Gifford, Berry, Strahan, Vinatieri and Others Talk 1958 Game; Brooklyn Basketball Team Revived
ESPN Inc.’s ESPN Films division will continue its ambitious production of high quality, sports-themed films in December 2008 with two documentaries: The Greatest Game Ever Played, an innovative special presentation of the 1958 game played between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants at Yankee Stadium for the NFL championship, and A Woman Among Boys, a compelling film chronicling the experiences of Ruth Lovelace, the first female coach of the boys basketball team at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, New York. The Greatest Game Ever Played will be televised Saturday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, immediately following the Heisman Trophy presentation. Eight days later, A Woman Among Boys will debut (Sunday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m.) on ESPN2. By year end, ESPN and ESPN2 will have aired nine ESPN Films documentaries.
1958 to 2008
Hosted by Chris Berman, The Greatest Game Ever Played explores the most important game in NFL history to commemorate its 50th anniversary. ESPN Films has created an unprecedented look at this landmark event, which featured 17 Hall of Famers and the only NFL championship to be decided in overtime. The presentation will include new colorization/restoration technology and previously unseen footage of the game.
Additionally, to give viewers perspective about the impact of the 1958 NFL Championship Game on players then and now, ESPN Films brought together 11 surviving members of the legendary game and their modern day NFL counterparts from the past two Super Bowl champion teams – the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants. Pairings include Baltimore Colts star receiver Raymond Berry with current Colts head coach Tony Dungy; former Giants kicker Pat Summerall with current Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri; Giants running back Frank Gifford and Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti with current Giants head coach Tom Coughlin; Colts great Lenny Moore with current Giants running back Brandon Jacobs; former Giants linemen Al Barry and Rosie Grier with current Giants lineman Chris Snee; and former Colts star Art Donovan with newly retired Giants star Michael Strahan, among others. Some sample quotes:
Donovan and Strahan:
Strahan: “I’m so lucky I didn’t play back then, oh my goodness.” Donovan: “You would have loved it!”
Grier to Snee on gameday preparations:
“I think my gameday was like me going to the bathroom and throwing up.”
Gifford on the 1958 game’s importance: “The guys who played in that game had no idea that game was going to impact their entire lives… it’s grown almost in a mythological way.”
To view trailer click on: The Greatest Game Ever Played
Against the Odds
A Woman Among Boys, directed and produced by award-winning filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill, is an inside look at a season led by the only woman coaching a boys’ team in New York City’s toughest basketball division and in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The once highly accomplished and storied program had fallen on hard times before Ruth “Coach Love” Lovelace, who attended the high school and was teaching Phys Ed at the time, was named coach in 1994 at the age of 24. She’s faced unique challenges and has seen players on her teams work to overcome significant obstacles both on and off the court, and in the process has rebuilt Boys High into a powerhouse – with playoff appearances in every year of her tenure.
Coach Love said, “As a female you can command respect from young men. You can get them to play well and get more academically.”
For images click on: A Woman Among Boys
ESPN Films Documentaries
ESPN Films’ documentary division includes production of up to 10 branded films on ESPN and ESPN2 each year as well as the upcoming the “30 for 30” initiative. In January 2008, ESPN announced the acquisition of the Sundance selection Kicking It, and then launched its spring slate of documentaries two months later which included the critically acclaimed two-part, four-hour film event Black Magic (Dan Klores) and ESPN2’s four April – May films: Hellfighters (Jon Frankel), The Streak (Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos and Jon Hock), Bud Greenspan: At the Heart of the Games (Cappy Productions) and the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival selection, The Zen of Bobby V (Andrew Jenks, Jonah Quickmire Pettigrew and Andrew Moscato).