30 for 30: Season 1, Episode 29

The Best That Never Was (2010)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, Biography, Sport
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 587 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big-time football programs sat waiting for the decision by a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Fred Akers ...
Mick Cornett ...
Marcus Dupree ...
Narrator (voice)
Barry Switzer ...
Randy Vataha ...
John Walton ...
Breakers Quarterback (archive footage)


In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big-time football programs sat waiting for the decision by a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. On his way to eclipsing Herschel Walker's record for the most touchdowns in high school history, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. More than a decade removed from being a flashpoint in the civil-rights struggle, Philadelphia was once again thrust back into the national spotlight. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. What followed, though, was a forgettable college career littered with conflict, injury and oversized expectations. Eight-time Emmy Award winner Jonathan Hock examined why this star burned out so young and how he ultimately used football to redeem himself. Written by ESPN Films

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2010 (USA)  »

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References Through the Fire (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Perhaps the Best Sports Documentary Ever
14 October 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I think this may the one of the best if not THE best sports documentary ever. I know that is a heady statement to make, but I found myself moved to tears at the end of the story. This is an amazing story of one of the most gifted high school football players to ever walk on a football field. Looking at the clips showing Marcus as a college player reminded me of similarities to one of the greatest ever to play the game, Walter Payton. And Payton's rigorous off-season training regimens were legendary. Marcus DuPree already had most of that without the need for the extra training. Yes, the story is tragic, but there is redemption for Marcus when he does eventually make the roster of an NFL franchise, only to be let go for some unexplained reason.

For every Emitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, there are a dozen Marcus DuPree's. Not in terms of athletic ability, but in the failure of the college football system and false hopes young talented athletes put into of achieving a long term professional football career. Mort often than not, especially in football, injury drastically reduces the chance of a player developing or continuing a career for any meaningful length of time and many end up just like Marcus, at some menial job even though they attended college on an athletic scholarship and could have graduated with a college degree if they chose to finish or go back to school after they turn pro. But yet there is an insatiable appetite for professional sports and as long as spectators and the common fan continue to worship and put pro (and college, and even high school) sports on the pedestal that we do, people like Marcus will continue to be exploited and make unwise choices.

This documentary highlighted this and much more. Shakespeare himself could not have penned such an artful tragedy.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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