Back in September, ESPN Films announced the next round of 30 for 30 documentaries. The announcement doubled as a glimpse into the company’s strategy of premiering content such as this on ESPN+, the company’s multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service (which uses access to the whole 30 for 30 library as a key selling point).
The first film of the new slate, “Seau,” was the second to premiere on that platform (read our review here), following “The Last Days of Knight.” Both films eventually appeared on ESPN as well. The good news for non-ESPN+ subscribers is that while that strategy is in play, it’s not a prerequisite of all 30 for 30 docs from here on out. “42 to 1,” which chronicled Buster Douglas’ shocking knockout of the then-undefeated Mike Tyson in 1990, premiered on ESPN on December 11 (read our review here). And the third film in the slate will also premiere directly on ESPN.
We already knew that it would chronicle 24 hours in October of 1992 when Deion Sanders played in a pro football game in-between a pair of postseason baseball games in two different cities, all located one thousand miles apart. (in part because Deion himself leaked it back in July). Now we know the name of the film as well as a first look at what’s in store.
Our next 30 for 30 will star @DeionSanders
— 30 for 30 (@30for30) December 12, 2018
For those too young to remember, Sanders was playing for both the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Falcons in 1992. While a clause in his NFL contract initially required that he play exclusively for the Falcons, that was eventually reworked so that he could rejoin the Braves in the postseason if they made it. On October 11, he played in a Falcons game in Miami before flying to Pittsburgh, taking a helicopter from the airport to Three Rivers Stadium, and suited up for the Braves’ playoff game against the Pirates. While he didn’t end up playing in the game (spoilers?), the entire saga became a litmus test for how you felt about Sanders as he transcended the “rules” surrounding professional athletes.
“Deion’s Double Play,” set to premiere on ESPN on January 31, is produced by NFL Films and directed by Ken Rodgers (“The Two Bills,” “Four Falls of Buffalo”) and Erik Powers (producer on “Hard Knocks”), so it comes with quite the pedigree. Plus, it’s just nice to get Prime Time back in prime time.