NFL Films has created all kinds of memorable documentaries over the years, but this weekly series about what goes into mounting and covering a game isn’t one of them. Apparently timed to provide a pro football fix to those experiencing post-season withdrawal, the premiere is a rather tedious look at the backstage antics behind the league’s season opener, with future episodes to include the NFL draft, a game played in London and the Super Bowl. For all but the most addicted fans, the prospect of sitting through a second hour should be a punting situation.
“NFL Full Contact” follows the hard-working folks who put events and game coverage together behind the scenes, from the security contingent to veteran cameraman Bob Angelo to studio producer Bardia Shah-Rais, who refers to the atmosphere as “controlled chaos.”
These are high-stress jobs, to be sure, but the challenges wind up being pretty mundane: Finding a missing kid, handling drunken patrons and crowd-control issues, audio problems during the pregame show, and running out of film while shooting the game. Frankly, most of these hurdles could be encountered at any concert or live TV event.
Inasmuch as the NFL remains television’s most consistently reliable ratings franchise, it’s no wonder Turner’s TruTV would make the relatively safe call of picking up the show, but given the material’s narrow appeal, this really belongs on the dedicated NFL Network at best, or as a DVD extra at worst.
“There are no second takes, and when mistakes are made, the whole world witnesses them,” the press release states, trying to conjure excitement surrounding the program.
Perhaps so, but if the world skips “Full Contact,” it won’t be missing much.