If you’re one of those football fans who loves the compelling peek behind the scenes NFL Films traditionally provides — and who among us isn’t? — let’s just say this should make up for the absence of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this year.
Especially if you happen to follow the Patriots.
The NFL Network announced yesterday that it will air a two-part documentary series titled “Bill Belichick: A Football Life,” which will premier Thursday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. The second part airs Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. Here is a link provided by the NFL Network to the preview.
In preparation for the documentary, the Patriots coach became the first person ever wired for a full season when NFL Films recorded him during the 2009 season, his 35th on the NFL sidelines and the Patriots’ 50th anniversary season.
Vignettes include game-planning sessions with quarterback Tom Brady, who was returning from a knee injury that cost him virtually the entire 2008 season, Belichick’s last trip to Giants Stadium, and the ultimately disappointing ending, a 33-14 playoff loss to the Ravens. It also includes off-the-field footage, including a visit with Belichick’s mom and scenes from his offseason home in Nantucket. There may or may not be footage of him holding a teddy bear.
While Belichick might seem a surprising subject given his reticence with the media, his cooperation also makes sense on a couple of levels beyond his great stature in the game. For one, since footage is from the 2009 season, there are few secrets to be revealed at this point.
The Patriots coach also is well-known for his deep appreciation for and knowledge of NFL history. NFL Films is not only legendary for the stylish manner in which it documents the sport, but legendary in its own right — founder Ed Sabol was an inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, a long overdue honor. It’s an appropriate marriage of subject and medium.
“Bill Belichick doesn’t only make history – he studies it; he understands his place in it; and he appreciates our desire to capture it,” said NFL Films president Steve Sabol, Ed’s son. “Like Vince Lombardi’s Packers in 1967, Belichick and the Patriots gave us access to his football life and what we created is a portrait of the coach, the father, the taskmaster – and most importantly – the man.”
Belichick will be the first subject of “A Football Life,” a new series by NFL Films that aims to offer “untold stories into the lives of some the NFL’s most recognizable icons.” Other subjects include Walter Payton (greatly looking forward to Jeff Pearlman’s upcoming book on Sweetness), late Philadelphia Eagles teammates and legends Reggie White and Jerome Brown, and Kurt Warner’s rise to one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks.