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HBO Sports, NFL Films partner on 'Belichick & Saban' doc

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  • By NFL Films
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NEW YORK -- The newest installment of the Emmy Award-winning programming partnership of HBO Sports and NFL Films profiles the long-standing relationship between generational football coaches Bill Belichick and Nick Saban in a feature-length documentary titled "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching," it was announced today by Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports and Ross Ketover, Chief Executive of NFL Films. Directed by award-winning documentarian Ken Rodgers and produced by Paul Camarata, both of NFL Films, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" will premiere TUESDAY, DEC. 10 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

"Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and HBO partners' streaming platforms.

"Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have earned their rightful place in the pantheon of greatest coaches ever, across all sports, and this film intimately spotlights their woven history from Navy to Cleveland to now," said Nelson. "It will capture for the first-time ever some of the most engaging and personal conversations held every year by the two most towering figures in the game today. We are excited to partner with NFL Films to tell this unique story of friendship and mentorship."

"Bill Belichick and Nick Saban have become the modern versions of Vince Lombardi and John Wooden - symbols of success not just in sports, but in life," said Ross Ketover, Chief Executive of NFL FILMS. "Their lessons on leadership are an inspiration; not just for those of us who love football, but for anyone who wants to thrive at whatever passion they pursue."

Spanning 90 minutes, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" brings into focus a four-decade-long friendship between two of the most successful and revered football coaches in the history of the sport. Belichick and Saban grant unprecedented camera access to their annual coaching retreat, where they share a multi-layered conversation about their interwoven history, admiration, coaching philosophies, and more. The intimate portrait invites viewers to examine first-hand their blueprints for organizational success, in what can only be described as a literal "meeting of the minds."

Combined with one-on-one interviews and extensive inside access captured over the past three decades, "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" includes topics never publicly broached before, including their fathers' respective influences on their careers, their tenure with the Cleveland Browns organization in the 1990s, and how they connect with the newest generation of players. The film features interviews with peers, assistant coaches and family members, including both coaches' children, Hall of Fame tight end and former Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, among many others.

Belichick and Saban met in 1982 in Annapolis, Md., home of the United States Naval Academy, where Saban served as an assistant coach alongside Bill's father, Steve Belichick. Their first encounter sparked one of football's most powerful friendships. In 1991, Belichick was named head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and shortly thereafter he hired Saban to command his defense. Under their tutelage, the Browns produced one of the NFL's most formidable units. Their early success foreshadowed more than two decades of dominance. Since then, Belichick has led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl victories, and his 292 career wins rank third all-time in NFL history. The powerhouse organization built by Belichick in Foxborough has resulted in 16 AFC East titles and nine AFC Conference championships. Saban, meanwhile, has amassed six national championships and 232 career victories (Toledo, Michigan State, LSU and Alabama). Five of the national titles have occurred since Saban's arrival in 2007 to Tuscaloosa. Saban's success with the Crimson Tide has turned him into an iconic figure, fueled by a winning percentage of .874 since taking over at Alabama.

"Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" is the latest collaborative effort between HBO Sports and NFL Films, which has produced 30 Sports Emmy Awards for production excellence, including the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary for the landmark football biographies "Namath" and "Lombardi." The unrivaled partnership dates back to 1977 and has included studio show presentations, unscripted programming and documentary films.

Winner of 129 Sports Emmy Awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.

An exclusive video trailer from the documentary will premiere tonight (Sept. 3) immediately before and after the season finale of "Hard Knocks." Episode five of "Hard Knocks" begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO tonight.

The executive producers of "Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" are Brian Rolapp, Hans Schroeder, Ross Ketover, Pat Kelleher for NFL Media; Peter Nelson and Rick Bernstein for HBO Sports; directed by Ken Rodgers; produced by Paul Camarata; music composed by Dave Robidoux of NFL Films.

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