John Facenda was so amazing. I always thought he could make the most third-rate small-town PeeWee football matchup sound like the game of the century, if he wanted to.
[Mark Suszko]"NFL films changed so much about how the game was viewed."
NFL Films changed a lot about everything. Especially in their 16mm days I was always amazed at how good their shooters were, able to zero in on long passes from an endzone position, while shooting telephoto lenses and super-high frame rates.
On the occasional times we break from commercial production and do something longer-form, I'm always harping about writing to the pictures we have or know we can get... rather than just pounding out copy and then worrying about whether we have the visuals (writers that do that is a huge pet peeve of mine). NFL films took that to the extreme. After a game's film was developed that night, they would cut the entire finished show... with no copy, no dialog, no narrator. They first wanted to make it look good, make sense, and visually flow. After the game was completely edited, then a writer would watch it and craft Facenda's script to match. That was the ultimate "writing to the pictures," and it worked beautifully.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc. fantasticplastic.com
The poetic nature of the narration copy, the lyrical quality, elevated the material, gave it significance way beyond a simple game. The games were always framed in broad metaphors, dripping with grave import. Facenda's pipes were the icing on the cake. He's in that very small group with Nordine, Frees, and a few others, with the real Golden Throats.