The Day James Gandolfini came to NFL Films

America's Game, Looking Back

While Tony Soprano will always be the largest credit on the resume of James Gandolfini, the late actor’s career also included several appearances in the recording studio for NFL Films.  While  it’s well known that the New Jersey native’s favorite NFL team was the Jets, he still lent his voice to an unforgettable Giants story as the narrator of “America’s Game: The 2007 New York Giants.”

Kevin McLoughlin, NFL Films Director of Post Production, met Gandolfini during his 2008 visit to 1 Sabol Way to voice over the film.    “[When he walked in] my first reaction was, “Holy ****, it’s Tony Soprano!” McLoughlin recalls.  ” He was a little nervous because he hadn’t done many narrations before, but once he was in the chair he was unbelievable.”

With his close ties to the Garden State and a steely delivery that perfectly captured the tone of the  ’07 Giants indomitable will, Gandolfini was a natural fit to tell the tale of the unlikely Super Bowl XLII champs.  “It was obvious from the start that he was a huge football fan,” says Ken Rodgers, who produced the film, “and was excited to be part of an NFL Films production.”

Gandolfini’s voice over work in “America’s Game,” as well as “The Missing Rings – The 1998 Minnesota Vikings” and the 2011 New York Jets team highlight film, entered him into the rare company of Hollywood stars who have narrated NFL Films, a group that includes Alec Baldwin, Brad Pitt, Orson Welles, Gene Hackman, Donald Sutherland, and Burt Lancaster.   Gandolfini certainly added to the tradition of movie stars who sat behind the Films microphone, expanding the boundaries of our storytelling as much as he changed the tenor of dramatic television.

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