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The dawn of TV love affair with NFL football

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December 13th, 2008

The Greatest Game Ever Played airs tonight on ESPN from 9pm-11pm EST (6p-8p, PST). Before the AFL and the Super Bowl, the NFL still had a championship game. The 1958 title game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants played in Yankee Stadium was tied through four quarters and wound up resulting in the first "sudden death" overtime. The game is largely credited as the watershed moment where the USA's deep love of NFL football began.

Though the original source was obviously film and nothing digital, ESPN still went about sprucing it up as best it could, colorizing it and is broadcasting the game in high definition. Along with the plays will be commentary from both people who played in the game and their modern day counterparts (often in conversations with each other).

I have seen many clips of the game, and obviously know the outcome, I still want to watch this. Not just because it happened before my time. Not just because it's been colorized and will be broadcast in HD, and not just for the potential joyous opportunity of getting to see Frank Gifford hit hard, even it was 50 years after the fact. Ok, that probably would've been a good enough reason for me.

Before it airs, ESPN will have the 2008 Heisman Trophy Award presentation. And for the first time in years I may be interested in giving that a look. Usually it's pretty clear who is going to win. We know the final three are all quarterbacks -- Tim Tebow of Florida, Colt McCoy of Texas and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. And yes, I am among those who think Texas Tech's Graham Harrell was jobbed by not at least being invited to the ceremonies, but I can't argue with the selection of any of the three who were invited. I'd be happy to see any of them win. If Tebow wins, he'll be only the second person ever to win the award twice. On the other hand, given Archie Griffin's less than stellar NFL career, perhaps Tebow should root for Griffin to remain the only two-time winner of the Heisman.

 
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