It has been a rough off-season for the National Football League. Between Aaron Hernandez and concussion settlements and the continued existence of Tim Tebow as a dangling carrot for the media, I can't think of a bleaker year off the field in many years. Thankfully, for football fans, were finally getting back to the field.
If you're looking for the perfect transition back to football, and pre-season hasn't done it for you, then the latest episode in NFL Network's America's Game series may be what gets you pumped. Premiering Monday night at 9 p.m. ET and then airing probably a billion times in reruns, America's Game remains the best thing that NFL Net does all year, and that's saying something. Let it be the show that cleanses your palette for football this fall.
The format stays pretty much the same. You have three key members of the most recent Super Bowl champion (coach John Harbaugh, linebacker Ray Lewis, quarterback Joe Flacco) and a celebrity narrator (Maryland native Ed Norton) combine to tell the story of a team's run through the regular season, playoffs and the Super Bowl. The Ravens certainly weren't a team bereft of story lines, so they make an solid, if not spectacular documentary subject.
Some highlights include John Harbaugh briefly going through the firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron; Ray Lewis and Harbaugh both discussing whether or not he should do his pre-game dance; Flacco suggesting that he and his teammates break NFL rules at the end of the Super Bowl; and, of course, the blackout. I'm not a Ravens fan, so I can't honestly tell you if the show glosses over anything, but it definitely handles all of the story lines the national media sunk into during the season.
There's really not much to America's Game, other than that it is exceptionally edited, culls together awesome-looking footage, and is well-written. Why every sport doesn't do this in addition to the typical "championship team video" is beyond me. This is a series that the NFL Network and NFL Films should be proud of for as long as it runs. Welcome back, football.