On the eve of FOX Sports' telecast of Super Bowl XLV from Arlington, Tex., REAL SPORTS spotlights Troy Aikman, the network's top football analyst, who knows a thing or two about winning championships in Dallas. It's not often an NFL quarterback with three Super Bowl championships achieves similar success in a second career, but he's forging a Hall of Fame-caliber career as a game analyst, having gone straight from a storybook NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys to the booth after retiring in 2001. Now in his tenth year with FOX Sports - where he and Joe Buck are preparing to work their third Super Bowl together - Aikman is the consummate professional. REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel goes one-on-one with the former Super Bowl MVP prior to calling the game of the year in his own backyard.
Young NFL players often find themselves rich beyond their dreams, making the kind of money that could make them financially secure for the rest of their lives - if they invested wisely. Instead of thinking long-term, however, many succumb to the urge to purchase expensive cars and multiple houses, and put their money in risky investments. And with the careers of even the luckiest players lasting only a few years, many athletes must soon fend for themselves with no income or other job skills, and become destitute. REAL SPORTS correspondent Frank Deford talks to former players who've found themselves in this predicament.
In the 21st century, innovations such as live blogging and Twitter make it increasingly difficult to excel as the NFL's premier supplier of inside information, yet Peter King of Sports Illustrated continues to distinguish himself. The New England native graduated from Ohio University in 1979 and got his journalism start at the Cincinnati Enquirer covering college and professional sports, becoming a full-time NFL beat writer at Newsday before settling in at Sports Illustrated in 1989. Perhaps the most respected NFL writer today, King has authored five football-themed books and built an unparalleled camaraderie with the game's biggest stars and power brokers. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Mary Carillo goes behind the scenes with King to see how he compiles his must-read Monday Morning Quarterback column and explores what drives him to be on top of the news around the clock.
Aside from talent, NFL linemen need sheer mass to be successful, but the weight they pile on can have life-threatening repercussions. In Jan. 2003, REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel sat down with Frank Warren just days before the adverse effects of his playing days took his life, while Norman Hand, another prominent player featured in the piece, has since died from weight-related issues. In reaction to these deaths, some former NFL heavyweights now strive to lose weight in order to better - or simply save - their lives. REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel reopens the book on this troubling story and reconnects with former NFL star Nate Newton and fitness guru Mackie Shilstone.