American Football Database
Brian's Song
Directed byJohn Gray
Written byGale Sayers, Al Silverman (original book); William Blinn (teleplay)
  • Sean Maher
  • Mekhi Phifer
  • Paula Cale
  • Elise Neal
  • Ben Gazzara
StudioColumbia TriStar Television
Release date(s)
  • December 2, 2001 (2001-12-02)
Running time88 minutes
CountryUnited States

Brian's Song is the 2001 remake of the 1971 television film Brian's Song, which re-tells the story of Brian Piccolo (Sean Maher), a white football player who meets, clashes with and befriends Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers (Mekhi Phifer), an eventual Hall of Fame African American football player on the same team. The movie was adapted from Sayers own words in his autobiography, I am Third. The television movie, produced by Columbia TriStar Television, was first broadcast in the US on The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC.

In the movie, Piccolo is a slightly arrogant, narcissistic Bears player. Thinking Sayers is the arrogant one, when he is only quiet and a slight bit anti-social, they rub each other the wrong way from the moment they meet. The movie, taking place in the time of the Civil Rights Movement, places great emphasis on integration, bringing up the conflict of when Brian and Gale room together for their first football season.


Brian and Gale aren't friends in the beginning, in fact they are rivals. Brian, during their season together, was always one-upped by Gale, never being in the spotlight. After their first season, Brian pledges to beat Gale and take his position on the team.

During their second season, Gale is still named running back. After he is injured during one of his games and loses hope of ever playing again, Brian resorts to taking charge of his rehabilitation, on the basis that if Gale gives up, and Brian rises to the top, he would have made it only on a chance and not by his own prowess. The two bond during this time, and soon become good friends.

Brian is diagnosed with cancer during one of their seasons. The treatments and radiation therapy only do so much, and every time it seems as if everything is getting better, the cancer shows up again, someplace else, and soon Brian dies from the disease. During this time, Gale stays by his side.

External links

fr:La Ballade de Ryan