DVR ALERT: Third & Long documentary on NFL Network

Bobby Mitchell was traded to the Redskins in 1962, finally integrating the Redskins locker room and finding himself in the Nation’s Capital at a crucial time in the racial history of the United States. (Associated Press)

Bobby Mitchell was traded to the Redskins in 1962, finally integrating the Redskins locker room and finding himself in the Nation’s Capital at a crucial time in the racial history of the United States. (Associated Press)

In honor of Black History Month, part two of the documentary Third & Long: The History of African Americans in Pro Football 1946-1989 airs at 8 p.m. tonight on NFL Network.

(Caught the end of part one last night. They were talking about how the AFL and Al Davis recruited the historically black colleges in the 1960s.)

Former players Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Willie Brown and Bobby Mitchell, former head coaches Tony Dungy and Art Shell, owners Jeffrey Lurie and Dan Rooney, and family members, the documentary looks at the history of African-Americans in professional football from 1946-1989.

The documentary’s executive producer Theresa Moore appeared on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access to discuss the film on Monday.

“It was interesting because I was actually working on a project for ESPN about that iconic photo where Muhammad Ali is surrounded by the athletes of the day, and one of those athletes was Walter Beach III,” Moore said is a release provided by the NFL Network. “We became friends and we started talking about his football career and some of the things that they had gone through. The more he talked and the more he shared with me, I just said to him, ‘Walter, we really need to tell this story, it’s this untold history.’ He connected me to Jim Brown, Bobby Mitchell and Gwen Mitchell because we wanted to make sure that the wives’ perspectives were told as well. It kind of developed from there.”

She had to deal with integration of the Washington Redskins.

“The one that was very interesting was Bobby Mitchell’s whole integration of the Redskins because people don’t understand that it was actually the Kennedy administration that forced the Redskins to integrate,” Moore said. “They told them they couldn’t use the publically funded stadium if they continued to have an all-white team.

“Many people thought that George Preston Marshall would draft Ernie Davis, who had just won the Heisman Trophy, and instead behind the scenes he trades him for Bobby Mitchell and Bobby Mitchell becomes the most prominent black player on the team at that time. But he talks about the challenges he faced integrating the team where literally he tells of being out at dinner where someone comes by and spits on him when he’s out at dinner with his wife and another couple because they don’t want him

Part one will re-air on Saturday at 8.p.m and 12 midnight. Part two will re-air on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 1 a.m.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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7 comments Add your comment


February 15th, 2012
5:42 am

Growing up I was always curious why people would treat other people so bad just because they looked different, or because they were from a different country. I guess we still have a ways to go.

D man

February 15th, 2012
7:10 am

I was expecting a show about the Falcons to record. Let me know when the NFL network has something on the Falcons.

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February 15th, 2012
7:58 am

It would have been interesting to see Ernie Davis and Jim Brown in the same backfield. Bobby Mitchell was one of the most versatile players in the history of the league.

D man

February 15th, 2012
10:49 am

Let’s get back to football folks. Life’s too short.

D.O.B – any word on the progress of re-signing Grimes?


February 15th, 2012
11:36 am

It kind of blows me away that someone would complain about programming on tv. Steve, if you don’t want to watch the program, then don’t. A.E., you are breathing fire, bro! Way to bring it here on the blog. Go Falcons! (Now draft a good CB and an OLB that can cover somebody)

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 15th, 2012
12:05 pm

D man — You can record SoundEX Wildcard round. Watched that last night too.