Judge Ryan Keefer likes quarterbacks, especially when they come from the snack machine at Verdict offices. See, see what he did there?
Leaders. Legends. Heroes.
It's been about three months since Brett Favre announced his retirement from pro football, ending a career that has been tumultuous at times, but will most certainly be destined for the Hall of Fame. So I think that while this compilation of the National Football League's most marketable and recognizable names is fun, The Quarterbacks feels like a little bit of a cash grab of sorts, as the disc touts showing footage from Favre's retirement announcement.
The feature itself runs a little over an hour, with looks at the lives and careers of Favre, Indianapolis Colts marquee gunslinger Peyton Manning, and New England Patriots field general Tom Brady. The feature looks at each player concurrently, starting from their childhoods and going through high school, college and their memorable moments as a pro. There is interview footage from all three subjects, though it seems to feel like the footage itself is largely redundant. Having said that, I notice that some of the actual subject footage was stuff that I hadn't seen before. The footage might feel new largely because I haven't viewed any extended individual pieces on Brady and Manning (I've seen a standalone feature on Favre and the review of it can be found within the Verdict coffers). The three are shown growing up as boys, and if you haven't seen some of that footage, it can be summed up this way: Favre has a mullet, Brady looks suave next to his kind of mannish looking sisters, who were apparently also accomplished athletes growing up, and Peyton, god bless him, had that Frankenstein-sized forehead even as a toddler. Along with some candid discussions both by microphone (Favre loves to cut up while on the sideline) or during an interview segment (Brady recalls the advice from Bledsoe just before the game winning drive to his first Super Bowl win), there's something in there that you can gleam from or get a chuckle in watching.
However, it's the creative direction that The Quarterbacks takes that's a little bit on the confusing side. In examining the exploits of Messrs. Manning, Brady and Favre, the doc examines the lives and careers of each athlete hand in hand with one another so that, by sticking to a strategy of trying to make sure there were common points in each career, circumstances make the common points a little silly from time to time. Let's face facts: Brady really hasn't had to deal with a lot of adversity, so trying to perhaps infer some conflict in him with Favre's game that he played the day after losing his father was a bit of a miss. And hey, they each play with injuries. Favre played with a broken thumb for a time during his record consecutive games started streak. Manning…well…he bent his nail back on his follow-through during a key game. Now, even though I have some idea that digit discomfort when you're a quarterback is a bit problematic for such a position, it does kind of sound like he was whining about it. In the interest of full disclosure, Manning and the Colts aren't my particular cup of tea, but even impartially I would think that people would see that it's a little misguided, and perhaps NFL Films should have directed their attention to the three men's careers concurrently, rather than all three at once.
Technically, things are pretty straightforward on The Quarterbacks, with the feature presented in full frame and two-channel Dolby surround that reproduces the action accurately and competently. There's also some additional footage on each subject, with the longest piece focusing on Favre and those who've held the clipboard for the Green Bay quarterback over the years.
Is this ultimately worth your time and hard-earned money? For the sake of footage that some may not have seen before and for fans of any of these players, sure, absolutely. But with an NFL network that has to fill a 24-hour programming schedule, you're probably bound to see this on TV before making a decision to buy it on video, and I'd encourage you to make that decision before shelling out the benjamins.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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