I just got done watching over 10 hours of classic football action and you know what? I want to watch another 10 hours. Reliving some of the finer moments of the NFL during the years I was growing up was more fun than I anticipated. Although there are a few minor annoyances with the new NFL Super Bowl XI-XX 5-disc set, I have to say I'm very pleased with the package.
I was only five years old when the Raiders and Vikings met in Super Bowl XI, but by the time the Bears and Patriots met in Super Bowl XX, I was a full blown football fan. Watching key plays from the big games and the season preceding them is a true thrill. We'll never get to see the likes of Fran Tarkenton or Walter Payton or Jack Youngblood again, so watching clips of them in their prime is quite a sight to see. It was a different game back then, and watching these warriors battle it out on the field made me realize just how special some of these players were.
Here are some of the highlights featured in this set:
This 5-disc set really is packed with plenty of key moments in the history of the NFL, narrated by classic NFL Films voices, Harry Kalas or John Facenda. As with the previous set, each disc features footage from two Super Bowls and the season leading up to them. In each 45 minute program, you'll see about 25 minutes of regular season clips and another 20 minutes devoted strictly to the Super Bowl.
While I loved every moment of this set, I must point out that the last two programs, those for Super Bowls XIX and XX, were the best. Not only did these two programs boast a longer running time (70 minutes vs. 45 minutes), they broke down the season into recognizable themes and segments. For example, not only were the league leaders shown, they were named with their league leading stats. After watching hours of footage without these finer details, this was a welcome addition to the footage.
The later sets also showcased key games and key plays that helped propel playoff teams into the post season. While the earlier programs showed these games, the later programs mention the team record and named key players with their stats. Minor details, perhaps, but these added a lot to the effect of the clips.
All five discs really have something to offer, both in footage and special features. I loved watching the greats of the game and reminiscing on days gone by. Sure, I may have been young when these games were played, but many are firmly planted on my memory, and now I have access to these great moments. If you're a die-hard football fan, this set is for you.
Although these would be considered major problems for a favorite film, I think they add to the mystique of the warriors of yesteryear. Going through and cleaning up the images would've been a difficult task, but I'm not 100% sure it would've added to my appreciation of the footage.
Note that the special features, which were filmed in the last decade or so, feature cleaner, more pristine prints for the interview footage.
The most important aspects of these programs are the narration and the music, both key elements to the NFL Films presentation. Neither sound as good as something you'd find recorded today, but I wasn't expecting that. The music is clear and sounds fine even though it doesn't boom, while the narration and interviews sound good despite the occasional hiss or scratch.
Note that the special features, which were recorded in the last decade or so, feature cleaner, more pristine audio recordings for their interviews.
THE BONUS FEATURES
It should also be noted that the set comes with a full-color booklet with information on each game including a reproduction of the Super Bowl program, box scores, and team rosters. You also get a replica of a Super Bowl ticket (I'm not entirely certain if every boxed set features the same one, but I got Super Bowl XX).
Disc One: Super Bowl XI and XII
Staubach/Morton is a 1995 NFL Films presentation that follows these QB combatants from the 1977 training camp through the rest of the season, with interviews with Tom Landry and both quarterbacks. Walters/Harris is a 1997 NFL Films presentation that showcases the business the hard hitting teammates Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters put together after they retired.
Disc Two: Super Bowl XIII and XIV
'79 AFC Championship is a 1994 NFL Films presentation that showcases the great rivalry between the Steelers and Oilers. The clips and interviews really show what it was like to be a player on the field or a fan in the stands for this incredible match-up. Jack Youngblood showcases clips of the 7-time Pro Bowler who was a member of the dreaded Fearsome Foursome. This is a 2000 NFL Films presentation.
Disc Three: Super Bowl XV and XVI
Ronnie Lott is a 2003 NFL Films presentation about the hardest hitting safety in the history of the league. If you don't think this guy was one tough mother, watch these clips and listen to the interviews. They might just change your mind. Anthony Munoz is a great 1999 NFL Films presentation that looks at the career of one of the best offensive lineman ever to play the game. While much of the featurette's focus is on Munoz's career, a lot is also devoted to his family life and his son.
Disc Four: Super Bowl XVII and XVIII
Howie Long is a nice look at the defensive beast who turned into a Hollywood star and sports announcer. This featurette, shot in 1997, is a great look at the man and how he played the game. Marcus Allen is a 1995 NFL Films presentation that details the career of the amazing Raiders runner who ran for 191 yard in Super Bowl XVIII.
Disc Five: Super Bowl XIX and XX
'85 Bears Defense is a 1995 NFL Films presentation that features interviews with great quarterbacks like Joe Thiesmann and Phil Simms who met the devastating defense a great number of times. '85 Patriots is a fun 1997 NFL Films presentation that looks at the often overlooked team of unknowns who became AFC champs.