During the offseason, NFL fans are often found counting down the days until the next milestone event. Those landmark dates are fewer and far between after the draft until the start of training camp. Because of this extended quiet period, NFL fans will need to look elsewhere in order to get their fix of content. The best NFL documentaries can help fill the void during this time, and even educate fans about aspects of the game that they had not had much exposure to in the past.
Best American football documentaries
NFL Films documentaries are often the most popular content in this realm, but it isn’t the only option.
NFL Documentaries on Netflix
While it may not be the most uplifting of tales, the documentary chronicling the life of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is probably the most NFL relevant content on Netflix right now. Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski formed one of the more imposing tandems at the position in league history in the early part of the last decade.
However, Hernandez had a disturbing personal life that ultimately led him to being convicted of murder. “Killer Inside: The Mind Of Aaron Hernandez” was made in three parts.
For a bit of a change of pace, fans can also check out Last Chance U. It doesn’t really have too much NFL crossover appeal, but it does focus in on lower levels of college football. Most fans are familiar with the large division one FBS schools like Ohio State and USC, but don’t think too much about schools with smaller budgets outside the most popular conferences. The series shines a light on junior college programs and their players to give fans a glimpse of how things really work.
Best NFL Documentaries
It’s difficult to give the Lombardi Trophy to one documentary given the amount the league has been featured. But ESPN’s 30 for 30 has come out with many compelling stories since it was created in the last decade. We’ll highlight a couple of well regarded NFL 30 for 30’s here that certainly worth the watch.
Straight Outta L.A.
This film highlights the connection the Raiders had with one of their previous NFL homes, Los Angeles. From 1982 through 1994, the Raiders quickly became one of the more popular teams in the city, despite having spent the first 21 years of their existing up the coast in Oakland.
The documentary goes into how the Raiders rough and tumble style of play won over many fans in the inner city. The silver and black became not just a fashion trend, but an identity for a fan base who flocked to the L.A. Coliseum each Sunday to support their team.
Elway to Marino
The 2021 NFL Draft was exciting because five potential difference making quarterbacks were selected in the first round. There was a similar run of players under center in the 1984 NFL Draft, which ended up producing a couple of the most legendary quarterbacks in league history.
John Elway was drafted first overall by the Baltimore Colts, but had no intention of playing for the team. He forced them to trade his rights to the Denver Broncos and the rest, as they say, is history. Dan Marino had to wait a little bit longer to hear his name called, and the documentary goes into the slide he lived through that night. He was ultimately drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the 27th overall pick, and became one of the most prolific passers the game has ever seen.
NFL Films documentaries
NFL Films has long been a gold mine of content for many decades now. Founded by iconic storyteller and NFL fan Steve Sabol, NFL Films rarely cuts corners on their documentaries, and continues to put out compelling and educational documentaries.
Some of their most recent work is featured on NFL Network, profiling NFL greats via a series called “A Football Life.”
There are 116 episodes about the life and careers of many notable and immortal Hall of Famers, such as Terry Bradshaw, Bruce Smith and Brett Favre. The series also takes a closer look at other players and coaches who impacted the league in different ways, like Michael Vick, John Madden and Sean Taylor.
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