STUDIO: Warner Home Video

MSRP: $19.98

RATED: Not Rated

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

•  Shots of the Year
•  Players Wired
•  Coaches Wired
   •  Sounds of Summer
   •  The Game of Chance

The Pitch

Want to enjoy pro football without having to spend all that time in front of the TV soaking in all the drama and excitement of the games as they unfold?  Well, here ya go.

The Humans

Countless behemoths who play professional football for a living, most of whom played for winning teams — Chris Johnson, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees to name a few.

The Nutshell

As a recap of the 2009 football season, NFL Films put together this extended montage of best-of clips and behind-the-scenes footage to give the briefest of overviews of how the New Orleans Saints matched up with the Indianapolis Colts to do battle for the holy grail of football: the Super Bowl championship.

“Did you see that run I just had!?”
“Hell yeah! But, brother, I can’t talk to you when you got something in your teeth like that.  Hold on lemme get that for ya.”

The Lowdown

Football has become America’s sport.  While baseball will always remain our pastime, when it comes to popularity, football has taken over.  Just ask how many of your friends play fantasy football and you’ll find out how many people pay attention to the sport, even if just casually.  (My own girlfriend just joined a league this year!)  Even current — not former — superstars from the gridiron get their own reality TV shows — as if T.O. isn’t in the spotlight enough as it is.  Kickoff of the first game of the season just took place last Thursday night, hauling in the best ratings for a regular season game in 13 years and NBC’s highest-rated regular-season game ever.

And even if you can’t stand it, one thing that you have to admire is the quality of the games’ cinematography.  Not just from the contests themselves — although, there are spectacular shots taken there, too — but, also from the documentaries chronicling different aspects of the sport and its players and coaches.  Taking a look at NFL: Run for the Championship – 2009 Season in Review, you get a taste of the amount of talent behind the cameras at these games, from slo-mo leaps into the air of players stretching out for touchdown passes to the tight spiral of the pigskin as it darts through the air to capturing candid shots of players and coaches interacting throughout the games. 

It’s amazing how similar 2010 already is to 2009.

As a huge fan of football, a mere compilation of great plays would be enough to keep me entertained, especially during the off-season when Friday Night Lights has already finished up for the year.  But this DVD actually gives us a glimpse into the actual game itself as experienced by those playing it – not just from the point of view of a spectator – my favorites of which let us hear what’s said on the field itself between coaches and the refs as well as between the athletes themselves.  It offers some down-to-earth humanity to these larger-than-life figures who spend their time earning millions because of their extraordinary talents.  Plus, whenever I see players jawing at each other, I always wonder what the hell they could possibly be saying to each other at that moment.  This DVD gave us some tidbits of that sort, but I would’ve liked even more.

“How’s your wife and my kids?”
“Seriously? Isn’t that movie like 25 years old now?  And about baseball?”
“I’m serious.  You married my ex and you’re now my kids’ step-dad.”
“Oh, that’s right.  They’re great…  But she’s driving me nuts.”

The first half focuses on the various story lines that dominated the 2009 season — Chris Johnson’s 2006-yard rushing record, the number of quarterbacks throwing for more yardage than ever before, the tragic deaths of a Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and a coach’s wife, as well as a general recap of the better games of the season.  And then the rest of the movie showcases the playoffs, which culminated in the historically inept Saints of New Orleans upsetting three-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts for the Lombardi Trophy. 

A great way to get pumped up for the new season — as if we weren’t already — that has just descended upon us this weekend, much to the chagrin of many fantasy football team owners come Tuesday morning who wish they could continue to bask in the pre-season potential of their picks that just didn’t quite catch fire this weekend like they’d hoped (why the hell did I play a Cleveland Brown and a Detroit Lion?!).  Which brings up the issue with these DVDs in general — most fans are interested in how their teams are going to do this year, not how they did last year (defending champions excepted, of course, who will gloat for years to come).  Because unless your road to the Super Bowl involved your beloved hometown heroes winning the whole thing, you’d probably like to forget the failures of last year and instead look forward to the promise that this year will finally bring the glory you’ve been aching for. 

Coach made the right decision.  Not about the touchdown, but about choosing Degree anti-perspirant.  Dry and no white marks!

The Package

Looks fantastic.  NFL Films knows how to shoot football games and they don’t disappoint here, which is mainly comprised of footage from actual contests from the 2009 campaign.  Games are now shot in HD, so while it’s still a DVD that you’re watching here, it looks damned good.  The extras are for die-hard fans, especially.  In particular, I dug the Coaches Wired segment — for some reason I’m always curious about what they say while there on the sidelines. 

7.5 out of 10

Say what you want about the Jets and their fans, but I have to say that it’s so refreshing to see a homemade sign by a fanatic American spelled correctly for once.