (the first player in NFL history to do so).
In addition to these two episodes, this season promises unprecedented insight into such NFL luminaries as Jimmy Johnson, Barry Sanders, and Steve McNair … as well as some of the more important moments in the history of the league (“The Immaculate Reception” and the 1995 Cleveland Browns).
Watch a sneak preview HERE, and get a complete list of subjects for the upcoming season of “A Football Life” after the jump.
Giants rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich has already defied the odds.
Two years ago, as an All-American at Boston College, Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer – and was told by doctors that he might not ever walk again, let alone play football. Well, after beating the cancer, returning to play his senior season and making it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent with New York, Herzlich continues to prove the doubters wrong. He played in eleven regular season games this year for the Giants, starting two (including a week 11 showdown against the Eagles), and making an immediate contribution on special teams.
But Herzlich’s tweet from today really put things into perspective as to just how far he’s come in so short a period of time:
Even though he hasn’t played since week 12 due to an ankle injury and illness, Herzlich hopes to take the field for the Giants at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday to complete his utter & total domination of cancer. And regardless, if you’re not inspired by Herzlich’s journey thus far, you may have no soul.
Back in September, NFL Network had Steve Mariucci sit down with Herzlich for this excellent in-depth interview:
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The latest episode of NFL Network’s excellent series, A Football Life, focused on the Chicago Bears’ legendary larger-than-life coach and player, Mike Ditka.
As usual, the program gives an in depth look into the Hall of Famer’s life, both on and off the field. From his upbringing in western Pennsylvania to his time as an All-American two-way end at Pitt and becoming a first round draft choice by the Bears. There, Iron Mike revolutionized the Tight End position and came to define toughness and agression from an offensive player in the NFL.
Of course, Ditka went on to coach the Bears for 11 years, winning Super Bowl XX and creating a much larger legend for his his blustery and temperamental persona. His coaching career ended on a less successful note with a 3-year stint with the Saints, where Da Coach looked so constantly stressed out that you genuinely worried he might have a heart attack at any minute.
With NFL Films at the helm, the show provides a multi-dimensional look at one of the more fascinating characters in NFL history. You can watch a bunch of clips here (the “growing up Ditka“ section is particularly worthwhile), but this segment covers a lot of ground on Ditka’s coaching career, including his, shall we say … colorful relationship with both quarterbacks and the media. It also includes a look at this classic furious, pantsless television interview, and starts with Ditka’s now-ubiquitous “Kick Ass” brand, which he shamelessly slaps on everything from red wine to Italian beef :
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Last Sunday’s Bills-Patriots contest proved to be the NFL’s game of the week, as the upstart Bills fought back from an early 21-0 deficit to defeat their AFC East nemesis and improve to 3-0 on the season.
Fortunately for us, the NFL Films crew was on hand, and had a whole array of players and coaches mic’d up for the game to bring us the sights & sounds of the most exciting thing to happen in Buffalo in years. The resulting Sound FX highlights are definitely worth the watch, to see how the Bills were able to keep their heads in the game after falling behind, and snap their 15-game slide to the Pats.
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Episode 3 of NFL Films’ extraordinary new series, A Football Life, premieres Thursday on the NFL Network, and this week it chronicles the bond between two of the most ferocious defenders to ever play in the NFL, Reggie White and Jerome Brown. The two Eagles defensive linemen were about as diametrically opposed personalities as you could find – Steve Sabol calls them “football’s version of the Odd Couple” – but shared an unbreakable bond on the field during the five seasons they played together in Philadelphia.
A Football Life takes a close look at that period, leading up to Brown’s untimely death in a car accident in 1992, and examines the lasting impact both men had both on and off the field. And after seeing how awesome the first two episodes of this series were, you can be sure we’ll be setting the DVR to record them all.
WATCH THE TRAILER AFTER THE JUMP
Part 2 of A Football Life aired on NFL Network last night (read our review of Part 1 HERE), and while there was plenty more insight provided into the world of Bill Belichick, the runaway highlight from the show came during the Patriot’s 2009 week 8 bye. Former pats WR Randy Moss organized a Halloween party for the players & coaches, and sat down with the Hoodie to see if the coaches would be interested in joining. Belichick slowly warms to the idea, eventually saying “it’s a great holiday! Candy and costumes … how can you beat that?!?”
That scene is followed by footage of Belichick arriving at the roller rink dressed as a pirate, with his girlfriend playing the part of wench, where he’s greeted by Moss as Spongebob Squarepants and other players who are just thrilled to see Bill let his hair down a bit. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Belichick laces up the skates and takes to the rink to get his pirate roller boogie on … yaaaarrrrr:
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Read our recap of Part 2 HERE
We, along with the rest of the sports-geek community, have been anxiously awaiting the premier of NFL Network’s new special, Bill Belichick: A Football Life. We’re big fans of all these mic’d up segments, and can’t get enough of the insight the NFL Films crew provides into the game we love so much. But after watching part 1, which aired Thursday night, let’s just say we’ve got mixed feelings.
Back in 2009, Belichick agreed to be the first person to be wired for sound by NFL Films for an entire year, promising an unprecedented look at the enigmatic coach’s life inside and outside the game. And while it’s certainly fascinating to hear Belichick do what he does best – like game-planning with Tom Brady for the Baltimore Ravens and Ed Reed, and working with his players and coaches – ultimately, Belichick is a guy who doesn’t talk very much … which doesn’t make for the most exciting television in the world. Even when relaxing on a boat, in the glimpses we get at his relationship with his son, and when he’s trying to relate with his players and be funny, Belichick is about as dry a character as they come. In fact, Deadspin has a hilarious “highlights” reel from the show, jam-packed with all the moments showing The Hoodie at his most grumbly. I mean, let’s face it, Rex Ryan, he ain’t.
But even still, Belichick is an unqualified football genius, and there is plenty here for Patriots fans and football nerds to geek out over. The trailer (below) gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect, and here’s list of standout moments from the program, with a couple of clips to whet your appetite. Even if the personalities might not be as dynamic as we might like, we’ll definitely be setting the DVR to record Part 2:
- The most notable highlight is when Belichick strolls through the bowels of Giants Stadium and gets teary-eyed (VIDEO BELOW) while reminiscing about his time spent there cutting his teeth as a defensive coach under Bill Parcells. It’s by far the most human we’ve ever seen the guy.
- Getting into some smack talk with Ravens WR Derrick Mason, in which he tells him to “Shut the f*ck up” and “Look at the scoreboard” (VIDEO BELOW)
- Joking with Chad Ochocino, then with the Bengals,telling him he might as well take the night off because the Pats were going to double-team him.
- Before the Denver game, Belichick shared a handshake with his former pupil Josh McDaniels, during which they agreed to just wave after the game.
- The aforementioned game-planning for the Ravens, and Belichick telling Ed Reed before the game that he’s the best free safety he has ever seen.
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As you may have noticed, we here at R&R have been feeling a bit disenchanted with the ol’ NFL these days, what with the lockout and ongoing labor discussions hanging over the game like a black cloud of death. I mean, it’s pretty tough to get excited about the off-season activities of your favorite team (let alone muster a blog post about it) when you have no assurances that there’s even going to be a season next season.
But fortunately, the NFL Draft is upon us to return a sense of normalcy to our lives! Beginning this Thursday night, we can forget about all the extra-curricular nonsense and get back to talking football. Once again, we can take refuge in the league’s greatest annual event, where fans of even the worst teams come away with a feeling of hope for the future. A place where we await war room updates from Ed Werder with baited breath, and find comfort in the cocksure smirk of Mel Kiper and the sweaty mess that has become Chris Berman. Although apparently, ESPN has removed Tom Jackson, Steve Young and Keyshawn Johnson from this year’s draft coverage team, which might actually mean someone will get a word in edgewise this year. Either way, we’ve been partial to NFL Network’s draft coverage in recent years, so we’ll probably be switching back and forth.
And I don’t know about you, but it just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart to know that I’ll be seeing this at some point this weekend: