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Football Follies are collections of American football bloopers performed by National Football League players. Produced by NFL Films, these collections also spoof parts of popular culture. Mel Blanc joined in the fun in 1976 with The Son of Football Follies, and returned (in one of his final efforts) in 1989 for The Super Duper Football Follies. In addition, Jonathan Winters was featured in 1987's The NFL TV Follies, intended as a parody of the relationship between football and television.
The First Football Follies
The first film using sports bloopers to satirize PR hype nearly didn't get off the ground. The coaching staff of the Philadelphia Eagles brought the film to the Eagles training camp in 1969, but feared that the Eagle players would be angry when they saw the mistakes made by themselves and other NFL players. Instead, the film was met with roaring laughter, and was an instant hit with the players.
Soon, Johnny Carson began airing those football foul-ups on The Tonight Show in 1969 as a weekly series, with a popular response from football fans. The Football Follies were officially produced by NFL Films in 1968.
Best of the Football Follies
In 1985, NFL Films released The Best of the Football Follies, a look back at some of the series' highlights. This special features two new segments: The story of two teams whose history was filled with follies - the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the lovable losers the New Orleans Saints, who had gone 78-203 in their history with only two seasons at .500 (both teams would win Super Bowls in the decades following the special); the special also included outtakes from the NFL's Best Ever Coaches (produced in 1981), focusing on head coaches (notably Dick Vermeil during the 1980 NFC Championship Game and Hank Stram at Super Bowl IV) who were wired for sound.
100 Greatest Follies
In the 1994, as part of NFL Films' celebration of NFL's 75th anniversary, 100 Greatest Follies counted down the 100 greatest bloopers in NFL history, chosen, according to the video's promotion, a "secret ballot" in NFL Films. The 100 follies shown, with the exception of follies 1-10, were not shown in numerical order, but were categorized by how certain follies related by different topics. The list of the categories were as follows:
- "It Made History" - Follies that made an impact on the NFL, whether it was through team strategy, the NFL's rulebook, or the record books.
- "What Were They Thinking?" - Follies caused by the players' own lapse in judgment.
- "With Friends Like These..." - Follies occurring to players that were caused by their own teammates.
- "The More The Merrier" - Follies where multiple players were involved.
- "End Zone Antics" - Follies that happened either in or around the end zone.
- "All's Well That Ends Well" - Follies that ended up turning out positive for the players or teams who perpetrated the folly.
- "They Pay The Freight" - Follies where the fans were involved.
- "The Bermuda Triangle" - Follies that occurred on the sidelines.
- "Strange But True" - Follies so strange that they were considered never able to happen again.
- "Forever Young" - Follies where NFL quarterback Steve Young was involved, with Young himself providing insight into the follies.
- "Dave Krieg Lifetime Achievement Award" - Follies that involved quarterback Dave Krieg, who was well known at the time for committing more fumbles than any other player in league history.
- "Those Zany Saints" - Follies that were committed by the New Orleans Saints during their hapless years.
- "The Top Ten" - The top 10 greatest follies in NFL history.
Several imitators have surfaced in response to the original Football Follies, even in sports other than football. Below is a list of sequels and imitators, listed by year:
- The Football Follies - 1968
- Those Fantastic Football Follies - 1970
- Son of Football Follies - 1976 - featuring voices by Mel Blanc
- A Festival of Funnies - 1980 - includes a short set entirely to music about a boy who manages to score a touchdown on a team of older boys
- The NFL Symfunny - 1980
- NFL Follies Go Hollywood - 1983 - features a rare onscreen appearance by John Facenda
- The Best of the Football Follies - 1985
- The All New NFL Football Follies - 1986
- The NFL TV Follies - 1987 - starring Jonathan Winters
- The Super Duper Football Follies - 1989
- Football Follies on Parade - 1990
- Phenomenal Football Follies - 1990
- Foul-ups, Fumbles & Follies - 1991
- Football Card Follies - 1992 - Includes actual football cards' mistakes and errors.
- 100 Greatest Follies - 1994
- NFL's Newest Follies - 1995 - hosted by Dom Irrera
- Offsides - 1995
- Best of NFL follies - 1996
- Talkin' Follies - 1997
- The Nfl All-Star Follies - 1999
- 21st Century Follies - 2000 - narrated by Sara Moon
- Football Comedy - 2003
- Follies The Next Generation - 2005 - hosted by Nick Bakay
- Legends of the follies - 2007
- 2007 Fall follies - 2007 - Includes spoof of America's Game portraying the 2007 Dolphins
- NFL Top 10 Follies - 2009
- NFL New Year's Mis-tackular - 2009
- NFL Holiday Spectacular - 2011
(Note: Titles in this list are licensed by the NFL.)