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Dan Rather Narrates “Rozelle’s Decision-to-Play” 50th Anniv. Piece
Outside the Lines (Sunday 8 a.m. ET, ESPN2; 9 a.m. ESPNEWS)
Photos courtesy ESPN/Producer Mike Sciallo
Dan Rather voicing over Sunday’s OTL at AXS TV studios in New York
OTL Preview: JFK And The NFL
Behind the scenes look: Jerry Kremer Interview
Like Countless Americans of a certain age, many former NFL players will never forget how they heard the stunning news 50 years ago next Friday: President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed just a few miles from where the Dallas Cowboys were practicing that Friday afternoon. The decision to play games just two days after the assassination was left to 37-year old Pete Rozelle, in just his fourth season as NFL Commissioner. Dan Rather, who helped coordinate CBS’ coverage of Kennedy’s trip to Dallas and was the first reporter to confirm Kennedy’s death, narrates the story of Rozelle’s decision, one the late commissioner called the biggest regret of his career.
“I remember coach Lombardi bringing us all together and saying, ‘We’re gonna play the damn game.’” – Jerry Kramer, former Green Bay Packer
“He says, ‘Pierre (Press Secretary Pierre Salinger) thinks that Jack Kennedy would like the games to be on. I think that’s what we have to do.’ I said, ‘Well look, I disagree with you, but I’ll back you.'” — Dan Rooney, in charge of Pittsburgh Steelers’ day-to-day operations and son of owner Art Rooney
“I was hoping it would be played so our team could help heal the city of Dallas. I just felt like we needed to play the game.” – Lee Roy Jordan, former Dallas Cowboy
Four years ago when faced with losing his eyesight, then-12 year old Jake Olson inspired the USC football team with his courageous battle against cancer. In return, the Trojans helped him through the most difficult time of his life. Updating the story originally reported by Shelley Smith, Olson, now a high-school junior, tells how he found a way back to the football field and the game he loves.
“Four years ago we were fighting, really fighting for Jake’s life and fighting for his eyesight. Everything we had to go through as a family, it was a rough, rough process.” –– Brian Olson, Jake’s father
“Having that feeling out there — I never thought it would be possible — so it’s all something that never gets old. My heart pounds as fast every time.” – Jake Olson, on thinking of being an on-field guest of USC’s football team
Experts say bullying among female athletes is more prevalent in junior high and high school than at the collegiate and pro levels. Melissa Isaacson reports.
“In high school, there are always going to be some girls jealous of what other people have, but once you get to college, a lot of it goes away.” – Kelsey Reynolds, DePaul senior guard
NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne, who shocked the racing world by winning the 2011 Daytona 500, revealed this week that he has Multiple Sclerosis but will continue his racing career. ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch, sits down with Bayne to discuss the diagnosis and the decision to keep racing.
Punch is uniquely qualified to conduct the interview: he majored in pre-med and graduated Magna Cum Laude from North Carolina State University; attended medical school at Wake Forest from 1975 until 1979; became an emergency room doctor 1982-86; formed LL. Punch & Associates and from 1986 until 1992 his staff of 14 ER physicians worked to treat the patients of Central Florida. Twice in 1988, his broadcasting and medical careers dramatically combined: in Bristol, Tenn., in August, he revived driver Rusty Wallace, who crashed in practice and was not breathing; in November in Atlanta, he joined the rescue effort to save Don Marmor who crashed in an ARCA race but survived. The interview will be aired on “NASCAR Countdown” before Saturday’s Nationwide race – Bayne runs fulltime in that series.