In addition to today’s column (linked here):
Joe Lavine, who produced HBO’s “Breaking The Huddle” and did most of the interviews himself, says he has probably enough material gathered to do a documentary alone on that 1970 USC-Alabama game but he doubts it will happen because of what this project seems to have accomplished.
And that’s a shame.
You’d think with HBO’s ability to stretch time and budgets beyond what any other network can do, and its track record in the sports documentary field — 56 documentaries since 1991, seven Peabody Awards and 27 Sports Emmy Awards — a perfect Part II to this would be an extensive look at this particular game.
Just hold of showing “Dude, Where’s My Car” a few times over the next couple of weeks?
Lavine, for instance, could examine what many believe happened after the game — did Bear Bryant go to the USC locker room, put his arm around Sam Cunningham’s shoulder, take him over to the Alabama locker room and told his team, “This is what a football player looks like,” or didn’t he? Because Cunningham himself doesn’t recall it ever happening, and the story can’t be verified by other sources, it is left out of this documentary and given to the way of legendary myth.
Which is fine, but why not address it with an online version of the story? With all the extra footage HBO collected with interviews of Cunningham (who is only in this documentary once), John Papadakis, Jimmy Jones and the late Craig Fertig, not to mention all those on the Alabama side, why not produce a documentary on the game, and put it on the HBO website?
Meanwhile, the movie rights to the Papadakis-Cunningham book, “Turning the Tide: How One Game Changed the South” (linked here) have been optioned to Woodland Hills-based Allumination FilmWorks (company link here). So a Hollywood version of that game could/should be coming sometime.
==Another good read, as background to this documentary, is Keith Dunnavant’s 2006 book “The Missing Ring: How Bear Bryant and the 1966 Alabama Crimson Tide Were Denied College Football’s Most Elusive Prize” (linked here). Dunnavant is on camera several times in the “Breaking The Huddle” documentary, with this particular episode — Alabama losing the national title despite winning all its games and finishing No. 3 in the polls behind Notre Dame and Michigan State — setting the groudwork for the 1970 USC-Alabama contest.