NFL Films Is Taking Shots

If true, this is really depressing. On the bright side, however, it'll hopefully mean more "Put Up Your Dukes."

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46 comments, Last at 03 Apr 2008, 4:18pm

1 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I think the NFL has woefully underutilized the DVD market. Everything NFL Films has every produced should be for sale from an online store. At the very least they should do a Disney style "open up the vault very ten years" type thing.

Also, I would think that the NFL is more or less insulated from recessions. I could be horribly wrong on that though.

2 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I never really understood how an all-football channel could be profitable year-round. We already have 2 ESPNs, Fox Sports, and other local networks that cover football enough. I never watch NFL except for when they have real games on Thursday nights (not every week though), and Thursday games can mess up a team's practice and rest schedule. Really, is there any reason to watch it in mid-June?

3 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I watch a ton of NFLN year-round. they show old games (original broadcasts!) in the offseason, which is good enough to sate me when i'm jonesing for football.

4 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Why can't I buy a DVD of my favorite team's completel last season? Why can't I buy memorable past seasons? Why? Why? Why? I have money! I will spend it on your fine product and the physical DVD is essentially free to you! My money along with everybody else's will support those 21 positions plus a huge raise for the execs! Damn you, NFL scrooges!

5 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I wasn't born until 1980.

I'd love to watch my Broncos play 1977 again.

I was too young to be able to understand what was going on in the Broncos Superbowl seasons of the 80's. I'd love to be able to watch Elways lead the Broncos to some Superbowls during that era, too.

I've always wanted that. Ooh, and I think that the way that games are shot where we can only watch the QB and lines without seeing the routes that recievers run is outdated. It made sense in the lodef era with black and white televisions 13 inches in diameter of the sixties and seventies, but we'd be better served to expand the view for the first 30 yards nowadays.

6 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I have NEVER understood the inability of the NFL (and MLB and...) to properly merchandise their video assets.

I totally agree with Penrose above. I should be able to buy, if nothing else, memorable seasons and the associated playoff games. How many sets of the 85 Bears would sell? Oodles.

And we don't want just highlights. We want *games*. Seriously, I would lay out some real coin for some of this stuff, and DVDs are so cheap to produce that you don't have to sell many before you hit the break-even point.

Oh, and most of the programming on NFLN is worthless. Rich Eisen should be told that his career is in serious trouble. Other than games and, occasionally, reruns of games, I've yet to see a single thing on the NFLN that merits watching.

Then again, I keep getting chances under center, so I guess there's just no figuring things.

7 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

This is just sad. Instant replay highlights instead of the art that NFL Films was?

And they underperform hugely and still give them greenlight to gut what had been working for decades?

8 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Many feel the "America's Game" series, which aired on the NFL Network, may be one of the best things NFL Films ever has done. But when Steve Sabol approached NFL Network executives recently about doing another "America's Game" project, sources said he was rebuffed. The explanation: We don't have the money for it right now.

This is the rough equivalent of HBO refusing David Chase's next series because they've turned the network's programming over to the guy who created "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels". The Sabols are as responsible as anyone or anything for what the NFL has become -- as much as Pete Rozelle, the AFL-NFL merger, and the salary cap.

Simply inexcusable. I've been an NFL Films junkie as long as I can remember, and this was painful to read.

10 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Anyone know why complete game video of the Superbowls isn't available. Yes, I realize copyright has to be worked out with the original broadcasting network to be able to use the broadcast, but you have to believe that a boxed set of the original game broadcasts of all the Superbowls would sell like hotcakes and make a bundle for the NFL and the networks.

11 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Though perhaps the ice is breaking, given the existence of that 1985 Chicago Bears set, which claims to include full game broadcasts of 12 games from the season.

12 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

and here is full peom. you recite this to rouselef before you go to bed tonight and thank NFl Films

too bad stuff like this is not going to happen anymor


The Autumn wind is a pirate
Blustering in from sea
With a rollicking song he sweeps along
Swaggering boisterously

His face is weather beaten
He wears a hooded sash

With his silver hat about his head
And a bristly black moustache

He growls as he storms the country
A villain big and bold

And the trees all shake and quiver and quake
As he robs them of their gold

The Autumn wind is a Raider
Pillaging just for fun

He'll knock you 'round and upside down
And laugh when he's conquered and won

13 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I've been trying to buy a copy of SB IV on DVD for some time. What I currently have is a DVD copy of a bootleg filmed from a Canadian (CBC) broadcast of the game. This is ridiculous and an example of the NFL failing to selll things that people will pay for.

"People who are football addicts will love the NFL Network."

Right now, this certainly is not the case. I almost never watch NFLN unless a game is on. They do not cater to the addict, they are trying to cater to a mass market. I consider myself an addict. One or more times a day I check the following websites:
p-f-r blog
KC Star Chiefs page
A subscription fantasy site
My dynasty fantasy league site

If NFLN can't get me to tune in, who is it targeting?

15 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

As a NFL junkie, I agree with #4 and others. Although I prob. wouldn't spend as much as others, as I am a Saints fan. However, I would like the tape from the Saints first playoff win over the Rams in Jan. '01, esp. for Jim Henderson's famous "Hakim dropped the ball!!!" quote.

Re: the end of post 13, I too visit this site, pfr's blog, and the Saints forum daily (or almost). Not to mention,, and, and others looking for football commentary. Yet I would never pay for NFL network. They are shooting themselves in the foot--and if they don't watch it, the whole lower leg will need to be amputated. They already cut off a couple of toes.

16 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Not enough new content on NFL network to have to pay for it, and certainly not at the high rates they want. The NFL has yet to learn its lesson: accessibility and lower price means a larger audience. Its the same BS direcTV deal al over again.

I like the NFL Films stuff, but honestly, I want it to move faster. I devote Sundays and Monday nights and I want to see the game played, not talked to death with some highlights and slo-mo shots. There has to be a happy middle ground somewhere.

17 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

damn, I would be away on a trip when they hold the NFL meetings in my back yard. This would be worth picketing over (though I doubt the Breakers would allow that sort of thing)..

18 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Well, we're all preaching to the choir here, but I'll add my voice: If the NFL doesn't realize what NFL Films has done for them (and will continue to do if allowed), they're nuts.

19 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I haven't seen much NFL Films output, but we did get "Americas Game" recently in the UK, and, if it became available, I'd buy it like a shot.

If the NFLN/NFL Films are short of the ready, selling some of their more memorable work should remedy that in short order. Like everyone else, I can't see what the NFL are up to.

20 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Maybe the NFL doesn't want much of that old footage to be distributed as much as we do because the size of the players (especially linemen) have changed so much recently that suspicions might be raised as to why. Just looking at line play from, say 1991 or especially the 70s and 80s, there's a pronounced, inescapable difference.

21 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Why can’t I buy a DVD of my favorite team’s completel last season? Why can’t I buy memorable past seasons? Why? Why? Why? I have money! I will spend it on your fine product and the physical DVD is essentially free to you! My money along with everybody else’s will support those 21 positions plus a huge raise for the execs! Damn you, NFL scrooges!

I've been dying for that, too. I wanna see every Bucs game since '96 so I can see the turnaround and watch guys like Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber develop into the players I think of them as. It'll never happen because you they're not just gonna make 1 dvd, they have to make them in bulk. There's just not enough demand for that during non-Super Bowl years. You'd probably be lucky to sell like 10 sets. Still, they could at least do it for the Super Bowl winners.

Anyone know why complete game video of the Superbowls isn’t available.

I have the complete game of Super Bowl XXXVII (Bucs v. Raiders) on dvd. Whenever a team wins the Super Bowl, they usually put out a video showing highlights of every game, with the complete re-airing of the Super Bowl in the special features. I know you're looking for a set that inlcudes all the Super Bowls, and I wouldn't be surprised if they release that eventually. But if you just want to see complete re-airs of your team, just buy the team dvd. I think mine was only like $12. Just be sure to read the back to make sure it includes the complete game and not just the highlights. Link in my name to an Amazon page if you're interested, but you should check your local video store first so you can read the box.

23 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Every time my TiVO picks up the "Lost Treasures" series I think to myself how awesome NFLN would be if they'd just play old NFL Films content -- not Football Follies, though ... Imagine not just hearing about how groundbreaking "They Call It Pro Football" was, but actually -- and this is a shocking concept -- seeing the whole film.

Amazing how poorly the NFL has handled this network.

24 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

The former head of ESPN is a short-sighted halfwit with no respect for history, quality or the intelligence of his audience? I have to re-order my entire mental universe in light of this stunning new information.

25 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

you recite this to rouselef before you go to bed tonight and thank NFl Films,

Who is "rouselef"?
I have already thanked NFL Films. I have bought the entire America's Game set and Inside the Vault: Volumes 1-3. In addition to those DVD sets, I bought many of their VHS tapes in the 1980s and 1990s.

It will be very sad if they don't put much new stuff out on the market. Their heyday has passed, though. Their best work came from 1968 to 1984.

26 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

i missed half of the colts-patriots afc title game from 2007. i caught the first half and then from addai's touchdown on. i'd pay for a dubbed tape of the second half, just to see how they did it. i'd pay even more for a dvd of the game, or the entire season.

and i've always wanted to see johnny u in action.

27 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Re: #21, #22

That DVD does not have a complete re-air.

Does the XXXVII DVD have a real re-air (i.e. CBS/ABC/FOX), or is it just the international feed with the hideous Dick Stockton/Moose Johnson team?

28 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Re: #23

Yeah -- "Lost Treasures" is awesome.

And you're absolutely right -- why isn't everything (especially the hour-long shows/features) that NFL Films has ever done been put on DVD and made available for sale?

29 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

25, I think Rouselef is the evil man who is taking away our NFL films, and that Raiderjoe is hoping that by reciting poetry to him, we may thaw his icy heart, and avert disaster. I'm going to be blaming Rouselef for lots of things for a while, I think.

30 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Maybe the NFL doesn’t want much of that old footage to be distributed as much as we do because the size of the players (especially linemen) have changed so much recently that suspicions might be raised as to why.

I think that everyone knows that steroids are an issue for the NFL. I don't think anyone looks at how big NFL players are now and thinks, "Yeah, I see guys that big and strong at the supermarket all the time, that's totally normal. I have absolutely no suspicions that some of them might be using steroids to get that way."

Also, some of the size difference is just that the population is much higher now than it was in the 1970s. In 1970, the US population was about 200 million people. Now, it's about 300 million. So, even without any steriods, you'd expect roughly 50% more big, strong, 300 lb guys now than you had then. And that's without considering that the world population has also grown significantly, and so the number of available players from foreign countries is much greater.

There's just no reason the NFL doesn't let us see full games and seasons on DVD, other than stupidity.

Harris said it perfectly, I'm so shocked at the NFL's stupidity that I must now change my entire outlook on life.

31 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

NFL Films is probably under the same management as the NFL network, which is likely running with a limited budget,and we certainly know that that network is not even close to as successful or popular as the owners/network directors had dreamed up.
I can't see this type of thing going away completely. I'm feeling it's more of a waiting game on this one:
The obvious tightening of the belts and crying poor will continue until the next CBA is signed.
I'm also thinking about the unknowns of the direction of broadcast and online media, as well as the precedence set by the recent writers strike.

The owners need to get the CBA in hand, then blitz the public with profit making DVD's, then Blue Ray, then something for everyone's iPod...all the same games and interviews, all on different mediums, all to the same customers. I'm thinking George Lucas should be consulting on this one.

32 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Who is “rouselef”?

I think Raiderjoe means "yourself", as in, recite this to yourself and remember the glory of NFL films. Also, Raiderjoe, amazing poem. I'm floored.

33 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Imagine how popular an NFL Network show would be if if they had someone like Jaworski or another analyst break down plays for an entire game. I would KILL for something like that. Imagine play by play breakdowns of an entire game, how amazing would that be

34 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I'll add my voice to the chorus of those who are willing to pay for old game footage. I'd like to see the average games as much as the exceptional ones, just to see what the style of play was like in an average game in 1975, for example...everything from the difference in the substitution patterns, to pass defenses, to the graphics and presentation of the game from the announce booth.

Also, the poem raiderjoe referenced looks good in print, but when it was read by the great John Facenda 25 plus years ago, it captured the essence of everything that made (and continues to make) the NFL the greatest sport ever.

35 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Ok, so I'm really confused. I always assumed the NFL owned NFL Films. Then what is the exact relationship between the NFL and NFL Films? I did some research and in 2002 NFL Films opened a 45 MILLION DOLLAR studio in New Jersey. No company would dump this kind of money into a one-trick poney without some gaurantee in return. I would think this is all an effort of the NFL to re-negotiate some type of unfavorable contract.

36 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Does the XXXVII DVD have a real re-air (i.e. CBS/ABC/FOX), or is it just the international feed with the hideous Dick Stockton/Moose Johnson team?

No, it has longtime local radio play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff and...someone else. It also has both the pre- and post game shows.

That DVD does not have a complete re-air.

Hmm, seems you're right. The one for XXXVIII (Pats v. Panthers) does, though. This one, however, is called by Stockton and Johnson.

38 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Every person laid off by NFL Films should at a minimum be interviewed to work at the new MLB Network.

NFL Films is beloved by fans, and not just by the obsessives who frequent these boards.

NFL Network is a failure by every measurable standard.

Steve Bornstein has been getting off really easy. He drove NFLN into a ditch and now the league is paring back one of their best assets. How long can his free ride continue?

39 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

As disconcerting as this article is, this is the face of the future. The up-and-coming media executives have no regard for the past or for what made something sucessful. Instead, they want new and fresh (translated: snarky and infused with the rap-tune-du-jour) which, unfortunately, has the shelf life of a banana and the content of a piece of cardboard. The executards running the NFL Network and detroying NFL Films are cast from the same mold as the foobs running the music and movie businesses. Unlike those industries, which waited far too long before realizing the "new media" types had no taste or sense, will the NFL wise up before its too late or will they too wait until their product has been run into the ground before doing something?

40 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Wow, news like this makes me think that the NFL has jumped the shark already.
Is it all downhill from here? First NFL films, next the salary cap in a couple years, and then a couple years after that a player strike...

I hope not.

41 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

39 -

While there's a lot of truth in your comments, I would note that NASCAR has made a big deal out of going "back to basics" this year and trying to get back its traditional fans, and their ratings are up.

Maybe there's a lesson in there for other sports.

42 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I realize that despite my age I don't really fit into the demographics targeted by marketing types, but only two things grab my attention on NFLN: NFL Films stuff (incl. America's Game, which is awesome) and NFL Replay. I suppose if I cared more about the draft I'd watch their coverage, since I've heard it's pretty good.

The "original" NFLN programming and the in-studio stuff, even the post-game highlights, are simply unwatchable for me. Now, I can't stand Deion Sanders, so perhaps if they changed hosts on the post-game I could bear watching it. However, I tried watching "NFL Total Access" again the other night and watched the studio hosts openly lobby for Kellen Winslow to get back more of the $$$ he surrendered when he crashed his motorcycle. Fellas, he's got an agent.

Despite being an NFL junkie, I have little to no interest in watching the content on the NFL's flagship station. I get the impression that lots of like-minded NFL fans are staying away in droves, and there's just something wrong about that.

BTW: Alex, you may be right, but I like Hypno-Toad's explanation better. It's all Rouselef's fault . . .

43 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Re #42
I recommend giving NFL Gameday another shot next season-I actually find Deion enjoyable there (and when he's done game work), and previously thought he was totally intolerable. I know his style isn't for everyone, but if you can get past that, he's better than, say, about everybody at the WWL other than Jaws.

I'm now watching Path to the Draft regularly, and occasionally wondering why. Not enough of Mike Mayock, Charles Davis, and Charlie Casserly talking about players, too much "meet this player" and writers (see Doug F.'s appearance) talking about their team.

One of their problems is, outside of the key people, their on-air talent isn't that good. I love Eisen, but no other host is any good, and too many of the former players on NFL:TA seem more interested in having fun chatting with current players than being journalists. Of course, the underlying problem is there isn't really enough to fill an hour of NFL:TA every weekday (at least) all year round.

45 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

Seems like the NFL is going the way of MTV and ESPN, wallowing too much in their own hype, losing focus, and screwing up a winning formula. Sad.

46 Re: NFL Films Is Taking Shots

I don't even understand how someone would not find almost anything NFL Films has put out entertaining. Seriously, we've been watching super slo-mo collisions, catches, sacks, jukes, and interceptions and we're still eating it up.

I always thought part of the NFL's dominance is that things like NFL Films and Inside the NFL and ESPN's old Sunday night highlights and news show made all the fans feel like hard core football people. All the fluff that was added to Inside the NFL and NBC's terrible show reminds me of the same crap that goes on with the old NBA shows on NBC, where it seemed like that league and the network decided to market to kids figureing they make more money because parents feel obliged to take their children for night out at the arena. Always seemed like this turned off the kinds of people who take their sport watching seriously (from an analytical point, if not irrational fan point), and ultimately worked against the NBA (along with a myriad of other things) until the moderate revival now with more hard core-like shows on ESPN and TNT.