The awesome NFL Films documentary series, "A Football life", returns Tuesday for a third season on NFL Network, kicking off with a profile of eventual Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson two days before the 2013 regular season gets underway.
Tomlinson never really rocked the boat with his personality, but that hasn't stopped the two-time Emmy Award-nominated documentary series from creating compelling profiles in the past. I'd have preferred to see someone with a little more buzz to kick off the 22-episode schedule, but there are worse documentary subjects out there.
One of them, in fact, is queued up for the third episode on Sept. 17. On that night, NFL Films will profile 28-year-old Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis. This one is a bit confounding. Although Revis is one of the best active players in the game and certainly invited some drama with his contract squabbles during his time with the New York Jets, Revis just hasn't done enough on or off the field to merit being a subject, in my opinion. What was the rush?
Personally, I prefer docs featuring players and coaches who have already cemented their legacies. That's why I'm looking forward, instead, to the Sept. 10 episode profiling Don Shula, who is the NFL's all-time winningest head coach.
Curley Culp waited a long time for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The former cheap houston oilers jerseys nose tackle's day in the sun in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday brings the Oilers' total in the shrine to 12 members.
Culp, 67, played 14 seasons, beginning his career with the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. He helped the Chiefs win Super Bowl IV before joining the houston oilers jerseys cheap in 1974. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame by the seniors committee earlier this year in New Orleans, the host for Super Bowl XLVII.
Culp's arrival helped then-Oilers defensive coordinator Bum Phillips implement a 3-4 defensive alignment because of his presence in the middle. He often took on two and even three blockers to free linebackers to make plays against the run.
Culp was elected to four consecutive Pro Bowls during his seven-year run with the cheap Oilers jerseys. In 1975, he was credited with 11 unofficial sacks, a total seldom recorded by nose tackles.
The 6-foot-1, 275-pound Culp also helped the Oilers make back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship game in the 1978 and '79 seasons.
Culp was an NCAA wrestling heavyweight champion during his college days at Arizona State and finished his NFL career in 1981 with the Detroit Lions.
Culp joins an impressive list of Oiler Hall of Famers, including the late Sid Gillman, the team's head coach for two seasons (1973-74) and the late George Blanda, a quarterback/place-kicker who guided the Oilers jerseys cheap to back-to-back AFL championships (1960-61) before finishing his amazing career at the age of 48 with the Oakland Raiders.
The other Oiler Hall of Famers are running back Earl Campbell, tight end Dave Casper, quarterback Warren Moon, defensive end Elvin Bethea, safety Ken Houston, running back John Henry Johnson, wide receiver Charlie Joiner and offensive linemen Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews.
No one knows where the Titans are going under Mike Munchak, but he wants his players to know where the franchise has been.
Educating them about the past - from the early days of the Oilers through the move to Tennessee and up to the most recent years of the Titans - has been one of Munchak's bigger points of emphasis since he became head coach in 2011.
It's more than a history lesson. Munchak believes instilling a sense of pride about the franchise will help pave the way to better days. He's 15-17 as a head coach, and the Titans have only one winning season since 2008, the last year they went to the playoffs.
This is the only franchise Munchak has ever been affiliated with, so his roots are deep. He played guard for the Oilers for 12 seasons (and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001), was an assistant coach for the Oilers/Titans for 17 seasons and is in his third season as head coach.
Now his stamp can be found in the lobby, meeting rooms, cafeteria and hallways of Saint Thomas Sports Park, the team headquarters in MetroCenter.
"I want guys to know, and feel, like they are a part of something," Munchak said. "I don't want anyone to think they will be forgotten, and the men who paved the way shouldn't be forgotten. Time as a football player, it's short-lived. These decades are flying by.
"We've been here as Titans (since 1999), and we've already seen a lot of guys come and go. This place is special, so just don't take things for granted, because it goes by fast."
Some of the changes in the building since Munchak replaced Jeff Fisher as head coach:
Framed jerseys of the franchise's Hall of Famers hang in the lobby, from Earl Campbell and Warren Moon to Bruce Matthews and Munchak.
Sketches of Pro Bowlers line the hallway off the lobby, including Steve McNair, Eddie George, Jevon Kearse, Chris Johnson, Marc Mariani and Michael Griffin Banners celebrating division and conference titles hang in the cafeteria, along with sketches of all Oilers Pro Bowlers.
A floor-to-ceiling mural completed last offseason is most impressive. Covering a 120-foot stretch of hallway - and topped by the words "Once We Were Oilers Now We Are Titans" - it chronicles highlights from the franchise's founding by Bud Adams in 1960 all the way up to the present. The days of "Luv Ya Blue" and the Super Bowl run of 1999 are featured along with players, coaches and big moments.
Strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson, who's been with the franchise since 1986 - Munchak's fifth year as a player - said the coach "believes this is an organization" and not just a name.
"It has changed its faces, changed coaches, it's changed its players, but what it hasn't changed is its owner and the tradition. Mike truly loves the organization and believes that by guys recognizing the history of it, you have a stronger allegiance," Watterson said. "Some people will debate whether that means you play harder or whether it correlates to a win or not, but I think it definitely adds to cohesiveness."
Last year, Munchak invited some of the Hall of Famers to speak to the team prior to a Monday night game against the Jets. Former Titans said Munchak has invited them back to the facility and games - about a dozen former Titans were on the sideline prior to the Monday night game. He also makes a habit of breaking out videos of former Oilers or Titans to show the current players.
"It's the same kind of feel from Pittsburgh, where you can walk through the hall there and see te Lombardi Trophy room and see the pictures. Here, Coach Munchak is trying to do the same thing," said wide receiver Nate Washington, who spent four seasons with the Steelers. "The young guys, when they come, they don't understand what it is they are coming in to, the tradition. And he is just making sure we recognize and pay respect to where we started.
"Yeah, I think it gives you more of a sense of pride," linebacker Tim Shaw said. "You have to make this NFL team more than just a job. If you can get guys to understand and care, you are going to be more successful. It is not just show up, do your job and collect your paycheck.' If it really means something to you, whatever way you can get guys to do that, it's going to be a positive."
Shaw, who like Munchak played for Penn State, acknowledged some other changes as well, and wondered if college traditions might have influenced the coach.
In the team meeting room, all the chairs were replaced with leather seats that include the Titans logo. A picture of LP Field on game day engulfs the back wall.
Every Monday, pictures of big plays in Sunday's game are added in the hallways. Another project honoring Titans greats is in the works near one of the practice fields.
Munchak's top goal, of course, is to improve his team's performance on the field.
What makes him believe cosmetic changes in the building have been worth the effort? When he sees a former player walking the hallway with his child, saying "Look at this"
"Everyone who has played for this organization, they're a part of this," Munchak said. "And it's about telling a better story, so when players do come here in free agency or the draft, they can see we have a great tradition here. All the guys here now, they are a part of it.