When I say “Gale Sayers,” whose song do you think of?
"I love Brian Piccolo, and I'd like all of you to love him, too. And tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him." - Gale Sayers Tweet
'Brian's Song' was a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week and it's often considered one of the greatest TV movies of all time.
It's also a true story, based on the book by Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers.
I use the friendship of Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo as the standard for friendships.
Do people today still watch Brian’s Song?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen it at least ten times.
And everytime I’m caught in the middle of a particularly tragic or dramatic moment in my life, I feel like the world around me goes into slow-mo and the haunting theme song from Brian’s Song starts playing in the back of my head.
And I don’t think it’s just me.
If you don’t already know, Brian’s Song was a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week and it’s often considered one of the greatest TV movies of all time.
It’s also considered to be one of the greatest sports films ever made.
To be more specific, it’s a football movie, a buddy movie, and a real tear-jerker of a movie — especially for men.
It’s also a true story, based on the book by Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers called I Am Third, about his friendship with fellow Bears running back Brian Piccolo.
And here are two spoiler alerts you need to know to better understand why this is considered one of the greatest sports films ever:
- Sayers, who was Black, and Piccolo, who was White, were told by Bears management that they would room together while on the road; they became the first interracial roommates in the history of the NFL.
- As roommates, they also became and remained very close friends until Piccolo’s career and life were ended by a fight with cancer during his fifth season with the Chicago Bears, at age 26.
I can’t speak for all men, but I can tell you that to this day I continue use the friendship of Gayle Sayers and Brian Piccolo as the standard by which to judge the quality of my friendships with other guys.