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America's Game: The Missing Rings


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#1 26554

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 11:37 PM

Glad to see Sabol was able to get this green-lighted given the recent news of cutbacks at NFL Films:

NFL Network and NFL Films win three sports Emmys.


After doing a Google search, I was able to turn up some more info on the series:


"Steve Sabol was on NFL Radio last week, and he spoke about the America's Game series.

For the 2007 Giants, the subjects will be Coughlin, Manning and Strahan. Sabol said they'd already had all three of them in the studio and conducted three hour interviews with each, and he said Coughlin was great. Sabol also added that the Giants video crew records all of Coughlin's night before the game speeches and said the Giants made that footage available to NFL Films and will be included.

Sabol also spoke a little about the Missing Ring series. It will be focused on franchises that have never won a Super Bowl (so no 2007 Pats). He said the first ones will likely be the 90's Bills, '88 Bengals and '69 Vikings."

America's Game

#2 26554

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 01:18 AM

Glad to see Sabol was able to get this green-lighted given the recent news of cutbacks at NFL Films:

NFL Network and NFL Films win three sports Emmys.


After doing a Google search, I was able to turn up some more info on the series:


"Steve Sabol was on NFL Radio last week, and he spoke about the America's Game series.

For the 2007 Giants, the subjects will be Coughlin, Manning and Strahan. Sabol said they'd already had all three of them in the studio and conducted three hour interviews with each, and he said Coughlin was great. Sabol also added that the Giants video crew records all of Coughlin's night before the game speeches and said the Giants made that footage available to NFL Films and will be included.

Sabol also spoke a little about the Missing Ring series. It will be focused on franchises that have never won a Super Bowl (so no 2007 Pats). He said the first ones will likely be the 90's Bills, '88 Bengals and '69 Vikings."

America's Game



Here's an NFL Films-related article from yesterday's Houston Chronicle that talks more about 'Missing Rings' and other projects that Sabol and co. have in the works (nice to see they're working on a 'Greatest Games' episode on the "Sea of Hands" game). Overall, it paints a little more optimistic picture for the future of NFL Films given all the uncertainty of a months ago.

Sabol-led NFL Films still going strong after many years

#3 Rupert Patrick

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:06 AM

Here's an NFL Films-related article from yesterday's Houston Chronicle that talks more about 'Missing Rings' and other projects that Sabol and co. have in the works (nice to see they're working on a 'Greatest Games' episode on the "Sea of Hands" game). Overall, it paints a little more optimistic picture for the future of NFL Films given all the uncertainty of a months ago.

Sabol-led NFL Films still going strong after many years



I was worried that they would no longer produce their weekly highlights for Inside the NFL, but I read recently that Showtime has picked up Inside the NFL for this coming season, but I didn't hear who would be hosting it. I hope they continue producing their 30 minute team highlight films; those are a terrific time capsule for each season.

#4 JohnH19

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 11:10 AM

Good article. The NFL Network is struggling and it's being run by people from ESPN and The Best Damn Sports Show. I wonder if that's just a coincidence. Does it take a genius to figure it out?

Those Missing Rings shows are sure to be terrific even though I'll be crying in my beer...hmmm, better make that scotch...watching the Vikings episodes. The Bills and Chargers will also be excellent. I'm not excited about the '88 Bengals program, though. I know they're going with franchises that have never won the Bowl but maybe the Meredith led 1966-68 Cowboys or the Lamonica era Raiders would have been a better choice? Those were great teams for an extended period that never got it done. The Bengals were too much of a one hit wonder.

#5 Citizen

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

I hope everything in the article is true, but it has the look of a junket piece. Why else would the Houston Chronicle send a reporter to New Jersey to write about NFL Films?

It makes me wonder if Films sent out the call to metro dailies looking for a place to put an "everything's OK" article, and the Houston paper was the first one to take them up on it.

#6 Bob Gill

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

>Those Missing Rings shows are sure to be terrific even though I'll be crying in my beer...hmmm, better make that scotch...watching the Vikings episodes. The Bills and Chargers will also be excellent. I'm not excited about the '88 Bengals program, though. I know they're going with franchises that have never won the Bowl but maybe the Meredith led 1966-8 Cowboys or the Lamonica era Raiders would have been a better choice? Those were great teams for an extended period that never got it done. The Bengals were too much of a one hit wonder.


That's a good point. I hadn't thought of that, but I agree completely. The real story should involve very strong teams that had a window of a few years but didn't quite get over the hump. The Browns of the late '80s would make another good one, even though they never even reached the Super Bowl. Going further back, to just before the Super Bowl began, the Giants of 1961-63 would make a good subject too.

#7 Rupert Patrick

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 12:55 PM

>Those Missing Rings shows are sure to be terrific even though I'll be crying in my beer...hmmm, better make that scotch...watching the Vikings episodes. The Bills and Chargers will also be excellent. I'm not excited about the '88 Bengals program, though. I know they're going with franchises that have never won the Bowl but maybe the Meredith led 1966-8 Cowboys or the Lamonica era Raiders would have been a better choice? Those were great teams for an extended period that never got it done. The Bengals were too much of a one hit wonder.


That's a good point. I hadn't thought of that, but I agree completely. The real story should involve very strong teams that had a window of a few years but didn't quite get over the hump. The Browns of the late '80s would make another good one, even though they never even reached the Super Bowl. Going further back, to just before the Super Bowl began, the Giants of 1961-63 would make a good subject too.


I would also think the 70's Rams would be a good subject. Another would be the post-Staubach Cowboys, who lost NFC Championship games from 1980-82

#8 BD Sullivan

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 02:11 PM

... but I read recently that Showtime has picked up Inside the NFL for this coming season, but I didn't hear who would be hosting it.


Nobody yet, but it's supposed to be announced this month. Here's an article that notes the probable use of CBS talent and why (they own Showtime):

http://tvseriesfinal...anges-expected/

#9 JohnH19

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 02:20 PM

All of the teams suggested would be good choices. I might also add the George Allen coached Rams and Redskins. Stories about George are always entertaining. They could easily do one show on each even though several players played on both teams.

The 1973-76 Vikings would also qualify even though the team was much the same as the 1969 squad. I would like to hear Fran Tarkenton's views on the three Super Bowl disasters, not to mention the Hail Mary Game where the offense didn't do much of anything until they drove for the go-ahead TD.

#10 26554

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:43 PM

IIRC from some of the interviews he did during the run up to the debut of "America's Game", Sabol talked then about wanting to do shows on all the Super Bowl losing teams. My guess is that the league didn't agree with that idea (probably because they didn't see it making enough $) and the compromise to get the series green lighted was that Sabol and co. could only do shows on franchises that have never had a Super Bowl. Hopefully , the series will be successful enough that additional episodes will be produced. I too would like to them do an episode on one of the Tarkenton/Chuck Foreman-era Viking SB teams. I'm also surprised that they didn't pick one of the two Eagles SB teams for one of the initial batch of episodes. While it's too soon to do one on the '04 Eagles, I think the 1980 team would make for an interesting episode subject. How about one of the "Luv Ya Blue"-era Oiler teams, since they're including teams that didn't make it to the SB? My pick would be the '79 team.

#11 Rupert Patrick

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 09:59 PM

IIRC from some of the interviews he did during the run up to the debut of "America's Game", Sabol talked then about wanting to do shows on all the Super Bowl losing teams. My guess is that the league didn't agree with that idea (probably because they didn't see it making enough $) and the compromise to get the series green lighted was that Sabol and co. could only do shows on franchises that have never had a Super Bowl. Hopefully , the series will be successful enough that additional episodes will be produced. I too would like to them do an episode on one of the Tarkenton/Chuck Foreman-era Viking SB teams. I'm also surprised that they didn't pick one of the two Eagles SB teams for one of the initial batch of episodes. While it's too soon to do one on the '04 Eagles, I think the 1980 team would make for an interesting episode subject. How about one of the "Luv Ya Blue"-era Oiler teams, since they're including teams that didn't make it to the SB? My pick would be the '79 team.


I would guess the 2004 Eagles may be a little too modern, since they could still win a SB, but they lost three straight Championship games before losing the Super Bowl, so I think they would qualify.

#12 26554

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 10:06 PM

I would guess the 2004 Eagles may be a little too modern, since they could still win a SB, but they lost three straight Championship games before losing the Super Bowl, so I think they would qualify.


Yeah, my reasoning is that they can't/won't do one on them while McNabb and Reid are still there.

#13 Steviek

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 10:43 PM

Good article. The NFL Network is struggling and it's being run by people from ESPN and The Best Damn Sports Show. I wonder if that's just a coincidence. Does it take a genius to figure it out?


I just can't resist the chance to say "ESPN Sucks!". Long live NFL Films and the Sabols.

#14 Rupert Patrick

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Posted 04 July 2008 - 12:06 AM

I just can't resist the chance to say "ESPN Sucks!". Long live NFL Films and the Sabols.


I like ESPN, except for what they have done to ESPN Classic, and for hiring Stuart Scott, and for taking Chris Berman and Tom Jackson off the NFL Primetime show, and for Around The Horn.

#15 Mark

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 12:06 PM

[quote name='JohnH19' date='Jul 3 2008, 12:10 PM' post='3402']
Good article. The NFL Network is struggling and it's being run by people from ESPN and The Best Damn Sports Show. I wonder if that's just a coincidence. Does it take a genius to figure it out?


I'd be curious as to what goes into the decisions on what programming to use. The NFL network has tons of old NFL Films to use but they show they same thing over and over and over again. Does a 100th repeat of the highlights of SB IX get higher ratings than a 1st or 2nd showing of an old This Week in Pro Football would? I'd love to have a chat with their head of programming.

I have Comcast and they have NFL Network OnDemand and it has some old NFL Films. However they keep putting the same ones on there over and over. I know they have a limited amount of space to work with so I understand why they'll show only a limited number at any time, however when the time for one has expired they replace it with one they've already shown. They keep recycling the same 10 or so NFL Films. I'm sure there is a story behind why that is.

#16 BD Sullivan

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 02:03 PM

I was worried that they would no longer produce their weekly highlights for Inside the NFL, but I read recently that Showtime has picked up Inside the NFL for this coming season, but I didn't hear who would be hosting it. I hope they continue producing their 30 minute team highlight films; those are a terrific time capsule for each season.


According to Monday's USA Today, James Brown will be the host of Showtime's version of "Inside the NFL." Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth will also be on, with another "recently retired" (but as yet unnamed) player still to be added. As mentioned in an earlier post, the fact that CBS owns Showtime is obviously the reason for the selections, although the producer stated that Collinsworth will be on to "continue with the tradition of the show."

#17 Rupert Patrick

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 06:50 PM

According to Monday's USA Today, James Brown will be the host of Showtime's version of "Inside the NFL." Phil Simms and Cris Collinsworth will also be on, with another "recently retired" (but as yet unnamed) player still to be added. As mentioned in an earlier post, the fact that CBS owns Showtime is obviously the reason for the selections, although the producer stated that Collinsworth will be on to "continue with the tradition of the show."


In other words, Collinsworth will be kept on for one season then dumped, because he works for a competitor network to CBS. I wonder who the recently retired player will be; I doubt they will be able to lure either Strahan or Favre, but it might be somebody like Curtis Martin or Marshall Faulk.

#18 3243

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 04:35 PM

Here are some suggestions for "The Missing Rings" for each season during the Super Bowl era (in which are interspersed the actual upcoming episodes):

1966 Kansas City
1967 Dallas
1968 Baltimore
1969 Minnesota
1970 Oakland
1971 San Francisco
1972 Washington
1973 Cincinnati
1974 Oakland
1975 Minnesota
1976 New England
1977 Denver
1978 Houston
1979 Los Angeles
1980 Philadelphia
1981 San Diego
1982 New York Jets
1983 Pittsburgh
1984 Miami
1985 Los Angeles Rams
1986 Chicago
1987 Cleveland
1988 Cincinnati
1989 Denver
1990 Buffalo
1991 Philadelphia
1992 Houston
1993 Kansas City
1994 San Diego
1995 Pittsburgh
1996 Jacksonville
1997 Green Bay
1998 Minnesota
1999 Tennessee
2000 Tampa Bay
2001 Oakland
2002 Philadelphia
2003 Carolina
2004 Atlanta
2005 Indiannapolis
2006 San Diego
2007 New England

#19 JohnH19

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:42 PM

After hearing the Colts briefly speak about the Super Bowl III loss to the Jets on the SB V program, I don't think they could bring themselves to talk about it at any great length. Mad Dog Curtis is still devastated by that game and Bubba Smith was almost in tears when he spoke about it. The ugly win over Dallas two years later did little or nothing to ease the pain of that loss.

#20 3243

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 02:00 PM

After hearing the Colts briefly speak about the Super Bowl III loss to the Jets on the SB V program, I don't think they could bring themselves to talk about it at any great length. Mad Dog Curtis is still devastated by that game and Bubba Smith was almost in tears when he spoke about it. The ugly win over Dallas two years later did little or nothing to ease the pain of that loss.



Well then, how about the '68 Rams? They were a great team (w/ Roman Gabriel, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Tom Mack, Myron Pottios, Irv Cross, and Jack Pardee) who were bedeviled by that missing-down call in their late-season home game against Chicago that ended any hope they had of usurping the Coastal Division title from Baltimore in the next (and last) game of the regular season. Had the Rams beaten the Bears and Colts in those final two weeks, they would have finished 12-1-1 and the Colts would have finished 12-2, and Baltimore would have had to deal with having their division title snatched out from under them by Los Angeles for the second year in a row.