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Category: Sam Farmer

From NFL to ESPN to Oscar? Ed Cunningham's 'Undefeated' a nominee

Undefeated_UNDEFEATED_POSTERFormer NFL player Ed Cunningham never hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, but he's in the running for an Oscar as one of the producers of “Undefeated,” which is nominated for an Academy Award  in the category of documentary feature.

The 113-minute documentary follows the Memphis (Tenn.) Manassas High football team through the 2009 season, chronicling an inner-city school that has never won a playoff game since its founding in 1899.

For Cunningham, who has steered far clear of football in his previous critically acclaimed documentaries, this story was too compelling to ignore. “Undefeated,” which opens Friday in Los Angeles and New York, is directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, and produced by Cunningham, Seth Gordon, Rich Middlemas and Glen Zipper.

“Because of my day job, I’ve kind of shied away from direct sports material as a producer,” said Cunningham, 42, an ESPN college football analyst who spent five seasons as a center for the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. “But I just kind of had a sense, along with my partners, that this would see beyond the field and really dive into the lives of these young men and the volunteer coach profiled in the film.

“It shows sports for what they should be about in the amateur level, which is learning how to be a better person through effort and failure, correction and criticism, and teamwork. I think that’s why we all aspire to be around sports so much. There’s so much more to it than just the on-field or on-court competition. And that’s what I’m so proud of with this film: You don’t have to be a fan of any sport, football or otherwise, to really engage with this story and the idea of people struggling and finding something in their lives positive and constructive to focus on.”

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Sam Farmer discusses Roger Goodell's comments on the NFL in L.A.


After NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's comments about Los Angeles, CineSport's Noah Coslov turns to Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer for a reaction and asks for his Super Bowl XLVI winner.

In his annual Super Bowl news conference Friday, Goodell said the league has no plans to expand beyond its current 32 teams to put a franchise in L.A.

"We have not discussed expansion with the membership," Goodell said. "I don't see it on the agenda, even for this March's meeting. It's not something we're focused on as a league."

Asked if there is a sense of urgency among league owners and executives to return to the nation's second-largest market, Goodell said: "I don't characterize our efforts. I think it's important for us to make smart decisions. We would like to be back in Los Angeles, if we can do it correctly."

Goodell said that with a 10-year labor agreement and TV contract extensions in place, "We have a runway of 10 years. We know what our labor situation is. We know what our television situation is. That should give us the foundation to make smart decisions and try to find a good solution in Los Angeles."


Josh Hamilton relapse: Show some compassion

Dodgers' James Loney won't face charges for accident

NFL not considering expansion for Los Angeles

--Houston Mitchell


Peyton Manning says he's confident he'll return

Peyton Manning

In an interview Tuesday with ESPN's Trey Wingo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said doctors are optimistic he can return to play after multiple neck surgeries.

"Everything they're saying is, 'Everything's right on point, everything looks good,' that I'll be cleared and ready to go," Manning said. "So that's encouraging to me."

If the Colts intend to keep him, they have to pay Manning a $28-million bonus by March 8. Asked what he needs to know -- and the Colts need to know -- before that date, Manning said: "That's hard for me to answer. Certainly [Colts Owner] Jim Irsay and I are going to talk. It's tough to do this week. He's got a lot going on [and] I'm still trying to get tickets for family members coming in."

Manning, whose brother Eli will quarterback the New York Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl, said he plans to attend Irsay's party Thursday night but they probably won't talk about the quarterback's future then.

"We will [talk] at the appropriate time, and when we do, I think some decisions will be made after that," Manning said. "Until then, I'm just continuing to rehab, work hard, and enjoy this week, because it really is a special week for the city and certainly for my family."

Manning said the appropriate time will be "probably after this week.... It will happen soon."

He said his relationship with Irsay is "great. It's always been great, and it will continue to be great for the rest of our lives, I can assure you of that."


Sources say Peyton Manning might not play again

Peyton Manning should play only for the Colts, Michael Irvin says

Super Bowl media bombard Eli Manning with questions -- about Peyton

-- Sam Farmer in Indianapolis

Photo: Peyton Manning. Credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press

Peyton Manning should only play for the Colts, Michael Irvin says

The most talked-about quarterback in Indianapolis this week isn't Tom Brady or Eli Manning, it's Peyton Manning, who might never don a Colts uniform again.

Just about everyone has an opinion about Peyton -- whether he will or won't play again, and if he does, whether he'll be in Indianapolis or elsewhere.

The NFL Network's Michael Irvin is among those who would cringe watching Manning in the colors of one of the other 31 teams.

"It’s a unique situation," Irvin said. "People say it’s like what Brett [Favre] went through in Green Bay, but this is different. They had such tradition before Brett got there.

"Whatever understanding we have of what [Colts Owner Jim] Irsay calls 'the horseshoe,' Peyton made. I heard Irsay say, 'He knows the horseshoe comes first...' What are you talking about? The horseshoe is first?

"The horseshoe was nothing before Peyton got here. You could have taken that horseshoe, you couldn’t have given it away. It wasn’t lucky, it was killing you. Until Peyton got here."


Peyton Manning says he's confident of return

Sources say Peyton Manning might not play again

Super Bowl media bombard Eli Manning with questions -- about Peyton

-- Sam Farmer in Indianapolis

Photo: Peyton Manning on the bench with Curtis Painter in November. Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images.


Sam Farmer on the decline of Philip Rivers [video]


Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer talks about the importance of the Raiders-Chargers game, and the story behind uneven quarterback play throughout the NFL. Among Sam's comments:

--Why the Raiders-Chargers game is so pivotal in deciding who wins the AFC West.

--His thoughts on the decline of Philip Rivers.

--How injuries have made Rivers' job harder.

--The up-and-down season of Joe Flacco.

--Tony Romo's journey from goat to hero to goat to hero.

--Whether the shortened preseason has had an impact on quarterbacks.


For one week, some NFL quarterbacks catch a break

Giants have bridge to cross with trip to San Francisco

--Houston Mitchell




Sam Farmer discusses the Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz clash [Video]


The Times' Sam Farmer talks about the now-infamous handshake between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz on Sunday.

Sam Farmer discusses Week 5 in the NFL [Video]

The Times' Sam Farmer talks about Matt Hasselbeck's success, Cam Newton's maturation and the issues in Philly.

Sam Farmer talks about injured quarterbacks and NFL winning streaks

Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer talks about injured quarterbacks, and which team's winning streak will last the longest:


A closer look at Cam Newton's record-setting debut [video]

Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer with CineSport's Noah Coslov to discuss Cam Newton's debut with the Carolina Panthers, and his upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers.


Sam Farmer previews NFL Week 2 [video]

Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer previews Week 2 in the NFL, taking a close look at winless teams that need a strong showing this weekend before the season gets away from them.


Sam Farmer previews NFL season, discusses Chargers (video)

Sam Farmer tells you the things to watch out for in the upcoming NFL season:


And he takes a closer look at the San Diego Chargers:



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