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An award-winning documentary that captures the connection between
football and the region's industrial heritage.
Through the decades of the 20th century, western Pennsylvania
turned out a seemingly endless supply of national football heroes
-- Mike Ditka, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, John Unitas, Joe Montana,
Tony Dorsett -- and the list goes on. Like Andrew Carnegie and
"Big Steel" before it, this strong gridiron tradition
gave the region an unmistakable identity and helped to keep Pittsburgh
on the map.
the first time, the special relationship that exists between the
people of western Pennsylvania and football has been captured
in an hour-long documentary and will air on public television
stations nationwide beginning on December 15, 2002 (check local
for the film.
to view/download photos (300 dpi JPGs; print size appr.
3 x 4).
Photo credit: WQED Pittsburgh.
Lubomski (audio engineer), Mike Zmijanac (head football
coach, Aliquippa high School) and Jeff Sewald (producer/director).
Rooney (president, Pittsburgh Steelers), Bob Lubomski and
Marino and jeff Sewald.
Sewald and Andy Russell (former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker).
& Steel, tells the story of the rise of football
in the region, the emergence of the City of Pittsburgh on the
national scene, and how each supported the other through good
times and bad.
and directed by Jeff Sewald (CLICK
HERE FOR BIO), a Pittsburgh native and University
of Pittsburgh graduate, Gridiron
features a cross section of regional personalities, including
former Steelers greats Andy Russell, Mel Blount, Franco Harris
and Jack Ham, Steelers owner Dan Rooney and broadcaster Myron
Sewald, however, is quick to point out that the program also captures
the passion the region exudes for its pee-wee, high school and
college football programs.
HERE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF INTERVIEWEES.
creating the program, we wanted to capture the cultural significance
of a sport, the character of the region, and the soul of Pittsburghers,"
Archival photographs and footage serve to create the historical
context for the program. From action on the field, to emotions
in the locker room to reflection afterward, the spirit of western
Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh is evident throughout the documentary.
think the end result is a definitive and positive statement about
what can happen when a great sport and several generations of
strong backs and stout hearts converge," Sewald says.
several regional football legends, including Mike Ditka, Dan Marino
and Bill Fralic, recall the influences of their youth and how
their upbringing helped prepare them for the challenges of life.
Concurrently, cameras chronicle the enthusiasm and insights of
young players who compete far away from the glamour of the National
focus is not about achieving greatness, but being a part of something
that connects them to their forefathers and communities, and prepares
them for life in a competitive world. The documentary even finds
a connection with Pittsburgh rocker Joe Grushecky. Adding insight
and commentary, Grushecky and his music enliven the story telling.
program was made possible by grants from Highmark Blue Cross Blue
Shield, the McCune Foundation and the Thomas W. and Carol K. Henderson
Family Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.
produced and directed by Jeff Sewald for WQED Pittsburgh, Gridiron
is distributed to public television stations nationwide by APT
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