Tag Archives: NFL Films

The Sounds of NFL Films on the Seahawks at the Falcons

I subscribed recently to NFL Films’ YT channel — I know, what took so long.  After watching a number of their highlight films over the years, I wonder on occasion whether or not NFL Films would be the ideal “nature filmmakers” of people.  Their narrator’s voice is perfect for it.

Stay until the end to see Arthur Blank do a little dance in the locker room.

“Play hard, but stay poised.” – Matt Ryan

Football and MMA aren’t forms of art?

The Golden Globe Awards were last night and if you’ve launched any social media or culture outlet today you probably know about Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.  She spoke on the geographically diverse talent pool in Hollywood and that if they were kicked out, “…we’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Sure, athletic competition is certainly not a fine (high) art form (painting, pottery, sculpting, architecture, music, opera, theatre, poetry).  The activity itself, though, is a performing art as much as dance.  Moreover, as televised football and mixed martial arts are very much part of the visual arts (photography, film, video, digital media), I argue that the representation of these athletic experiences, especially with an audience, is artful in their own voyeuristic physics-at-work ways.  Sanctioned body trauma and sometimes in slow motion. Sweat ricochets, inertia observed, crash-test dummy whooshes, and it is a wonder why some of us like to watch adults inflict physical pain onto each other for entertainment.*


And now for some other performing arts that is just as athletic but without all the violence.


*Of course, NFL Films changed profoundly how we think about football game play vis-a-vis how we see it.

NFL Films: J’aime beaucoup le Skycam

I recently got my hands on two wonderful boxsets from NFL Films:

Click here for another view


5 of the Minnesota Vikings’ greatest games

and 10 of the Philadelphia Eagles’ greatest games.


Each disc contained in these boxsets is an entire broadcast game, spanning at least two decades.  I watched about an hour’s worth of the Eagles’ games.  Specifically:

NFC Championship Eagles vs. Cowboys January 11, 1981 (18 days before my last non-breath in utero).

Eagles vs. Redskins November 12, 1990 (a  Monday Night Football game and originally televised on ABC).

NFC Championship Eagles vs. Falcons January 23, 2005 (6 days before my twenty-fourth birthday).

I shall return with more in-depth thoughts after I’ve watched some of the Vikings games as well, but I’d like to mention now that the NFC Championship of the 2004-2005 season occurred one year before I started watching televised football.  In just comparing and contrasting the aesthetics (screen graphics) from the early 80s to the early 90s and to the 21st century, what a difference the Skycam makes.   Score graphics from yesteryear (before and after the Cold War ended) certainly betray the datedness of the broadcasts, but the introduction of the Skycam added a dynamic visual dimension that I had taken for granted in the few years since I first started watching football on the television (playoffs of 2006).


Click here, here, and here for more pictures of me holding the boxsets.

Sweet Ambrosia, the men in helmets are Coming

That’s right.

Savory nector of the the gods, the pre-season of NFL 2009 is just around the river bend.   The Atlanta Falcons’ first pre-season is in Detroit against the Lions on August 15th at 4pm.  Atlantans can watch the game on NBC (WXIA).  Click here for the rest of the pre and regular season schedule.

What’s the best way to unwind after a long day’s worth of copying-and-pasting text and adjusting image size and brightness/contrast?  Watching NFL Films’ Run for the Championship: 2008 Season in Review!!!

The opening montage includes Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s first official throw as an NFL player (against the Lions)–he produced a sixty-two yard TD pass.   There’s also a shot of a lone player (from the back) walking down the tunnel onto the field.  There are close-ups of players and coaches with their grrr-argh faces as well as Falcons head coach Mike Smith’s yippy! jump down the sidelines.  Right after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis asks his teammates, “Who came to play football today?,” there is a quasi-slow-motion long stho of three Ravens (safety Ed Reed, cornerback Rolle Samari, and Lewis) running screen-left to screen-right, from the twenty-yard line to the end zone.  Two players from the Miami Dolphins (wide receiver Brandon Landon and guard Ndukwe Ikechuku) are chasing them.   During those few seconds, the three Ravens ….. it was like watching mustangs run into the sunset.  Awesome.

As for the rest of the DVD, more or less in order of appearance:

— Tom Brady out after the first game of the season (oh, but look, he’s returned).

— The Lions 0-16.

— The Dolphins and their Wildcat Formation.

Chad Pennington, the Dolphins’ franchise QB.

— The Panthers, running backs DeAngelo Williams and  Jonathan Stewart, and wide recevier Steve Smith.

— The Cardinals, quarterback Kurt Warner and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

— The Chargers, who apparently lost seven games last season, and of those seven, four could’ve been won if the other team didn’t score in the final thirty seconds of the game.

Ed Hochuli’s bad call in the bottom of the game between the San Diego and Denver.

— The Broncos.

John Harbaugh, head coach of the Ravens.   The aforementioned play (with Reed, Samari, and Lewis) was from the AFC Wildcard playoff game against the Dolphins.  Ed Reed intercepted Pennington’s pass at the forty-yard line.  Wow.

–Mike Smith and the Falcons.   Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner.   Falcons @ Cardinals NFC Wildcard.

Peyton Manning.

— The Giants.  Plaxico Burress weapons possession charge.

— The Cowboys and chaos.

— The Eagles.  Quarterback Donovan McNabb was benched in one game, but his team managed to make it all the way to NFC Divisional and won against the Giants.

— The Titans’ quarterback Vince Young hurt his left leg during the season.  Kerry Collins stepped in the role.

— The Steelers.

— The NFC (Cardinals vs. Eagles) and AFC (Steelers vs. Ravens) Championship games–so intense.

Super Bowl XVIII.


Observations & Miscellania:

1. There’s not too much cutting to the crowd.  There isn’t any “interview” footage.  The 2008 Season in Review is comprised of highlights and sounds from the sidelines.   During the Falcons’ moment, there’s about thirty or so seconds of Eagles linebacker Omar Gaither saying to Matt Ryan (probably during commercial break), “Hey, number 2, throw me one.  I got $100 for you.  Throw me one.  You hear me?  $200.” Hilarious.

2.  Approximately seventeen minutes into the DVD, the narrator, Robb Webb, remarks the following: “Football can break your heart.  And the more you love it, the harder you fall.”

3.  As I had observed when I was watching telecasts in grad school, the same running play filmed from the end zone (in high-angle or on-field long shot) compresses the speed at which the player is traveling.  An on-field sideline shot, however, brings out that speed.

4.  The game-winning pass and catch in Super Bowl XLIII — oh my gondola.  That was amazing.

5.  Slow-motion of players colliding is watching a pride of lions hunting.

6.  If you watch a lot of NFL Network or ESPN, then perhaps this DVD wouldn’t seem that mind-blowing.  Alas, NFL Films does it again, for me, at least.  One of the interludes in Chuck Klosterman’s book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is about whether or not you would rather watch a critically acclaimed documentary about your life or a loosely adapted piece of narrative fiction that the public loves.  If I ever get a biopic, I’d want NFL Films to make it.