The NFL on VHS, transferred...yet again;
olofpalme63 | auf der flucht! | 04/23/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Football Digest" once voted week four's 1977 Monday Night game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears one of the top 10 Monday Night games ever played, and arguably one of the greatest Bears games during the post-1963 NFL Championship season. What was even more significant than it being Joe Namath's last appearance as a starter or the last time anyone would see Broadway Joe at Soldier Field and no one had seen Namath in Chicago since the Jets 1974 win over the Bears for that matter, was the fact that Chicago's Bob Avellini threw 3 touchdown bombs in the pouring rain to beat the Rams 24-23 and "Hollywood Joe" (who was knocked out of the game by Bears LB Waymond Bryant and replaced by Pat Haden for the remainder of the season). Not only a great moment in Chicago Bears history, but a great moment broadcasted by ABC's legendary Howard Cosell. Just one of the many great moments left off the "Chicago Bears - The Complete History" double DVD release.
What you have here is a compilation of old VHS Bears highlights (most of which were produced in the 1980's by NFL Films) assembled together by the NFL Network and transferred onto DVD. Making it abundantly clear to real Bear fans that it wasn't compiled by a "real" Bear fan. This 2005 NFL Films production plays more like a propaganda film than anything else (meaning; this is what "they" want you to remember). A history of the Chicago Bears through their eyes, not Bear fans. I found it rather insulting to have to listen to some spoiled brats (Virginia McCaskey) banter concerning a game and history of a team she knows nothing about. What I mean to say is; why couldn't we get some insight from say...Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander (someone who actually covered the Bears) than someone who sat in a luxury box and picked her nose, totally oblivious to what was happening on the field (the Dave Wannstedt era of the 90's is a clear example of this).
Even more disturbing was the "Bears/Packers Rivalry" segment. Packer fans will find this more engaging than Bear fans, considering the infamous "asterisk" game of 1989 (Green Bay's 14-13 instant replay victory) along with Jim McMahon's 1986 pounding into the Soldier Field astro turf are covered with a fair amount of detail. Although...i'm still trying to figure out why those moments would be more memorable than Chicago's 61-7 slaughter of the Bart Starr coached Packers of 1980 (which by the way wasn't mentioned at all here). Instead we're shown (Ditka's continuing "fullback" saga) William Perry's 1985 Monday Night touchdown as though that were the only memorable moment of the Bear/Packer rivalry concerning Bear fans. I mean...who's highlight reel is this? For a more comprehensive view of this rivalry, pick up Gary D'Amato's "Mudbaths and Bloodbaths" book. Although a bit pro-Packer in places, a good read never-the-less. And after all, at this point in the DVD...anythings better than watching Green Bay's Don Majkowski spike the ball after scoring a TD (against the Bears mind you), on a Bears highlight film no less. Considering how pro-Packer this segment was, I was quite surprised they didn't include Vince Lombardi's infamous quote in response to a sideline tackle made by Doug Buffone in front of the Packer bench. "Buffone?...whats that? Italian for buffoon?".
The NFL Network and NFL Films continues with its barrage of lowlights and insults levied against Bear fans by showing clips of the New York Giants 47-7 mauling of the Bears (in color mind you) in the 1956 NFL Championship, but failing to show any highlights from the famous slush bowl of 1977. This was an important game to the Bears and their fans. It marked Chicago's return to the post-season for the first time since 1963. I can still hear Vin Scully's "watch Fencik lower the boom" on New York's Jimmy Robinson in one of the most devastating hits in the history of the game itself. Chicago won the game 12-9 (a classic nail biter) in the last frantic seconds of OT to capture their sixth game in a row and finish the season at 9-5 enroute to the playoffs. But we're shown none of this. Instead we're told how great Frank Gifford was before, during, and after a few clips of the 1963 NFL Championship victory over the Giants. Again...who's highlight reel is this? Also, there was no mention at all of the Bears week nine game of 1977 (the game that started the 6 game win streak) against the Marv Levy coached Kansas City Chiefs (Bob Avellini's TD pass to Greg Latta as time expired to steal a 28-27 victory in the wake of another brilliant performance by Walter Payton). Or, the 1979 demolishing of the St. Louis Cardinals 42-6, to finish the season at 10-6 and secure a playoff birth (the day after "Mugs" Halas' death, and yet again...NFL Films failed to mention any of it).
And although it was humorous to see Abe Gibron's "wired for sound segment", lets not forget...he never coached a winning team in Chicago. Watching Gibron just reminded me of all those losing seasons after the 63' NFL Championship. And considering the absolute chaotic, mind-numbing bewilderment on the sidelines, it's a miracle the Bears won any games at all under Gibron's baffling direction. The only memorable Gibron moment would have to be 1972's Monday Night win over the Vikings at Soldier Field (the game in which Abe got carried off the field,...a huge achievement considering the fact that the Bears hardly ever beat the Vikings during the late 60's & early to mid 70's, and well...taking into consideration that it was a nationally televised game and Abe's weight (lbs)...it was perhaps the team's greatest performance under his leadership). But even more poignant than that for Bear fans was the priceless blank look on Gibron's face, captured by the CBS camera crew during the last home game of the 1974 season. In the midst of a 5 game losing streak, a mere 18,000 fans showed up in the rain and sleet to watch the Bears Mirro Roder split the uprights in the closing seconds to clip the Giants 16-13 (known as the "fight inflation or conserve energy; stay home and watch Bears lose" game...only they won!). But again...we're shown none of this.
Casual Bear fans will find this insightful and entertaining i'm sure. But real Bear fans will find this to be nothing more than an overpriced cheap VHS transfer of the same recycled file footage NFL Films delivers whenever a Chicago Bears documentary is in order.
...hardly a complete history.
Good, but could be better
Strangeways | Chicago | 08/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm glad to have all of this NFL Films highlight material on DVD, but as Da Coach himself once said there's more to be done here.
The Bears are the oldest team in the NFL, and so for my tastes there's just too much glossed over here. Where's the coverage of Payton's passing as well as the emotional win the following week in Green bay by a blocked field goal? That's just one of the many highlights left out. Just look at the current DVD sets by the Boston Red Sox, as well as the Chicago Bulls and you'll see what we really should be getting; which is complete games on DVD. The NFL needs to get out of this antiquated thinking that fans won't come and see the new team if they have old video of glory days on DVD.
That's just silly, so enjoy this package for what it is but know that there could be a better one if the NFL and current owners of the Bears choose so.
A Nice Set But Needs To Be More Comprehensive
Kent | Iowa United States | 09/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a long-time Chicago Bears fan and I to say I was ecstatic when this DVD set came out would not even be close to calling an exaggeration. However, compared to other sports teams DVD sets that were out at the time of the release of this set had more discs and seemed to be much more comprehensive. I was a little skeptical but still bought.
I must say the history involved is very well done but seems to skip quite a bit here and there as far as informing us what happened in certain seasons and some of the highlights of classic games. And with the Bears being one of the oldest, if not the oldest, team in the league and probably the most storied franchise in the league, it's a shame that so much was left out.
Of course the very memorable Super Bowl XX season is talked about here but many of the seasons from 1920 up to 1985 are either glossed over or not covered at all. And very little information is provided about the latter part of the 1980s on into the early 2000s about this great franchise. It's almost as if the people who put this set together felt that the Bears' greatest times were behind them and everything that followed the Super Bowl XX victory was nothing more than a mere afterthought or nightmare.
While I still recommend this set to diehard Bears fans, this set could have been WAY more comprehensive for a franchise that has been around for a little over 80 years and has had so many great memorable moments. It would have been nice too if some games were included in this set as well. Maybe sometime down the road, someone will get their act together and give us Bears fans a set to really be proud of."
Not a new package
B. Beaven | Great Britain | 08/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first DVD lives up to expectation but instead of new or previously unsold material DVD 2 is the 1985 hightlights video and extras. Still good as my old VHS is now grainy through replays but this could have been so much better."