|America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions|
|Created by||NFL Films|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||45|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Original channel||NFL Network|
|Original run||November 17, 2006– 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 45 installments profile the first 45 winning teams of the National Football League's annual Super Bowl championship game; each episode chronicles an individual team.
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. Also, Joe Greene appeared twice - on the 1974 and 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers broadcasts. 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. 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?'"
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. 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. 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 2010 Green Bay Packers, debuted on September 7, 2011.
- Although the 1990 New York Giants, winners of Super Bowl XXV, did not make the top 20 as chosen by the Blue Ribbon panel, their episode's debut was moved up from spring 2007 to the free-preview period of NFL Network that was offered on Cablevision and Time Warner Cable in late 2006. The program debuted on December 29 at 12:31 a.m Eastern (December 28, 9:31 p.m. Pacific). It started 31 minutes late because of the length of the Texas Bowl and a full one-hour NFL Total Access that followed. Although most participating systems were located in the New York tri-state area, some cable viewers in Kansas also received it. Alec Baldwin narrated and Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks and Jeff Hostetler told their experiences of the season.
- 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.
The Missing RingsEdit
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. The teams chronicled were the 1998 and 1969 Minnesota Vikings, the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals, the 1981 San Diego Chargers, and the 1990 Buffalo Bills.
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.
Beginning February 8, the NFL Network began to broadcast the remaining twenty champions' episodes. The 2005 Steelers and teams onward were not eligible to be in the Top 20 as the voting was done prior to Super Bowl XL.
Availability outside of the NFL NetworkEdit
- 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. 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 showed on Ch10 and OneHD.
- Hulu reached a deal with the NFL and currently has almost every episode of America's Game viewable for free on their website
- This series has aired on the Televisa Deportes cable network in Mexico in recent years.
- TSN airs America's Game in Canada.
- Tom Flores, who coached the 1983 Raiders team that was ranked #20, released a statement on the Raiders official website calling the ranking "ridiculous" and "a disgrace." He contended that his team was easily among the top 5 Super Bowl winners.
- On the December 21, 2006 edition of NFL Total Access on Location (from Green Bay), Marshall Faulk said he believed the 1999 St. Louis Rams (#19) was the best of all time, while Deion Sanders believed both his 1994 San Francisco 49ers (#17) and 1995 Dallas Cowboys belonged in the top ten. Sanders has also said, on numerous episodes of Total Access, that he believes that not only should the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, winners of Super Bowl XXXV, be included in the top twenty, but likely in the top five.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "NFL Network and NFL Films win three sports Emmys". NFL.com. http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story?id=09000d5d8080fe91&template=without-video&confirm=true.. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Stewart, Larry. "The most super of Super Bowl winners? NFL Network will rank the top 20". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/sports/custom/extras/la-spw-tvcol17nov17,1,3858969.column?coll=la-sports-extras&ctrack=1&cset=true. Retrieved 2007-01-28.[dead link]
- ↑ Weir, Tom (February 3, 2008). "The Great Debate: If they win, are Pats best ever?". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/patriots/2008-01-31-patriots-greatest-bonus_N.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- ↑ "Colts on the Air". Colts.com. http://www.colts.com/sub.cfm?page=article7&news_id=e2bf37bd-f7ac-45bc-af65-7e5a8d79e6f5. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
- ↑ "NFL Network Freeview under way now!". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-25. http://web.archive.org/web/20070125152535/http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/story/9893219. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- ↑ Advertisement in the New York Post, Sep. 2, 2008
- ↑ "Flores Calls Ranking 'Ridiculous'". Raiders.com. http://www.raiders.com/newsroom/newsroomNewsDetail.jsp?id=29225. Retrieved 2007-01-28.[dead link]
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