Now that several years’ worth of bad press related to the very bad behavior of its athletes and coaches has reached a flashpoint with Michael Vick’s federal indictment on dogfighting charges, the NFL will turn once again to that paragon of professional virtue, Vince Lombardi, in order to clean up its inherently nasty image (I mean, is it anyone surprised that such a violent game produces a bona fide murderer every now and then?). On the surface, this is a sound idea for the scandal plagued league; unfortunately, virtue is a goddamn bore.
And don’t expect the NFL to spice up their Lombardi biopic (based on Jerry Kramer’s and Dick Schapp’s Instant Replay) with even a hint of controversy; this is the same league that pressured ESPN to cancel its popular series Playmakers due to its too realistic representation of life in the league (hot button issues like steroids, homosexuality and domestic violence were dealt with because… they actually fucking exist). Though upscale producer Andrew Hauptman will be working with the league on Lombardi, he’s too green and, therefore, too lacking in leverage to successfully lobby for anything less than a scrubbed-up hagiography.
The narrative will focus on the week of 1967 NFL Championship aka "The Ice Bowl", a legendary contest in which the Packers beat the Cowboys on an impromptu QB sneak by Bart Starr in the game’s closing seconds. Though it’s hard to tell from Variety‘s description, this sounds like the kind of screenplay that will pepper in moments from Lombardi’s life as he preps for the big game. Thrilling.
This quote from Hauptman should give you an idea as to how reverent Lombardi will be: "He had an enormous effect on everyone who met him – at a time when the country was craving leadership." I’m bored to tears already, but it’s a football movie – like I’m not going to watch it.
Production may begin this winter. On the plus side, Hauptman and company have clearance to use Lambeau Field, a location which should be freed up at the conclusion of the regular season.