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Sports Programming That Appeals to the Senses

13 Jul, 2003 By: Dan Bennett

The frozen tundra of Lambeau field.

A memorable sentence, conjuring images of slow-motion tackles, muddy uniforms, grunting and classical music. For 38 years, NFL Films has entertained fans, and now director Steve Sabol's works arrive on DVD.

Warner Home Video recently released the first installment of the NFL Films Archive Collection. Inside the Vault: Volumes 1-3 (1960-1970) (DVD, $49.98) chronicles the birth of NFL Films and the coming-of-age of the National Football League. Coverage includes coaches Vince Lombardi and Hank Stram, the American Football League and Joe Namath's Super Bowl upset.

“The primary reason NFL Films has enjoyed success is because it has never deviated from bringing pro football fans closer to the game,” said Cory Laslocky, spokesman for NFL Films. “An NFL Films production isn't just seen, it's felt.”

The never-before-seen aspects make it appealing, Laslocky said.

“It shows what the NFL was like in the 1960s and combines it with classic NFL Films features, and includes Jim Brown, George Blanda and the Heidi Bowl,” he said.

Sound also plays an increasing role in Major League Baseball coverage. Q Video and Major League Baseball last week released MLB All-Access Sound (DVD, $19.95), featuring overheard conversations involving Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi and others.

“Professional athletes have always been put on a pedestal by the media and fans,” said Don Spielvogel, director of sales and marketing for Q Video. “Wearing a microphone brings them to a more human level. We eavesdrop and find out they are not that much different than us.”

Interesting, Spielvogel said, are conversations heard in vintage clips of Ted Williams, Reggie Jackson, Stan Musial and Lou Gehrig.

“Back then, TV coverage wasn't anywhere near as comprehensive as now,” Spielvogel said. “Hearing the players speak while in uniform was very rare.”

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