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USA Home Video presents
50 Greatest Quarterbacks (2001)

"My motto was 'Attack! Throw it deep. Anybody can throw it wide! Let's go deep!' "
- Terry Bradshaw

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: January 15, 2002

Stars: Earl Mann, narrator, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Otto Graham, Troy Aikman, Y.A. Tittle, Fran Tarkenton, Don Meredith, Boomer Esiason, Joe Namath, Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, Phil Simms, Steve Young
Other Stars: John Madden, Warren Moon, Robert Klein
Director: Kenneth J. Sheil, Ray Didinger

Manufacturer: Ritek
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (football violence, language)
Run Time: 55m:13s
Release Date: October 30, 2001
UPC: 696306029120
Genre: sports

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B C+BB+ D-

DVD Review

Trying to decide who are the greatest athletes in a sport, or at a particular position, is something certain to provide for endless controversy. The NFL takes a shot at it in this 1998 program that ranks the top 50 quarterbacks.

Relying heavily on game footage, and with a few key statistics onscreen, the program goes through most of the top 50 in brisk, almost perfunctory fashion. Only a few can be singled out for discussion in the running time of under an hour. These include Otto Graham, who led the Browns to the title game all ten years that he played; Joe Namath, who changed the image of the pro athlete forever; and Sammy Baugh, who was an effective passer, kicker and punter with some of the greatest all-around seasons ever. Others who get the spotlight briefly are Steve Young, John Elway, Y.A. Tittle, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, John Unitas and Dan Marino (this is not the order of the list, to maintain some suspense).

The program can hardly help but be unsatisfying with this glossing over; this really needs to be a three-hour program. Unfortunately, that's not what we get here, with less than an hour of running time. For the most part, the time is used wisely. However, far too much footage is wasted on the poetic ramblings of Y.A. Tittle's daughter, a segment that's sure to alienate Manly Men.

Although there is an understandable emphasis on winning Super Bowls, the program also recognizes those who didn't achieve that goal but still had extraordinary careers. This gives Fran Tarkenton an opportunity to continue whining about not getting sufficient recognition. Many favorites are passed over quickly here, including several in the top 10. One is certainly left wanting more.

No indication is given as to the methodology for the selection, nor who was doing the selecting for the purposes of this list, matters that could have been easily explained on a production note screen or an insert. But there's nothing like that here.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image is quite attractive. Since the videotape ranges from a wide time frame, it's not surprising that there is significant variance in quality of source material. While game footage is understandably lacking in detail for the most part, the interview segments are clear and crisp. Color is quite good, though fleshtones tend a bit to the reddish.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 Dolby Surround track is clear and crisp, without noise or hiss. The dialogue and voiceovers are center-oriented, with the surrounds used exclusively for background music. This is a pleasantly enveloping soundfield, if not flashy or notable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 6 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Scanavo variant
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The case declares that this is an "Enhanced DVD Edition." Except for subtitles, I fail to see what the enhancements are here. There are no extras, and the chaptering is pretty scanty.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A far-too-brief look at, well, the fifty greatest quarterbacks. Worth a look for sports fans, but the short running time and lack of extras make this a rental for most.


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