With the Super Bowl now just around the corner, it makes perfect sense that ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 would not only talk football but also be co-produced by NFL Films. Moreover, as luck would have it, one of the subjects of the new film The Two Bills will actually be making an appearance at this year’s big game coaching the New England Patriots. Just as the 2017-2018 season has been a tumultuous one for the league, this latest 30 for 30 documents how friendships formed by the sport can also get a bit rocky at times.
The Two Bills chronicles the careers of two of the NFL’s most legendary coaches: Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. If you’re not aware, the duo first came to prominence while working with the New York Giants organization in the 1980s. From there they’d go on to coach a few other teams together before going their separate ways — sometimes in dramatic fashion.
At the heart of this documentary directed by Ken Rodgers are interviews with both Bills joined together at one table. While the two of them provide most of the details and commentary of the events presented, additional interviews sometimes paint a slightly different picture. For example, near the beginning of the film, it seems that no one can really decide if Parcells and Belichick are really friends or just friendly, close or distant. This sets the stage for what we’re about to see though, in my opinion, may oversell the drama of the whole thing just a tad.
That said, what I really liked about The Two Bills was the archive footage found throughout. This includes parts of the game that aren’t regularly seen on any given Sunday broadcast such as the (sometimes foul-mouthed) exchanges that take place on the sidelines. Beyond that, the films also delved a bit into the dynamic between coaches and team owners I found fascinating.
More so than many other 30 for 30 entries I’ve watched, The Two Bills tells a story that many can relate to. At the end of the day, it documents the nature of relationships and how people who may have been very close at one point can have disagreements and falling outs. Of course, it also demonstrates how two people can set their differences aside and focus on their shared accomplishments. It’s in that aspect that I think that ESPN’s The Two Bills really succeeds.
Enjoy The Two Bills and other great titles in the 30 for 30 Documentary library with a subscription to ESPN+.
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV