Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Every Subculture Needs a Place to Meet

I've been a fan of NFL Films for more than 20 years. I remember the thrill I felt early in 1984, when ESPN (there was only one then, kids) aired "Lombardi," the 1968 biography of the coach that pre-empted "The Ed Sullivan Show" when it was shown on Sept. 15, 1968, the first day of the '68 NFL season. It was my first time seeing it.

Being a Packers fan stuck, at that moment, in the long stretch of mediocrity (at best) between Lombardi and Holmgren, I was agog: "Look at that great footage!" I think I knew the name of John Facenda at that point; I didn't know that he was stricken with the cancer that would take his life a few months later. (The Super Bowl XVIII highlight film was his last, Steve Sabol said in a tribute piece.) But I had a sneaking suspicion that it was between him and James Earl Jones as the Voice of God.

Were you like me? Did you scan the (printed) TV listings to see when ESPN would show "NFL's Greatest Moments"? Did you look forward to August because you knew it meant the team highlight films from the previous season would be shown daily? If so, you've come to the right place.

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