“The Last Dance”, “Beyond The Mat”, and “The Captain”. All three are some of the most memorable sports documentaries/documentary series’. There seems to have been an abundance of sports documentaries coming out in the past decade or so. At least more in that timeframe than ever before. I myself, have gotten into watching more of them. The aforementioned “The Captain”, which is a docu-series about New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter, is one of my favorites as of recently.
With my newfound interest in sports docs, I thought why not give a few ideas for some new documentaries that I, and others (in my opinion) would enjoy and/or like to see. Below is my list of 3 sports documentaries that ESPN or some other company, should think about putting into production. With my own titles to boot.
“The Man Behind The Colorful Suit(s): The Craig Sager Story”
While it’s good to get the story of a legendary player, or legendary coach. There should be more light shined on the sideline reporters and the commentators. Craig Sager is one of the most legendary and revered sideline reporters to ever grace the sports world. Most notably the hardwood of the NBA. I mean when you can get Greg Poppovich to crack a smile or miss you interviewing him, like Sager did. That’s when you know you’re doing something right.
He was the man that braved a scrum as Hank Aaron made his way to score after hitting his then record setting 715th Home Run, just to get an interview about the moment.
Other than his “tireless work ethic” as put by Turner Networks president David Levy, there was another thing that made Craig memorable and set him apart from the rest. That would be his colorful, sometimes eccentric looking, attire you would see him wear on the sidelines. Which is why I suggested the title that you see in the heading. Strong in his sense of self to wear the “wacky suits”, and strong in his fight of Leukemia.
A fight that lasted two years, and saw him leave the game he loved for over a year. Triumphantly coming back in the middle of that fight to give us a few more moments on the sidelines. Saw him win the Jimmy V Perseverance ESPY and give a speech worth quoting. Just like the namesake of the award: “I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life, as life sucks the marrow out of me. I will live my life full of love and full of fun. It’s the only way I know how.” Mr. Sager deserves to be seen before the colorful suits and after, in all his legendary glory.
“Punter To Pundit: The Pat McAfee Story”
This next idea, is one that I think any football fan would surely love to see. Pat McAfee, to me, is one of the most electrifying personalities in all of sports. If not the most in all the land. If you have ever seen Pat McAfee on “College Gameday”, or broadcasting a CFB game, or even seen him on WWE SmackDown. But most of all, listened to his podcast, “The Pat McAfee Show”. Then you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, then you’re kind of missing out.
Mcafee, who was a Punter for the Indianapolis Colts for 8 seasons, has since built somewhat of a media empire. Becoming one of the most trusted minds in the world of Football. Something that started during his playing days on a much smaller scale. You can see him on “College Gameday”, on ESPN2 simulcasts during the primetime slot of CFB Saturdays. Just to name a couple things. His “money-maker” is his podcast though. He chats about anything and everything football with is crew of humorous and knowledgeable friends. He even has Aaron Rodgers come on every Tuesday, along with many other high-profile guests.
McAfee’s life before the NFL also seems to be something that is intriguing, not just how he built his newfound career after the NFL. Sprinkle in some noteworthy plays/moments/teammates in there and you’ve got a documentary plenty of people would watch.
To read more on how McAfee started what he’s blossomed his career into, here is a great story on him by TheAthletic.com’s Bob Kravitz: “How Pat McAfee went from punter to media superstardom”
“33 Innings Later”
In 1981, two minor league baseball teams played a “marathon” baseball game, if you will, that lasted 33 innings. The game lasted 8 hours and 25 minutes total, and included two future MLB Hall of Famers. Cal Ripken Jr. (Baseball’s Iron Man), and Wade Boggs. This one is already a documentary in one form, podcast form (“The Longest Game” on ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts). But it should be brought to the film side of it as well.
The game started with a delay, there was wind difficulties, warmth was an issue for players and fans. Not to mention, they had to finish the game two months later due to scheduling issues. People were checking on family that had went to the game. Just too many things occurred during this game that would make it such an entertaining and knowledge-giving documentary.
Those are 3 sports documentaries, I think most sports fans and even some non-sports fans, would love to see put on a streaming service/in a theater/on DVD.