“Sean Taylor: A Football Life” airs this Friday September 26 @ 9:00PM / ET. Click below to view the trailer below:
On December 6th, 2007, I was in my second year out of college and working as a production assistant at NFL Films. We were holding our weekly screening in our theater when the Buffalo-Washington segment from Inside the NFL began to play.
It was the first Washington home game since Sean Taylor’s murder, and I had been following the story only casually. My impressions were formed from initial reports that Sean had allegedly lived some sort of violent lifestyle, and, in some fashion, this caused his murder.
But then, I saw the first shot of the “Inside the NFL” highlights. It was the fans in the stands before kickoff, holding up white towels with #21 in burgundy and gold. There were so many towels crowding the frame, shielding tear-stained faces, shrinking ever-so-smaller into a distance that harbored thousands upon thousands more. This stadium, this franchise, this fan base were all so shaken by his loss.
Seeing how much Sean meant to Washington fans, I felt like the man I read about and the man local fans knew must have been two different people. And as details emerged about the circumstances of Sean’s death, I could only wonder: how could a man sacrifice his life defending his fiancée and infant daughter, and then have reports suggest he somehow brought it upon himself?
When we set about telling Sean’s story, we requested interviews with 28 of his former teammates, coaches, family members, and friends. We did not conduct interviews with all 28. We talked with 41.
Never before in our series have we had such an overwhelming response – and there were even more teammates and coaches who wanted to talk but we could not meet with due to conflicts in the schedule. It is a testament to Sean and how many lives he touched, that so many people were so eager to come forward and help us tell his story.
Erik Powers is a segment producer in his ninth season at NFL Films. His past projects have included A Football Life / Steve McNair; A Football Life / Tiki and Ronde Barber; A Football Life / Al Davis; several seasons of HBO’s Hard Knocks; and Inside the NFL on Showtime. He has won seven Emmy awards.