ESPN’s newest 30 for 30, “Lance,” has already divided sports fans depending on their opinion about cycling champion Lance Armstrong. Part two of the documentary is set to air at 9 p.m. ET Sunday night on ESPN and ESPN2. Critics say it’s another masterpiece from the 30 for 30 series that has produced so many hits over the years. Some of the best episodes centered around football stories from the NFL and NCAA. Let’s revisit the five best football 30 for 30s from the iconic ESPN series.
“You Don’t Know Bo” – Bo Jackson
There are athletes and there are freak athletes. Then, there is Bo Jackson. Jackson towered over his competition in size, speed, and power in both the NFL and MLB during his short prime.
The former Oakland Raider and Kansas City Royal was an alien the sports world had never seen before. He’s still considered one of the greatest athletes of all time today.
ESPN’s 30 for 30, “You Don’t Know Bo,” details Jackson’s upbringing and how he turned into the cultural icon he became in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Jackson’s hip injury created one of the biggest what-ifs in all of sports.
“The Best That Never Was” – Marcus Dupree
You might’ve never heard of Marcus Dupree, but that’s not what any football fan at the time believed would happen to the superstar high school respect. Dupree was supposed to be the next coming of Herschel Walker.
The nation’s most sought after prospect signed with Oklahoma in 1981, but the legend of Marcus Dupree ended as quickly as it arrived. How did such a surefire future NFL star flop out of the sport so swiftly? ESPN’s “The Best That Never Was” explains.
“Four Falls of Buffalo” – Buffalo Bills losing 4 straight Super Bowls
The Buffalo Bills, led by quarterback Jim Kelly, made four straight Super Bowls from 1990-1993, but that’s not what they’re remembered for. Unfortunately, those Bills teams will forever be remembered for being the only team in NFL history to lose four straight Super Bowls.
How did such a dominant team for half a decade fail to win the big game over and over again? “Four Falls of Buffalo” detail each of the four losses and how the Bills franchise will always be attached to their disappointing record in the Super Bowl.
“Pony Excess” – SMU football receiving the death penalty
The SMU football program was a dominant group in the early 1980s. From 1981-84, the Mustangs had the best record in all of college football. However, in 1987 SMU was hit with the “death penalty” and banned from competition for two years.
A story of greed and corruption, “Pony Excess” explores the various NCAA sanctions the school violated to turn its small Methodist college into a football powerhouse.
“The U” – University of Miami football in the 1980s
Every college football fan in the 1980s remembered the Miami Hurricanes. You either loved them or hated them, but the fiery group loved to do to things — crush the souls of their opponents and have fun doing it.
Miami football wasn’t just changing the game on the field. They represented the cultural shift of the U.S. through the hip-hop wave. The Hurricanes won four national championships in the 1980s and changed the swagger of college football forever. “The U” and “The U Part 2” dive into Miami’s dynasty on and off the field.