Ed Driscoll

NFL Films: Visual Poetry

I’m watching the NFL Channel’s Game of the Week, last week’s Chargers/Jets game from the first round of the playoffs. I didn’t deliberately program it; it just happened to be on the TiVo box because how I initially set it up.

But that’s OK: watching this NFL Films presentation is a reminder that when they’re clicking on eight cylinders, they’re capable of producing visual poetry. Even forgetting what they’re doing–showing highlights from a football game–it’s dazzling filmmaking: perfectly matched cuts, rhythmically edited montages, great overlays of multiple sound sources (the announcers from the AM radio broadcast of the game, the mic’ed up players, the background score, crowd sounds, etc.) and on and on. The fact that they can get this stuff on the air in less than a week, as opposed to the weeks and weeks and weeks that many Hollywood films take for editing is also amazing. (I profiled NFL Films last year at Tech Central Station, incidentally.)

And that the NFL basically created their own cable channel to run these shows is the icing on the cake.

There’s been a lot about pro football that’s been frustrating these past couple of years, very little of which has anything to do with the games themselves (including, but not limited to Rush Limbaugh’s controversies; NippleGate; the T.O./Nicolette Sheridan towel incident; the endless Levitra ads; Randy Moss’s simulated mooning and butt wiping, etc.). But in terms of the quantity–and at its best, the quality of the content that’s available, it’s really a golden age for NFL fans.