“Before The League” Early American Football Documentary To Premiere at Pro Football Hall of Fame
Debut of six-part series on the origins of the NFL set for Tuesday, October 27
CANTON, OH (October 13, 2015) – As football celebrates the NFL’s 95th season, a historic sports documentary titled “Before The League” will be introduced at a luncheon at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, October 27 before its broadcast premiere on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in November.
“Before the League” is a six-part groundbreaking series chronicling the history of professional football. A preview will be presented at the luncheon event, which will include a roundtable discussion moderated by Hall of Fame Running Back Floyd Little. Joining Little will be featured contributors Chris Willis of NFL Films, Jim Thorpe biographer Kate Buford and Joe Horrigan of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Pro football is the rags-to-riches story of the United States – that anything is possible if you believe in something and you work hard at it,’’ said Chris Willis of NFL Films. “The people and communities involved in the early years of pro football – many from Ohio and the Midwest– proved that you can build something from scratch to something as big as pro football and the NFL is today.”
With footage and interviews from across Ohio, Wisconsin and New York, “Before the League” covers unique story lines such Charles Follis, one of the first players to break the color barrier of pro football with the Shelby (OH) Blues; the controversy of football’s first paid player; the only all-Native American professional football team (from LaRue, OH); the sport’s first superstar (Jim Thorpe); the site of the first NFL game (Dayton, OH); the origins of some of today’s biggest football franchises (Green Bay Packers); and the impact on today’s pro game.
“Before the League” examines how small towns like Canton and Massillon (OH) were the blueprint for fielding early pro teams as well as fostering healthy rivalries. As precursors to the NFL, teams like the Akron Pros, Dayton Triangles, Portsmouth (OH) Spartans, Ironton (OH) Tanks, Shelby (OH) Blues, Oorang (OH) Indians, Rochester (NY) Jeffersons, Buffalo (NY) All-Americans, Milwaukee Badgers and Columbus Panhandles laid the groundwork for the successes of today’s big city teams.
“If you’re a football fan, there is no better way to celebrate the history of professional football than seeing ‘Before The League,’” said Jason Pheister, Vice President/GM of Time Warner Cable SportsChannels. “Most people don’t realize that America’s biggest sport is rooted in small Midwestern towns which is why this story had to be told. ‘Before The League’ interlaces the fascinating stories of deep passion and pride that ultimately led to the formation of the NFL. ”
The documentary series will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel across the country over two consecutive nights November 17-18, 2015.
“Before the League” was produced for Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, in partnership with independent producers and artists and support from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The documentary series includes never before filmed memorabilia and photos from historians and private collectors and required three years of research, production and editing.
For more information on “Before The League” visit www.BeforeTheLeague.com.
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