Watch A Football Life

A Football Life is an Emmy-nominated documentary series that was created and produced by NFL Films. It was originally planned as a single documentary film profiling legendary football coach Bill Parcells. After the success of that initial program, the NFL Network began to air it as an episodic series.

The show is notable for going into deep detail about a football player's life, often following his career from childhood leagues to college and eventually to the pros. The show features vintage footage and interviews as well as observations from league officials, family members, teammates, coaches, industry insiders and sports writers. When possible the show would also have new in-depth recent interviews with the subject themselves.

Not all of the subjects were players. Several coaches were profiled as well. A few episodes covered certain groups of players or notable NFL moments. The Los Angeles Rams' famous defensive line the Fearsome Foursome were profiled as a group, and one episode details a 1972 game between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. That game was historic because it featured one of the single most famous plays in the league's history, the Immaculate Reception. Philadelphia Eagle teammates Reggie White and Jerome Brown were profiled as a pair. One interesting episode of A Football Life featured an entire franchise and city when it profiled the city of Cleveland and the 1995 Browns team. NFL Films also had an episode that paid homage to the company's president and founder, Ed Sabol.

In addition to those special editions the show has also featured episodes about NFL superstar players, owners and coaches from the past and the present such as Tom Landry, Bill Belichick, Reggie White, Walter Payton, Kurt Warner, Mike Ditka, Tim Tebow, Ray Lewis, Al Davis, Steve McNair, Jimmy Johnson, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Tom Coughlin and Barry Sanders.

Wednesday 8:00 PM et/pt on NFL Network
1 Season, 118 Episodes
August 29, 2011
Documentary & Biography, Family, Sports, Talk & Interview
8.6/10
Cast: Jenn Brown, Bill Belichick, Troy Aikman, Steve Young
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Clips & Extras

A Football Life Full Episode Guide

  • "The Thurmanator" led the NFL in yards from scrimmage four straight seasons. And he scored TDs in four straight Super Bowls. Yet Thomas's best trait was turning his biggest disappointments into motivation for his greatest triumphs.

  • He set the standard for defensive ends. An unstoppable force who helped lead the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances on his way to becoming the NFL's all-time sack king.

  • He was the heart of the 49ers dynasty. An intimidating enforcer who became the prototype for defensive backs earning four Super Bowl rings and a gold jacket.

  • He described himself as the worst player on his youth football team, but he became the NFL's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards by a tight end, and a first ballot Hall of Famer.

  • A Hall of Famer who won four Super Bowls as the Steelers quarterback and still enjoys his football life today after 35 years as a television analyst.

  • The Thurmanator led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage four straight seasons and scored a touchdown in four straight Super Bowls. Yet throughout his life, his best trait was being able to take his biggest disappointments and turn them into motivation for his greatest triumphs.

  • "Doug Williams: A Football Life" - He grew up without running water in rural Louisiana. He played quarterback in an era when few African Americans did, overcoming prejudice and hardship to become a Heisman candidate, a first round draft pick, and ultimately, a Super Bowl MVP.

  • "Cris Collinsworth: A Football Life" - First, he transformed from a gangly, rail-thin, 6-foot-5 Florida high school sprint champion to a star receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. After football, he evolved from an HBO feature reporter/funnyman to the most respected and decorated analyst in sports broadcasting.

  • "Mike Holmgren: A Football Life" - He led two franchises to the Super Bowl and did something no coach had done in Green Bay since Vince Lombardi--win a title. He's also considered one of the great quarterback whisperers of all time, having coached Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Steve Young and Brett Favre.

  • "Bill Cowher: A Football Life" - He grew up in a Pittsburgh suburb, and as the Steelers head coach he won eight division titles and a Super Bowl championship. He'll always be known for his Western Pennsylvania roots and blue-collar toughness, but Bill Cowher now has a new home, and a softer side.

  • "Dwight Clark: A Football Life" - The story of the former 49ers wide receiver who thought he wouldn't make the team-but went on to make "The Catch," arguably the single greatest reception in NFL history. The play propelled San Francisco to a decade of dominance in the 1980s that saw the team win four Super Bowl titles. Stricken with ALS in his later years, Clark died on June 4, 2018.

  • "Brian Dawkins: A Football Life" - He was known as Weapon X on the field, but he was a gentle family man off it. A Football Life: Brian Dawkins looks at the two sides of Dawkins, from the beginnings of his superstar career, through his battles with depression, all the way to the Hall of Fame.

  • "Willie McGinest: A Football Life" - He played for a high school known for producing NFL players. At USC he became an All American. And he helped turn the New England Patriots into a dynasty. Willie McGinest is no stranger to success, but his journey to the top of the football world had anything but a smooth start.

  • "Tony Romo: A Football Life" - The story of how a perfectionist with a love for sports went from small-town Wisconsin to become the face of America's Team for nearly a decade.

  • "Lawrence Taylor: A Football Life" - L.T. has been in the spotlight from the moment he stepped into the NFL, and as destructive as he was on the field as one of the best defensive players of all time, he may have been more destructive to himself off the field. Through three decades of interviews, Taylor gives raw, unfiltered, honest answers about the highest and lowest points in a triumphant and tumultuous football life.

  • "Carson Palmer: A Football Life" - The golden boy with the golden arm won the Heisman Trophy at USC and was the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. In the NFL, he endured two torn ACLs, two trades, and one very public disagreement with an owner. But he still managed a 15-year career, and currently ranks 12th all-time in passing yards and touchdown passes.

A Football Life Video Clips & Extras

Mike Singletary | 'A Football Life': Old School Intensity | NFL Clip (04:55) Mike Singletary | 'A Football Life': The Quarterback on Defense | NFL Clip (04:42) Bruce Arians "The QB Whisperer" Tutors Peyton Manning & Big Ben | A Football Life | NFL Network Clip (03:14) Charles Haley "The Elephant in the Room" | A Football Life | NFL Clip (02:39)

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