America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions

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America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions
Americasgame.jpg
Created by NFL Films
NFL Network
Steve Sabol
Composer(s) David Robidoux[1]
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 48
Production
Running time 44 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel NFL Network
CBS
Original run November 17, 2006 (2006-11-17) – Present (Present)

America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions is an annual documentary series created by NFL Films (broadcast on the NFL Network and CBS). Its 46 installments profile the first 46 winning teams of the National Football League's annual Super Bowl championship game; each episode chronicles an individual team.

A spin-off debuted on September 18, 2008, titled America's Game: The Missing Rings which chronicled five of the best teams to never win the Super Bowl.[2]

Format[edit]

America's Game weaves together archival NFL Films footage, videotape, audio clips, and interviews into a new program with new talking head style interviews from three or more of the winning team (players, coaches, or administrators) and narration from a celebrity.

In instances of teams winning multiple Super Bowls closely together different people are interviewed for each episode. For example, though Bill Belichick coached the New England Patriots to three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003, and 2004) he was only interviewed for the episode on the 2004 team. However, Bill Curry was interviewed twice—as a member of the 1966 Green Bay Packers and the 1970 Baltimore Colts, as were Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, for both of the New York Giants' most recent Super Bowl victories. Also, Joe Greene appeared twice - on the 1974 and 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers broadcasts. Ray Lewis was also interviewed twice for both the 2000 and 2012 Ravens. Ernie Accorsi and Rich Dalrymple are the only non-players or coaches to be interviewed for the series—both were team administrators.

Of the "Blue Ribbon" top 20 teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys are represented most often as a franchise with three championship teams each. The Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders are each represented twice.

According to Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films, only 20 teams were ranked instead of 40 because they feared negative mail from fans of the franchise whose team was ranked the lowest.[3] Sabol stated that, while the panel chose the 1972 Dolphins as the #1 team, several voters hedged and said Miami's unbeaten season was "the greatest team achievement." Of the voting methods, Sabol said, "That's what I think people were voting on, rather than, 'Could this team beat the '85 Bears?'"[4]

Airing[edit]

For its initial airings the show was divided into two waves, with the first series being a weekly series counting down the top 20 winning teams, as selected by a 53 person panel of "Blue Ribbon" experts on the NFL.[3] The first 18 episodes aired on the NFL Network beginning in November 2006 and the final two programs on CBS the day before Super Bowl XLI in February 2007.

The remaining 20 champions' episodes aired during the NFL's off-season, February through April, before the 2007 season begins. The first episode of the remaining 20 champions aired on Thursday, February 8, 2007.

The show began its run with a one-hour "preview special" at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on November 17, 2006, followed by the first of the countdown shows the following week. The "official" premiere episode aired on November 24, the day after the first live regular season game telecast on NFL Network.

After some speculation on the future of the series, the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, winners of Super Bowl XLI had their episode air on September 5, 2007, one night before the season opener.[5] The 2007 New York Giants also received an episode, signaling the series' will be annually renewed at the beginning of the next NFL season; the most recent episode, covering the 2013 Seattle Seahawks, debuted on September 3, 2014.

Unannounced episodes[edit]

  • The special of the 1971 Dallas Cowboys aired at 1 a.m. Eastern time December 30 (10 p.m. Pacific December 29) as part of the same preview, one week before the scheduled premiere. This was an hour behind schedule, as the Insight Bowl (that aired in place of what would have been a new episode) ended in overtime.

Top twenty[edit]

The following list compiles the top 20 Super Bowl teams, as determined by the experts. The teams listed below were revealed in countdown form in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLI. The first 18 episodes aired on the NFL Network, while the top two teams' specials were shown on CBS on February 3, the day before Super Bowl XLI. Each episode in the top 20 would be introduced with, "NFL Network presents America's Game, a countdown of the 20 greatest Super Bowl champions, and now its number ___"

Rank Year Team Game Narrator Team Commentary Air Date
20 1983 Los Angeles Raiders Super Bowl XVIII Alec Baldwin Marcus Allen, Todd Christensen and Howie Long November 24, 2006
19 1999 St. Louis Rams Super Bowl XXXIV Martin Sheen D'Marco Farr, Dick Vermeil and Kurt Warner December 1, 2006
18 1969 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl IV Martin Sheen Len Dawson, Willie Lanier and Jim Lynch December 8, 2006
17 1994 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIX Bruce Willis Steve Young, Brent Jones and Merton Hanks December 15, 2006
16 1996 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XXXI Kevin Bacon Brett Favre, Mike Holmgren and Desmond Howard December 22, 2006
15 1971 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl VI Martin Sheen Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach and Duane Thomas January 5, 2007
14 1991 Washington Redskins Super Bowl XXVI Donald Sutherland Joe Gibbs, Mark Rypien and Charles Mann January 12, 2007
13 1986 New York Giants Super Bowl XXI Laurence Fishburne Bill Parcells, Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor January 19, 2007
12 1998 Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXIII Kevin Bacon Terrell Davis, Mark Schlereth and Shannon Sharpe January 26, 2007
11 1977 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XII Laurence Fishburne Thomas Henderson, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson and Charlie Waters January 27, 2007
10 1976 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl XI Laurence Fishburne John Madden, Ken Stabler and Phil Villapiano January 27, 2007
09 2004 New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXIX Laurence Fishburne Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi and Bill Belichick January 28, 2007
08 1984 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XIX Gene Hackman Russ Francis, Keena Turner and Dwight Hicks January 29, 2007
07 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl X Bruce Willis Lynn Swann, Dwight White and Mike Wagner January 29, 2007
06 1966 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl I Donald Sutherland Bill Curry, Willie Davis and Bart Starr January 30, 2007
05 1992 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVII Alec Baldwin Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Ken Norton, Jr. January 31, 2007
04 1989 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIV Gene Hackman Tom Rathman, George Seifert and Jerry Rice February 2, 2007
03 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XIII Bruce Willis Rocky Bleier, Mel Blount, Randy Grossman and Joe Greene February 2, 2007
02 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX Alec Baldwin Mike Ditka, Jim McMahon and Mike Singletary February 3, 2007 on CBS
01 1972 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl VII Alec Baldwin Manny Fernandez, Don Shula and Larry Csonka February 3, 2007 on CBS

Non-ranked episodes[edit]

Beginning February 8, the NFL Network began to broadcast the remaining twenty champions' episodes. The 2005 Steelers were not eligible to be in the Top 20 as the voting was done prior to Super Bowl XL.

Eps Year Team Game Narrator Team Commentary Air Date
1 1970 Baltimore Colts Super Bowl V Ed Harris Bill Curry, Mike Curtis, Bubba Smith and Ernie Accorsi February 9, 2007
2 1980 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl XV Ed Harris Jim Plunkett, Gene Upshaw and Matt Millen February 16, 2007
3 1990 New York Giants Super Bowl XXV Alec Baldwin Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks and Jeff Hostetler December 29, 2006
re-aired February 15, 2007
4 2001 New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVI Martin Sheen Tom Brady, Lawyer Milloy and Adam Vinatieri February 8, 2007
5 1993 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVIII Ed Harris Bill Bates, Emmitt Smith and Jimmy Johnson February 22, 2007
6 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XIV Ed Harris John Banaszak, L. C. Greenwood and John Stallworth February 23, 2007
7 1973 Miami Dolphins Super Bowl VIII Ed Harris Dick Anderson, Bob Kuechenberg and Mercury Morris March 1, 2007
8 1987 Washington Redskins Super Bowl XXII Gene Hackman Doug Williams, Jeff Bostic and Darrell Green March 2, 2007
9 1988 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIII Ed Harris Bill Walsh, Harris Barton and Roger Craig March 8, 2007
10 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl IX Ed Harris Franco Harris, Joe Greene and Andy Russell March 9, 2007
11 2000 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XXXV Alec Baldwin Brian Billick, Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis March 15, 2007
12 1995 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXX Ed Harris Darren Woodson, Rich Dalrymple, Daryl Johnston and Larry Brown March 16, 2007
13 1982 Washington Redskins Super Bowl XVII Alec Baldwin Russ Grimm, Joe Theismann and Rick Walker March 22, 2007
14 1981 San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XVI Gene Hackman Dwight Clark, Ronnie Lott and Randy Cross March 23, 2007
15 1997 Denver Broncos Super Bowl XXXII Alec Baldwin John Elway, Howard Griffith and Neil Smith March 29, 2007
16 1968 New York Jets Super Bowl III Alec Baldwin Joe Namath, Gerry Philbin and Don Maynard April 2, 2007
17 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XL Tom Selleck Jerome Bettis, Joey Porter and Bill Cowher April 9, 2007
18 1967 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl II Tom Selleck Chuck Mercein, Dave Robinson and Jerry Kramer April 16, 2007
19 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl XXXVII Laurence Fishburne Warren Sapp, Jon Gruden and John Lynch April 23, 2007
20 2003 New England Patriots Super Bowl XXXVIII Tom Selleck Charlie Weis, Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest April 30, 2007

Annual specials[edit]

Following the original 40-episode run, the show took on an annual format. Beginning with Super Bowl XLI and the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, a new episode would air the following September on the NFL Network in order to commemorate the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Eps Year Team Game Narrator Team Commentary Air Date
1 2006 Indianapolis Colts Super Bowl XLI Donald Sutherland Peyton Manning, Tony Dungy and Jeff Saturday September 5, 2007
2 2007 New York Giants Super Bowl XLII James Gandolfini Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and Michael Strahan September 3, 2008
3 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII Jon Hamm Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin and Troy Polamalu September 9, 2009
4 2009 New Orleans Saints Super Bowl XLIV Brad Pitt Sean Payton, Drew Brees and Jonathan Vilma September 8, 2010
5 2010 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV John Slattery Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson September 7, 2011
6 2011 New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI Alec Baldwin Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Tom Coughlin and Justin Tuck September 4, 2012
7 2012 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl XLVII Edward Norton Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh, and Ray Lewis September 2, 2013
8 2013 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Jim Caviezel Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and Pete Carroll September 3, 2014

The Missing Rings[edit]

A spinoff series, America's Game: The Missing Rings, debuted on September 18, 2008 and aired for five consecutive Thursdays after that, starting at 10 p.m. ET. In this series, the producers picked five teams that did not win the Super Bowl and devoted an hour to each of them. The basic format of the show was the same. However, it should be noted that the theme song cut off abruptly before the show started, symbolizing the unfinished goals of the teams being profiled.[7]

Eps Year Team Narrator Team Commentary Air Date
1 1981 San Diego Chargers Tom Selleck Dan Fouts, Hank Bauer, and Kellen Winslow September 18, 2008
2 1969 Minnesota Vikings Tom Selleck Jim Marshall, Joe Kapp and Bud Grant September 25, 2008
3 1990 Buffalo Bills Alec Baldwin Marv Levy, Jim Kelly, and Darryl Talley October 2, 2008
4 1988 Cincinnati Bengals Jeffrey Wright Boomer Esiason, Sam Wyche and Tim Krumrie October 9, 2008
5 1998 Minnesota Vikings James Gandolfini Dennis Green, Cris Carter, and John Randle October 16, 2008

Availability outside of the NFL Network[edit]

  • The final two episodes aired on CBS on February 3, the day before Super Bowl XLI. They were reshown on NFL Network, with slightly more footage, on February 5.
  • On January 30, 2007, iTunes made twelve (#20 through #9 of the countdown) available for purchase at US $1.99 an episode or US $29.99 for the top twenty teams' episodes.[8] All episodes, including the "Missing Rings" episodes are now available.
  • During the top 20 countdown portion of the series, episodes were individually made available on DVD on the NFL's official web store, NFLShop.com, the day after their debut. Each episode's DVD art features a close up of the teams Super Bowl ring.
  • Currently, the only format available is Full Frame DVD. The program was filmed and broadcast in high definition but the DVD collection has been formatted as full frame.
  • Sky Sports began airing the show in August 2007.
  • In Australia America's Game is shown on Ch10 and OneHD.
  • Hulu reached a deal with the NFL and had almost every episode of America's Game viewable for free on their website. As of late 2012, the series is no longer on Hulu.
  • This series has aired on the Televisa Deportes cable network in Mexico in recent years.
  • TSN airs America's Game in Canada.
  • Gaora Sports airs America's Game in Japan.
  • In Australia Channel One HD played America's game during the 2011-2013 NFL Seasons, however 7 Mate took over for the 2014 Season.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "David Robidoux". APM Music. Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  2. ^ "NFL Network and NFL Films win three sports Emmys". NFL.com. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  3. ^ a b Stewart, Larry. "The most super of Super Bowl winners? NFL Network will rank the top 20". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-01-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ Weir, Tom (February 3, 2008). "The Great Debate: If they win, are Pats best ever?". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  5. ^ "Colts on the Air". Colts.com. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  6. ^ "NFL Network Freeview under way now!". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-25. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  7. ^ Advertisement in the New York Post, Sep. 2, 2008
  8. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". iTunes. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 

External links[edit]