As the Oakland Raiders took the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, they did so without their Pro Bowl center, Barret Robbins. In one of the strangest Super Bowl controversies ever, Robbins went AWOL two days before the biggest game of his career, leaving no trace of his whereabouts. For the Raiders, Robbins' disappearance was a major distraction; for Robbins, the episode was only the beginning of a dark and tragic story that would include a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, substance abuse, numerous stints in rehab and multiple run-ins with the law. Now, more than six years after his Super Bowl no-show, Robbins sits down with correspondent Andrea Kremer to look back on his troubles in this Real Sports/Sports Illustrated collaboration.
Like elite fighters, trainers can get on a hot streak, and no teacher in the sweet science is currently hotter than Freddie Roach. A journeyman prizefighter in his younger years, Roach has fashioned a potential Hall of Fame career, working out of his famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood with his most accomplished pupil, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, among other sluggers. Roach's own story includes a troubled childhood and a battle with Parkinson's disease today. As Real Sports correspondent Mary Carillo shows, it's easy to see why this three-time BWAA Trainer of the Year is currently the man in demand.
Boasting five consecutive national championships, the Northwestern women's lacrosse team might be the most dominant program in NCAA history. For those close to the team, it's common knowledge that their magic run began only after a secret weapon was brought in: Jaclyn Murphy. Diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age nine, the Hopewell Junction, NY native was in desperate need of a lift when the team reached out to her. Four years later, Murphy is a healthy, cancer-free 14-year-old, while Northwestern hasn't lost a national championship since their initial meeting. Inspired by their uplifting relationship, the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation has been established to link other children with malignant brain tumors to college teams around the country. Correspondent Frank Deford reports this remarkable story.
In 2003, Real Sports profiled three generations of the Posada family, revealing the struggles of the son of New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. A month after the Yankees won the 1999 World Series, Jorge's wife Laura gave birth to Jorge IV, who was afflicted by craniosynostosis, a life-threatening condition that causes the bones of the skull to fuse before the brain finishes growing. Following many complicated and lengthy surgeries, Jorge IV appeared ready to turn the corner and live the normal life of a three-year old. Six years after the original segment, host Bryant Gumbel updates Jorge IV's extraordinary story and reports on the efforts of the Jorge Posada Foundation to help other families affected by craniosynostosis.