A Football Life (2011– )
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Episode credited cast:
Rick Bertetto Rick Bertetto ... Himself
Adolpho Birch Adolpho Birch ... Himself
Doug Buffone Doug Buffone ... Himself
Gaylon Bullard Gaylon Bullard ... Himself
Dick Butkus ... Himself
Helen Butkus Helen Butkus ... Herself
Matt Butkus Matt Butkus ... Himself
Nikki Butkus Nikki Butkus ... Herself
Ricky Butkus Ricky Butkus ... Himself
James Caan ... Brian Piccolo (archive footage)
Adam Carolla ... Himself (archive footage)
Mike Ditka ... Himself
George Halas George Halas ... Himself (archive footage)
Deacon Jones Deacon Jones ... Himself (archive footage)
Jerry Markbreit Jerry Markbreit ... Himself


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Release Date:

28 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

NFL Productions See more »
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User Reviews

Double Dose of Diamonds
25 February 2015 | by redryan64See all my reviews

EPISODES OF THIS NFL Films series give a biographical close-up on the lives and careers of the various men who made the National Football League what it is and has been to America and the World. Outstanding Players and Coaches are profiled in depth; giving the viewer the full picture of not just the player/coach, but the entire living, breathing and real-life person.

IN THIS PARTICULAR episode, the nigh-well impossible job of spotlighting two very different yet outstandingly talented players whose professional careers were tightly intertwined from the start to their both ending up prematurely. The story is also one of other team mates (such as "Da Coach", Mike Ditka); as well as the Chicago Bears team itself.

IN WHAT MUST truly be an all time great example of lightning striking not only twice, but also "back to back", we have the NFL 1965 Draft. Through trades in previous seasons, 'Papa Bear' George Halas had acquired 2 additional picks on the first round; being the 3rd, 4th and 6th overall picks. Mr. Halas and Company did their homework quite well and came up with Linebacker Dick Butkus (Illinois) as number 3 and Halfback Gale Sayres (Kansas) in the number 4 slot.*

THIS WAS ONE of those stranger than fiction cases that would be classified as unbelievable if it had been seen in a Hollywood Picture. What the Bears organization had done was to sign two men who are arguably the very best at their particular positions of all time. Sayres the Kansas Comet, could run like lightning and cut, changing directions on a dime without loosing any speed. Butkus the personification of destruction had a complete set of skills to match his bone crunching play at middle linebacker. (He led the Bears in pass interceptions, fumble recoveries as well in tackles in that rookie season of 1965.)

THE EPISODE ALSO tells of fellow rookie team mate, fullback Brian Piccolo (Wake Forest), whose own career would be cut even shorter because of his being diagnosed with cancer, succumbing to the disease at age 26. The movie BRIAN'S SONG told the story of the close friendship shared by Piccolo and Sayres from training camp in 1965 until Brian's death June 16, 1970.

THE STORY GIVES us a great look back into history and compliments it with portraits of the men today, years after Football; Gale Sayres having gone into business and Dick Butkus becoming a movie and television actor. Both have also established charitable foundations that lend helping hands to those less fortunate.

JUST CALL IT a double case of "giving back", NFL style.

NOTE: * As the number 6 overall pick, the Bears selected tackle Steve DeLong (Tennessee), but failed to sign him. At that time, the NFL and American Football League were rivals (before the merger) and conducted two competing drafts of college players. DeLong chose to go with the AFL San Diego Chargers (but years later did play for Chicago). Someone reported that the Bears made the mistake of bringing Steve to Chicago in January.

Just for the record, the Bears faced AFL draft competition from the Kansas City Chiefs (for Sayres) and the Denver Broncos (Butkus).

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