Leland Stein III

Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl’

Eagles demand first Super Bowl title

In sports column on February 14, 2018 at 12:21 am

 

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Tom Brady tries to avoid a Bradon Graham sack. – Gary Montgomery photo

By Leland Stein III

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Leland Stein

MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. – No matter that the weather outside was hovering around zero, the over 67,612 fans in US Bank Stadium, and, the millions of television watchers world-wide were on fire as the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots got set to engage in American gridiron football action.

The Eagles and Patriots both felt the heat of the moment too, as the two teams combined for a shocking 673 yards in the first half, the second highest total in Super Bowl history.

Oh the crazy/awesome offensive heat did not stop in the second half either, as both teams combined for 1,151 yards – the most in any modern NFL game.

The exhilarating and breathtaking contest was hot throughout – if one loves offense – as Philly indeed did just enough to outlast 40-year-old G.O.A.T Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to become NFL champions for the first time since 1960. The 41-33 victory was one for the ages.

Overzealous Philadelphia fans lost their minds back home as their owner lifted the Lombardi Trophy signifying that the Philadelphia Eagles really had did the darn thing in its third Super Bowl appearance.

“I am so excited for our locker room,” Eagles second-year coach Doug Pederson exclaimed, “and Mr. (Jeffrey) Luri he gave me the opportunity to coach this team. A lot of people counted us out, but the locker room believed, believed in each other, believed in me and together we found a way to get it done.”

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Ron Gronkowski corrals touchdown over Ronald Darby – Gary Montgomery photo

Pederson did not approach this game with his tail between his legs and he went for the win at all times. In particular Mr. Guts and Glory with 38 seconds remaining in the first half (Patriots had just scored and brought the score to a respectable 15-12), and the Philadelphia Eagles facing fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, he went for a trick play – the “Philly Special.”

With a little bit more the one minute left running back Corey Clement pitched to tight end Trey Burton who flipped the ball to quarterback Nick Foles that engineered an important 22-12 halftime lead.

“Our coach has got some guts, huh?” Burton unleashed. “He’s got some big ones.”

When the Eagles needed a yard for a touchdown – when most coaches might have trusted their offensive line to just push their way forward – Pederson called a play on which his quarterback would ideally be the last of four people to touch the ball. It was a play the Eagles had practiced a total of six times.

“You never know what he’s thinking,” Burton said. “Here we are. Philly’s never won a Super Bowl. We’re fourth-and-1 on the goal line and he calls a trick-play pass to the quarterback? Come on, man.”

The play worked and Pederson did it again on fourth-and-one from Philly’s own 45 yard line with 5:39 left in the game. Again it worked as the Eagles keep the ball and eventually scored on the game winning touchdown on a 11-yard pass to tight end Zach Ertz that was sent to the replay official for review, but eventually was acknowledges as a score and it was a game changer as Philadelphia took a 38-33 margin they never relinquished.

It worked, of course. Pretty much everything Pederson and his Eagles did Sunday night work which is the reason why it’s no longer true that Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl.

“You don’t just roll in with any old game plan and expect Foles to win a 41-33 shootout with Brady,” Pederson noted. “You don’t play it safe and expect to out-coach Belichick.”

Pederson continued: “I trust my players, I trust my coaches and I trust my instincts. I trust everything I’m doing, and I wanted to maintain that aggressiveness. In games like this, against a great opponent, you have to make those tough decisions that will keep yourself or the team aggressive.”

Coach may indeed have trusted his players; however, the Eagles made the clutch plays as they did just enough to coral the Patriots in a very tight game.

Fact is Foles guided the drive of a lifetime as Ertz made a bobbling touchdown catch that had to survive replay review, and then an exhausted defense came up with two defensive stands in the final moments.

That game-clinching defensive stance was initiated with a Brandon Graham strip-sack against Brady with Derek Barnett recovering, setting up rookie Jake Elliot’s 46-yard field goal for an 8-point lead.

Graham, “We knew we were playing Brady and those coaches in the biggest game. I knew I had a one-on-one with the guard. We had been doing something that had been working, but I acted like I was pulling, then I snatched the ball right off Brady’s arm and it changed the game.”

The breathtaking effort of the game was that quarterback Foles had been something of a journeyman in his six pro seasons, but he was spectacular in four career playoff games. He finished 28 of 43 for 373 yards and three TDs in the title game

The 40-year-old Brady finished 28 of 48 and picked apart the Eagles until the final two series.

Graham and his squad held Brady in check to win in the final minutes.

Said Malcom Jenkins: “We knew that in the two minute situation that most likely they were going pass the ball so in the two minute situation our d-line could finally cut it loose. The whole game they had us on our heels, but we did what we needed to coral that awesome team.”

Journeyman Foles taking the place of Carson Wentz, did the impossible, guiding the Eagles to the title, earning Super Bowl MVP.

“I am speechless,” exclaimed Foles, “All glory to God first and foremost. To be here with confetti flying and the greatest group of men, such a great city to play for and I am proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”

Brady got his team to midfield, but his desperation pass fell to the ground in the end zone.

“For us,” Graham exclaimed, “it was all about one stop we had to make. We went out here and made that one stop.”

The underdog Eagles (16-3), earned its first Super Bowl title after going 7-9 last season.

“If there’s a word (it’s) called everything,” Eagles owner Lurie said. “That’s what it means to Eagles fans everywhere. And for Eagles fans everywhere, this is for them.”

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

 

 

Patriots shock the world with amazing comeback

In sports column on February 6, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Super Bowl LI saw the first overtime game in its 51 year history.

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Tom Brady orchestrates classic victory. – Gary Montgomery photo

By Leland Stein III

HOUSTON – Not only I, but the 70,807 in NRG Stadium, as well as, millions world-wide watching the televised broadcast, were left in shock as the New England Patriots fought back from a 25-point deficit after a surprisingly inferior and feeble performance over the first three quarters of Super Bowl LI.

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Leland Stein III

Then, out of nowhere the Patriots regrouped, just as I had placed them in the football graveyard, amazingly and shockingly they came to life and produced an astonishing 34-28 overtime victory over the shell-shocked Atlanta Falcons.

In the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, one of the most important breaks happen when the red-hot Patriots won the coin toss and promptly drove 75 yards in eight plays giving the Patriots their fifth Lombardi Trophy. Running back James White scored the winning touchdown and the celebration was on.

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Dont’a Hightower’s (54) strip of Matt Ryan fueled Pats fourth quarter rally. – Gary Montgomery photo

The win officially makes Tom Brady the most decorated quarterback in modern football history, having surpassed his own idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw who each had four Super Bowl wins.

Said Brady in the post-game press conference when asked if this title was sweeter than the previous ones because of how they won it: “Every title is special. Two years ago it came down to Malcom (Butler) making the play to beat Seattle and this year down 25 points, I could see why it was hard for anyone to imagine us winning.

“The one positive was we went into halftime down, but we had the ball for 20 minutes. As the game goes on, that gets tough on a defense. In the Super Bowl, everyone is expending a lot of energy and once we got it rolling there in the second half it was tough to slow us down.”

Brady continued: “There was a lot at stake tonight. We played our tails off all season to get to this point and it’s hard to win games in the NFL. To beat this team after getting down 28-3, it was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this for the rest of our lives.”

Coming into NRG Stadium for the big game, I predicted an offensive scoring fest between Atlanta and New England.

So much for my prognostications, in the first quarter both teams produced goose eggs giving all the appearance that defense was going to rule the day.

After the 0-0 first quarter, from the start of the second quarter to halftime the Falcons produced a scoring barrage.

Collectively the teams finished one and two with the least turnovers in the NFL this season. However, it took a LaGarrette Blount fumble that halted a New England drive, and, ignited the stagnate Falcons’ offense as it came alive and drove 67 yards for the game’s first score at the start of the second quarter.

The Falcons ended the first half up 21-3 after three touchdowns, including one from cornerback Robert Alford that came from quarterback Brady’s only pick-six interception of his postseason career.

Having covered all seven of the Super Bowls coach Bill Belichick and Brady have participated in this one just left me completely fibergastic.

Why?

Well, I have never seen this team play so poorly in a big game. No, I amend that statement. Maybe it was the Falcons that made Brady and the Patriots look like they did not even belong on the same field with them.

Atlanta did everything right for three quarters using the same formula that looked similar to the teams that have knocked New England out and issued them some painful playoff defeats: No running game to help settle things down, an offensive line that was having trouble holding up against the Falcons’ very quick pass rushers, and, too many mistakes.

The defense had its struggles, too, laboring to strike the balance of being stout enough against the run in their nickel package (six players in the box), but not vulnerable in the secondary against the high powered pass Falcon’s passing game.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, just named the NFL 2016 MVP, played like it for three quarters. In fact, a precision strike to star receiver, Julio Jones for 27-yards down to the Patriots 22 with a little over 4 minutes left in the game could have sealed the game.

“I felt like we were in good position after that great catch by Jones,” lamented Ryan. “I felt like we put ourselves in a good position to come away with points on that drive after his catch. It didn’t end up working out, which was disappointing. There’s nothing you can really say. This was a tough loss. Obviously very disappointed, very close to getting done what we wanted to get done, but it’s hard to find words tonight.”

Ryan continues a crazy trend that for the last 16 years, since 2000, no NFL MVP has won the Super Bowl.

After a magnificent season, Ryan might be remembered most for the game he lost. The loss for the Falcons marked the biggest collapse in Super Bowl history and is sure to leave an empty feeling in the stomach of Ryan and his teammates the entire off-season.

The gritty Falcons should use this disappointment to fuel their fire going into the 2017 regular season.

The lost surely put a damper on what was a spirited effort for Atlanta sparked by a young defense that made plays early and often. Rookie linebacker Deion Jones set the tone early with a strip and forced fumble that was recovered by cornerback Robert Alford. Then Alford read Brady as he was pressured by Dwight Freeney, picked off the pass and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown at 21-0 lead.

Dan Quinn, in his second season as the Falcons head coach after winning a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, lamented the team’s inability to get a stop when they needed one during the Patriot’s late rally.

“I think for sure we ran out of gas some,” Quinn said. “The Patriots executed terrifically. When they got hot, it was hard for us to deal with.”

That said, Quinn was proud of the way his team battled together in their quest for their first NFL title in the 51st season for the Falcons.

“I am proud of the fight that these guys have.”  he said. “The brotherhood that this group has built, it’s as strong as I’ve seen.”

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

Super Bowl XLVII Storylines Fascinate

In sports column on February 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm
COLIN KAEPERNICK came just short of joing Doug Williams in Super Bowl lore. – Gary Montgomery photo

COLIN KAEPERNICK came just short of joining Doug Williams in Super Bowl lore. – Gary Montgomery photo

By Leland Stein III

NEW ORLEANS – Not only did Super Bowl XLVII produce an all-time great contest, it had more storylines that a Steven King novella or Quentin Jerome Tarantino motion picture.

Questions, questions!!!

Which quarterback will come through with the key play? Can the Ray Lewis and the Ravens’ defense keep the electric 49ers’ pistol offense misfiring? Could Joe Flacco‘s big arm bring some excitement to Super Bowl XLVII? Which Harbaugh brother would hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy? Would the New Orleans Saints loyal fandome accost NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell after the failed bounty-gate scandal? Could second year Niner quarterback Colin Kaepernick keep the magic going? Would the Super Bowl commercials be the most memorable aspect of the broadcast?

All these and more were answered at the conclusion of the NFL’s 2013 Super Bowl XLVII.

As I perused New Orleans beyond the City Center, it is still evident that after enduring Hurricane Katrina, one of America’s worst tragedies.

First, Super Bowl XLVII was a storybook ending for future NFL Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Lewis. After suffering a possible season ending arm injury, he came back just in time for the Raven’s playoff push.

How important is Lewis to Baltimore? The Ravens were 5-1 to start the season and after he went out they went 5-5. After his return the team went 4-0. What more needs to be said?

Leland Stein III

Leland Stein III

Lewis has the ability to galvanize a collective like no athlete ever. The Ravens would not have won this title without Lewis . . . plain and simple.

Lewis joins Jerome Bettis and John Elway, just to mention a few that announced their impending retirements and won a NFL title after it.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco showed all that he is the real deal. The first half was all about Flacco. He went 13 for 20 for 192 yards and the three scores over the opening two quarters, becoming only the sixth quarterback in 47 Super Bowls to throw for that many TDs by halftime.

Flacco finished 22 of 33 for 287 yards in winning Super Bowl XLVII MVP. Keeping up with his noteworthy playoff run he crushed the Niners’ defense. To get to the Super Bowl, he led the Ravens past Denver’s Peyton Manning and New England’s Tom Brady for two of his league-record six career postseason road victories by a quarterback.

Then there was Jacoby Jones seemingly breaking the game wide-open with a Super Bowl record 108-yard sprint with the second-half opening kickoff. That came after Jones latched onto a thrilling 56-yard catch and run touchdown from Flacco.

A New Orleans native, Jones, one of the heroes in a double-overtime playoff win at Denver, could have been or should have been the MVP.

Next, John Harbaugh beat his younger brother Jim to claim the title a Super Bowl winning coach. In the 47-year history of America’s Game, there have never been two brother oppose each other in a Super Bowl. Hey, there have never been two brothers even coach in the NFL, let along challenge each other in the Big Game.

Baltimore’s John Harbaugh is 15 months older than San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh.

San Francisco second year quarterback Colin Kaepernick fell inches short of joining Doug Williams as the only African-American quarterback to lead a team to Super Bowl glory.

Instead he joined Donovan McNabb and Steve McNair as African-American signal callers that led their teams to the Super Bowl but fell just short of the big prize.

Kaepernick couldn’t get the Ravens into the end zone on the final three plays—there was contact on Crabtree on the final pass that appeared incidental, and Jim Harbaugh insisted it was pass interference. But that is what it is.

Before the game began, with 100 million or so Americans expected to tune in on TV, a chorus of 26 children from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — where 20 students and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage in December — sang “America the Beautiful,” accompanied by “American Idol” alum Jennifer Hudson.

My personal highlight was Grammy winner Alicia Keys performing the national anthem. She joined Marvin Gaye and José Feliciano with iconic renditions of America’s anthem.

Beyonce rocked the Super Bowl 2013 halftime show. She brought out her girlmates from Destiny’s Child to help her bring the noise

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com.

Ravens withstand 49ers rally and power outage, surge to championship

In sports column on February 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Baltimore blackouts San Francisco

ED REED and Ray Lewis celebrate. – Gary Montgomery photo

ED REED and Ray Lewis celebrate. – Gary Montgomery photo

By Leland Stein III

COMMENTARY

NEW ORLEANS – I knew this already, but this weekend simply reaffirmed the fact the gladiator game of American football, and, it signature event, the Super Bowl is an unquestionable American iconic yearly event.

Major League Baseball, NBA, and National Hockey League all have to take a back seat to the Super Bowl that has become America’s once a year national corporate playground.

With this fact securely a reality, Super Bowl XLVII actually lived up to the enormous hype machine, as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens engaged in a thrilling contest full of twist and turns. However, when the smoke cleared the Ravens were hoisting the valued Vince Lombardi Trophy after a hard fought 34-31 victory.

Sure The Big Easy is legendary for partying and food, but now we can add blackouts. For over 35 minutes XLVII was shutdown when the lights went out in the stadium. The power outage put the nation’s biggest sporting event on hold, interrupting an otherwise electric, back-and-forth game.

Leland Stein III

Leland Stein III

When the lights finally came back on the hot Ravens had cooled off and momentum appeared to have swung over to the 49ers. When the lights dissipated the Raven was holding a commanding 28-6 lead with a little over 13 minutes left in the third quarter.

However, when the mechanical problems were finally arrested, a previously sleepwalking 49es’ team suddenly came alive and as quick as one came say Super Bowl, the Niners had trimmed the Ravens lead to 28-23 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

But Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco put his team on his shoulders and made every play he had to make to hold off a fast charging 49ers team. Flacco, voted the MVP, threw three first-half touchdown passes to cap an 11-TD, zero-interception postseason.

“I just made my reads and took what the 49ers gave me,” said a calm Flacco. “This has not sunk in yet, but I’m sure when I get time to reflect it will take on even greater meaning. Right now this is what we all work and train for, and, we made it happen.”

Next, Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards, a Super Bowl record, to give Baltimore a 28-6 lead. Jones became just the second player in NFL history to score via a kick return and reception in playoff history.

“I just saw a seam and got up in there and it opened up,” explained Jones. “This is what every kid dreams about doing while playing Madden or playing in the streets.”

Being down 28-6 at one point I had written San Francisco off, but team by the Bay had other plans. The Niners made a noteworthy run at overcoming the biggest deficit a team has ever had to surmount. The record for a comeback win in a Super Bowl is 10 points, and there were moments were it appeared San Francisco had a chance to better that mark. Instead, the 49ers lost for the first time in six trips to the Super Bowl.

The AFC champion Ravens (14-6), a franchise that moved from Cleveland to Baltimore 17 years ago, improved to 2-0 in the big game. They also won the championship in 2001, when linebacker Ray Lewis was voted the game’s MVP. Lewis was not a major factor this time, but he was a center of attention, playing in the final game of his 17-year career before retiring.

The 49ers struggled early in the first Super Bowl coaching matchup between brothers: Baltimore’s John Harbaugh is 15 months older than San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick did all he could to get his team a victory. Kaepernick and the 49ers scored 17 consecutive points, getting as close as 31-29 in the third quarter.

“We started slow and the hurt us as a team,” Kaepernick said. “But, this is a never say died group. We came back and made a run at it. WE had four shots at the end zone, so we came not blame anyone or look for any excuses.”

This was the 10th time New Orleans hosted the big game — tying Miami for most in a city — and first since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Big Easy in August 2005

Leland Stein III can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

Ask Smith: Professional coaching is perilous duty

In sports column on January 14, 2013 at 12:26 am
Leland Stein III

Leland Stein III

By Leland Stein III

Hey, I’m shedding no tears for or all the coaches that are getting waxed but their teams. They make a lot of money for leading their teams into battle.

However, if I was a fan of the one of the teams that did the firing I just might be upset.

For example, the Chicago Bears have won only won one Super Bowl and has appeared in two. Recently fired coach Lovie Smith took the Bears to it most recent Super Bowl, where he made history joining Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy as the first and only time two African-American coaches met in a Super Bowl.

Dungy, Smith’s mentor lost a close contest to the Colts.

Chicago coach Lovie Smith.

Chicago coach Lovie Smith.

Now dig this, the Detroit Lions go 4-12 and keep it coach, but the Bears go 10-6, just missing the NFL Playoffs and Smith gets canned.

Football watchers believe the decision came down to the Vikings’ win over the Packers in the final week of the regular season. A win by Green Bay would have ensured a playoff berth for Chicago.

Wow! How close is that? How many teams in the NFL would have loved to be in that position? It is not as if the Bears have a juggernaut franchise. They are very competitive, in fact losing in the NFC title game. I was there covering the game in frozen Solider Field in 2011 when the Packers won 21-14.

Dungy, who is at the front of speculation about filling NFL open positions, tweeted: “Lovie Smith’s firing is the 1 reason I’m not coming back to get fired for only winning 10 (games).

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka, who led his team to it only Super Bowl win said: “I think Lovie is a very good coach. I think that’s a 10-win season is important in this league. If Minnesota would have lost and the Bears were in the playoffs this wouldn’t have happened. That’s a fact. So how stupid is it then? It really is stupid.”

The Bears were 84-66 under Smith, but reached the playoffs just once since their Super Bowl appearance in February 2007.

The fallout associated with missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons proved too much to overcome for Smith.

Then there is Avery Johnson head coach of the new Brooklyn Nets getting waxed after starting the season by winning 11 of their first 15 games en route to their best start in franchise history, but have going just 3-10 in December, which prompted Brooklyn’s brass to make a change.

Heck this is basketball, many team have sat at .500 then turn their season around. Why so quick to pull the trigger? Johnson has won an NBA title as a player and led Dallas to the NBA Finals.

But he was given a team with a number of new players that needed time to gel.

The irony of the canning was Johnson had just been named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November. Assistant P.J. Carlisemo was named interim head coach, and retained the rest of Johnson’s staff.

“You never think when you’re a .500 team and then you’re going into two more home games at home that something like this would happen,” Johnson said at a news conference. “But this is ownership’s decision, and this is what we sign up for. This is part of our business. Fair or unfair, it doesn’t matter.”

Johnson said he was caught off guard. “If I was the owner I would not have fired me,” he lamented.

The Nets are now going after Phil Jackson, who just announced his engagement to Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss’ daughter, Jeanie. Jackson was bypassed by the Lakers in November after Mike Brown was surprisingly fired five games into the season.

I do not see any way Jackson takes that job. Heck, the Lakers job, whom he coached to five NBA titles, might open up after their less than stellar showing under Mike D’Antoni.

Also in the NFL Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Smith, and Ken Whisenhunt in Arizona, all coaches who took teams to the Super Bowl, plus Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo have all been shown the door.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII

Sabol’s NFL Films changed sports’ viewership forever

In sports column on November 18, 2012 at 2:50 am

Sabol’s NFL Films changed sports’ viewership forever

By Leland Stein III

, who just transitioned, was the president and one of the founders of NFL Films, along with his father Ed. Steve took his father’s vision to another level and by most accounts became the linchpin behind the ever present mega-cable and television sports genres.

“As one who actually grew up with NFL Films,” Victor Marsh recalled, “I am sadden by Mr. Steve Sabol Passing. Filmmakers of Steve’s caliber and attributes are rare in life. He served as the Master Storyteller of our generation;”

My early memories held baseball up as America’s Game and it was acknowledged as the preeminent American sport. The NFL was gaining ground, but baseball was king. So it took visionary filmmakers like Ed and Steve Sabol to expose my Marsh and me to the humane, intricate and exciting undertakings of professional football.

Ed’s first major contract was to film the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers at Yankee Stadium in New York. That was just the beginning as he and his equally visionary son, Steve, transformed how we view sports – especially football.

They took a sport, football, the modern day first cousin to the Roman Gladiators, who fought so gallantly against lions and each other in the now world famous Coliseum, and gave this violent sport a human face.

Ed was the main man behind NFL Film, but his son Steve learned the game from the bottom up, too. Steve served as a cameraman, editor and writer in the 1960s and 1970s, before becoming CEO. When ESPN was founded, they signed NFL Films as a production company and Steve became an on-air personality. He won 35 Emmy Awards and played a part in founding the NFL Network.

While baseball was resting on its laurels as America’s Pastime, football, Ed and Steve were revolutionizing how we see sports on television. They came up with the football follies and highlights.

More importantly, they filmed football not only on the playing field and the action shots; they filmed the sidelines, put microphones on coaches and players, and shot angles and action in a football game while not always following the football.

What was unique about Steve and Ed’s approach to the filming the NFL was they somehow turned this game of large men – and small – crashing into each other with mean intentions into ballet and poetry.

Steve famously authored the poem “The Autumn Wind”, which was put to music and shown with highlight, and, was later adopted by the Oakland Raiders as its unofficial anthem.

Steve eventually became the artistic vision behind the studio that revolutionized the way America watches football and all of sports.

No one thought that 24-hour news or sports would succeed – the idea was way over most heads. But men like Steve and Ted Turner saw the future and who can deny either of them? No one!!

Partnering with ESPN, Steve and his artistic presentation of football helped drive football into America’s Game. It is unquestionably the top rating draw in this country, and, the Super Bowl has posted 10 of the top 20 Nielson rated shows in American television history. No other American sports even has made the Neilsen top 46, but the NFL has 21 Super Bowls in that list.

Steve and his father may not be reason the NFL has ascended to such heights, but one could argue that they have been a linchpin behind the marketing and interest in the game.

Surly Steve and his amazing feel for presenting the most violent of games into a family friendly genre indeed is noteworthy. Baseball, basketball and hockey h no connecting organization like NFL Films. Now that the NFL Network has succeeded both baseball (MLB Channel) and NBA TV has cable stations that try to mirror what Steve and Ed did for the NFL.

Although both MLB and NBA TV do a credible job of highlighting games and even showcasing classic contest from the past, but they can match the magnificent marriage of music, poetry, voice overs and film artistry of NFL Films.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or Twitter @LelandSteinIII