Sometimes greatness is the result of being in the right place at the right time.
Such was the case for John Facenda’s long stint as the voice of NFL Films.
One night Facenda, already the first “Jim Gardner of Philadelphia” in 1965 visited a tavern in Center City. On the TV was NFL Films. Facenda marveled how impressive the footage was and Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL films, was at the other end of the bar and heard Facenda, who was the anchor of Channel 10’s then top-rated newscast.
“What if I give you a script to read?” Sabol said.
The rest is history.
Sabol said that the three key hires who made NFL Films as good as it was were: Facenda, his son, Steve, and musical composer Sam Spence.
NFL films did only produced only one college film, a 1980 short about Notre Dame called “Wake Up the Echos.”
Out of that, the local school, Temple, asked Facenda if he had time to do the voice over of a Temple vs. Pitt game two years later.
Facenda did it and it appears at the top of this post (and thanks to Zamani Feelings for converting it into the YouTube video).
“I could watch this a billion times just to hear that voice,” said former Temple All-American safety Anthony Young, who makes an interception in the above clip.
Due to his other duties, Facenda politely declined to do any more college videos and he died two years later.
The rest is history, too.
Facenda did hundreds of classic NFL films, but only college voiceovers for that Notre Dame special and that Temple vs. Pitt game.
That’s pretty good company and long after we’re all gone, this is a pretty good video to watch but, most of all, listen.