|Source: CBS Sports- NY Giants LB Cliff Livingston-|
Back in 1960 the National Football League was just starting to become popular, especially with the help of the 1958 NFL Championship between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants. Still the most important game in NFL history. Where a lot of Americans for the first time were getting to see how great of a sport American football or gridiron was. And got to see great players like Colts QB, John Unitas, RB, Lenny More, WR Ray Berry, DE Gino Marchetti. Giants RB Frank Gifford, LB Sam Huff and many others. But by 1960 NFL was still fairly new in America as far as its popularity. Baseball was still king and college football was probably more popular than the NFL at this point. Part of this had to do with the fact that NFL franchises were still not drafting and signing African- American players. Leaving them short on talent, a big reason why the American Football League was so important, because they were interested in the best players possible. Not race or color but films like the Violent World of Sam Huff were also important.
What this film did especially produced and shown by CBS Sports to be broadcasted by CBS and narrated by the great CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, was to let Americans into the world of pro football and to show Americans exactly what football players have to go through to be as good and as successful as they were and show Americans why its the ultimate team sport that it is. And how much each player has to rely on their teammates and units to be as successful as possible. The Violent World was like a football camp for non-organized football players. For guys especially who didn't play college and pro football and perhaps didn't even play high school football. Perhaps were just fans and junkies of the sport like myself. Who wanted to see exactly what it was like for the players and teams that they watch every week for five months of the year and what they go through. Pro football was similar to what to what the MLS or NHL is today, but back in the 1950s and a certain extent the 1960s. Something people were somewhat interested in, but didn't go out-of-their-war to follow.
The idea that CBS Sports would donate an entire film or documentary about what the National Football League was like and what it was like to be a pro football player, at least from the perspective of Sam Huff and the New York Gants, goes to show you the vision that, that sports division had and the potential that they saw in the NFL. A league other than for really four years in the 1990s they've been a big part of as far as coverage going back to the 1950s. They had the best pre-game show in The NFL Today, the best game of the week covering the NFC in the 1970s and 1980s and the best announce in Pat Summerall and best analyst in John Madden. These things obviously don't happen without the NFL becoming the sports and business giant that it became by the early 1970s. And The Violent World was one of the first looks and glimpses for a national audience of what the NFL was like and what real reality TV and not celebrity/tabloid TV looks like. And what good documentary television is.