Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



I’m re-watching “Playmakers” from beginning to end. “Playmakers” was the 2003 ESPN original series about pro football.

“Playmakers” was brilliant. It didn’t use NFL trademarks, logos or names. But the NFL, ESPN’s broadcast partner, still made ESPN pull the plug after 12 episodes because the controversial subject matter hit too close to home.

“Playmakers” had everything, including:

*The cocaine-addicted running back.

*The pain pill-popping quarterback.

*The closeted gay wide receiver.

*The linebacker who’s in therapy because he paralyzed an opponent with a crushing tackle. He also watched his own brother die on the football field.

*Domestic abuse.

*A nightclub shooting.

*A gangsta posse.

*A cameo by Snoop Dogg.

“Playmakers” = pro football. The truth. The NFL couldn’t kill it fast enough.

“Playmakers” was a lot better than HBO’s “Ballers,” which is too vanilla and clearly out of ideas. Season Three is merely appropriating the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas and making it property of Dwayne Johnson.

“Ballers” = meh. “Playmakers” = doing a line with D.H. No comparison.

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