ESPN hasn’t put out a ton of 30 for 30 installments recently, with this year’s only full-length entries in that series so far being February’s The Two Bills (a NFL Films production), April’s The Last Days of Knight (an ESPN+ exclusive), and July’s debut of six-part 30 for 30 docuseries Enhanced (another ESPN+ exclusive). But it looks like there’s another one in the pipeline, one that was announced in unusual fashion Monday. That would be by its subject, NFL player (and MLB player) turned NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders:
— Deion Sanders (@DeionSanders) July 30, 2018
It sure seems like Sanders announced that before ESPN was ready to, as their press site had nothing on it as of Monday afternoon. (They did have some 30 for 30 content, though, announcing a new 30 for 30 short premiering on ESPN Friday, “Locked In,” on swimmer Victoria Arlen’s journey through a rare medical diagnosis that left her in a vegetative state to success in the Paralympics and on Dancing With The Stars.) And their 30 for 30 Twitter account weighed in on Sanders’ announcement in interesting fashion:
— ESPN Films 30 for 30 (@30for30) July 30, 2018
The NFL Films account also retweeted both of those tweets, but didn’t comment further. So we don’t know anything about this yet beyond what Sanders has tweeted. However, there are a few elements we can discuss. One is that this is a NFL Films production, and their three 30 for 30 installments so far have generally been pretty solid. They’re not sometimes not as deep as viewers might wish for, though, as our Ben Koo noted in his The Two Bills review:
Watching a NFL Films 30 for 30 (all three of which have been manned by Rodgers) is like a dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It’s nice, you’ll eat a lot, you’ll have a drink, definitely get dessert, and it will be a good time, but there really aren’t any surprises or unique experiences that will stick out. It’s basically a high-end formulaic quality experience. That’s not meant to be a slight. It’s just that there are no real surprises and essentially your high expectation of these projects are reliably met, but rarely exceeded by any significant margin.
We’ll see if that pattern holds true with this one. It will also be particularly interesting to see if it dives into some of the controversies with Sanders, particularly his “Prime Prep” school that collapsed in dramatic fashion a few years back. The bet is probably not, at least in any depth, but we’ll see if it’s mentioned.
It’s also going to be interesting to see where this airs this winter, as we know that it won’t be airing after the Heisman Trophy presentation Dec. 8. That was a prime 30 for 30 slot each year from the series’ debut in 2009 until last year, when a Top Rank Boxing event was put there instead. Awful Announcing has learned that there will be no 30 for 30 after the Heisman presentation again this year, and that the slot may again be used for boxing. So we’ll find out where this lands and what the final product looks like, but it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on.