Peter Berg is teaming with the NFL for a TV project to help prevent catastrophic injuries for players just learning the game.
Titled “Heads Up Football,” Berg’s Film 44 shingle and the NFL have been filming at the USA Football Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio, to document how to properly tackle opponents, which will lessen concussions and other serious injuries. Production should last for at least seven months.
“It’s an attempt to reteach the game of football starting at the youngest level,” Berg told Variety. “It’s about teaching new techniques for tackling to avoid catastrophic spinal injuries and concussions.”
Berg is looking to sell “Heads Up Football” to cablers — possibly HBO, ESPN or CNN — as either a one-time special or docuseries. He has a history at HBO, most recently as exec producer of “On Freddie Roach,” a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic boxing trainer.
His passion for football is also well documented: Berg was director of the film “Friday Night Lights” and then morphed that into the critically applauded NBC series that ran for five seasons.
Looking to retreat on the violent nature of the game, the NFL has been more vigilant recently in reprimanding players who make illegal hits on the field. Also, more retired players have come forward after being diagnosed with chronic illnesses that may have been caused by the violence incurred during their playing days.
“This is my top priority,” Berg said. “Everyone understands that if we’re going to change the game, it starts with the young kids. Don’t lower your head. … There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFL wants to do anything they can. Nobody likes this.”