Tuesday, November 03, 2015

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol 3: The Gospel According to Mac

Running on the treadmill at the hotel, I watched The Gospel According to Mac. This is the third installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume 3. An episode guide for Vol 3 is here.

I have never really followed college football. Consequently, I didn't know anything about Bill McCartney's story. The story reads like a Hollywood script. The major plot points include:
  • After a successful start as a high school football and basketball coach in Detroit, he spent eight years as an assistant under coaching legend Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan.
  • Taking over a woeful University of Colorado Boulder program, McCartney was the head football coach from 1982 to 1994 and compiled a record of 93–55–5.
  • Under McCartney, the Buffalos won three consecutive Big Eight Conference titles between 1989 and 1991.
  • In 1989 and 1990, the Buffalos played Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. They lost in 1989, but won in 1990.
  • The 1990 team was crowned as national champions by the Associated Press, splitting the title with the Georgia Tech team that topped the final Coaches' Poll rankings.
  • In a game against Missouri in the championship 1990 season, referees mistakenly allowed an extra down on which Colorado scored the winning touchdown as time expired.
  • After the 1988 season, the Buffaloes' star quarterback Sal Aunese was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He died in the middle of the 1989 season.
  • McCartney's own daughter became pregnant by the team's quarterback Sal Aunese who died five months after the baby was born.
  • There were arrests and strife between his mostly African-American players and the Boulder police.
  • A vocal born again Christian, McCartney founded a Christian men's group called Promise Keepers.
  • After the team went 11 and 1 in 1994 and was ranked 3rd nationally, McCartney retired from coaching.
Bill McCartney participated in the making of the documentary. There is a lot of interview footage of him and key players from the Buffalo teams used throughout the film. I was very surprised by the story. I actually gasped a couple of times. Although I struggle with finding time to watch the two hour 30 for 30s, this one is worth looking for!

No comments:

Post a Comment