All Time All-America Team, Programming Highlights ESPN’s College Football 150 Initiative

College football’s All-Time All-America Team will be announced in January 2020 and recognized around the College Football Playoff National Championship in New Orleans, providing a grand finale to ESPN’s College Football 150 initiative. ESPN’s year-long endeavor, which begins January 2, 2019, is in conjunction with the sport’s overall sesquicentennial celebration, led by the CFB 150 organization.

“The unrivaled passion of sports fans led to ESPN’s creation and no sport exemplifies that passion more than college football,” says ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. “The 150th anniversary will be an unparalleled celebration of college football, providing the backdrop for ESPN’s vast platforms to explore the sport’s deep-rooted affiliation with American culture. Emerging from that rich history will be the formation of The All-Time All America Team, representing the single best player at each position on the field.”

The All-Time All-America Team will feature 25 players: 11 on offense, 11 on defense, a kicker, punter, and return specialist. The team will be voted on by a select 150-member panel from across college football, made up of former coaches and players as well as media members, administrators, and additional key figures in and around the sport.

“The All-Time All-America team is a great way to culminate the year-long celebration of the sport,” notes Kevin Weiberg, Executive Director of the College Football 150th Anniversary. “ESPN consulted with us in assembling a broad-based national panel of voters and will keep us informed as the voting process takes place. We look forward to recognizing these extraordinary athletes as part of the Anniversary celebration.”

The All-Time All-America Team announcement will conclude ESPN’s year-long, College Football 150 storytelling experience. A sampling of what is to come:

The 150 Greatest Coaches, Games, Players, and Teams
College football’s all-time best coaches, games, players, and teams will be determined by the same select 150-member panel from across the sport that will do the voting for the All-Time All America Team. All divisions and eras will be considered by the panel.

The greatest teams will be unveiled around the launch of 150 consecutive days of original content in August. The greatest games will be revealed on November 6, 2019, the 150th anniversary of the first college football game, followed by the announcement of the greatest coaches during Heisman week in December. Finally, the greatest players will precede the All-Time All-America Team announcement in January 2020.

Football Is US: Two Documentaries Exploring the Evolution of the Sport
Football Is US: The College Game begins with Rutgers vs. Princeton in 1869, college football’s first game, then continues to the present day, profiling what has become an American institution. Debuting in August, the film will chronicle the innovators who moved the game forward, the university programs that led the sport from the so-called “Rag Days” of the 1800s through today, and the most pivotal on-field moments in college football history. From the ideals of amateurism and loyalty, to the pageantry and tradition, to the narratives of American history woven so deeply into the annals of the game itself, the film will seek to explore a seminal question: What sets college football apart from every other sport?

Football Is US: The College Player will focus on the evolution of the young student-athletes who’ve played the game over its long and storied history. As much as any other facet of the sport, the backgrounds, identities, priorities, and collegiate experiences of its players have all been transformed over the last 150 years. Those changes are a reflection of fundamental changes in America and the massive growth of the game. From recollections of the all-time greats to explorations of the lives of the players today, this film debuting in January 2020 will be a reminder that the story of the game is their story. After all, more than anyone else, it’s the players on the field who’ve created the unforgettable moments and fueled college football’s unabated rise in popularity.

The Football Is US documentaries will be directed by Jonathan Hock, an Emmy Award winner from ESPN’s critically acclaimed 30 for 30 franchise. Hock has directed multiple 30 for 30 films, including The Best that Never Was, the story of running back Marcus Dupree.

The two films join the previously announced eight-part, 12-hour ESPN Films SEC Storied documentary Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football, which will debut on SEC Network in September 2019, comprising three significant films as part of the ESPN College Football 150 initiative.

My Story: 150 Personal Anecdotes to be Featured Daily
Threading throughout the 150 consecutive days of original content, this series of one-minute testimonials from all parts of the college football tapestry – current and former players, coaches, administrators, media, and fans – will offer memories of the game through engaging tales and some of the best untold stories, breathing new life into the history of the sport. For one minute, every day, for 150 days, these stories will capture the very essence of college football and be featured across multiple ESPN platforms. Watch an example here

Weekly Themes to Guide Content Across ESPN’s Platforms Throughout the 2019 Season
ESPN will have weekly themes serving as a guide for its College Football 150 content for 11 weeks during the 2019 season. The themes are:

  • Culture
  • College-pro relationship
  • Evolution of the game
  • “Game of the Century” concept
  • Heisman
  • How college football has selected its champions
  • Integration
  • Notre Dame
  • Recruiting
  • Rivalries
  • Television

Two documentary series, The American Game and The Greatest (both previously announced in October), will debut in September 2019 and explore these themes. The weekly content themes will also be woven through ESPN’s programming, including on SportsCenter and College GameDay Built by The Home Depot. Additionally, ESPN will designate a College Football 150 Game of the Week during the 2019 season, as well as other related content throughout the year.

The schedule of themes will be announced prior to the start of the 2019 season.

“Our goal is to give a wide-ranging, intensive look at the sport’s history, with each part of content adding an element to the entire CFB 150 portfolio,” says ESPN Vice President & Executive Producer John Dahl, who is overseeing College Football 150. “We’ll delve into a variety of topics, including sensitive subjects around race and issues that have challenged the game, but also celebrate the sport and its position in American history.”

ESPN.com and the ESPN App: Will Launch ESPN’s College Football 150 Initiative in January 2019; Ranks the 20 Greatest Games that have Crowned the Sport’s National Champions Leading into the CFP
ESPN.com and the ESPN App will begin the year-long celebration on January 2, 2019, with an opening essay on the significant role college football has played in the fabric of American life written by Ivan Maisel, a member of the Football Writers Association Hall of Fame. Leading into this season’s College Football Playoff National Championship, ESPN.com will rank the 20 greatest games — or collection of games — that have crowned college football’s national champions over the years.

The January offering will begin a vast array of digital content to be highlighted by a series of major feature stories throughout 2019. The features will span the breadth of the game’s 150 years, as well as college football’s place in American life through the decades. ESPN.com and the ESPN App will also be the first to reveal each of the 150 Greatest lists, including the fans’ picks, and will repost historical features that have run on the site in recent years.

Down and Distance: New Podcast Series to Debut in August
A series of original podcasts spotlighting different stories and perspectives from the 150 years of college football and how they reflected American culture will drop around the launch of the 150 consecutive days of original content in August. They will be written and narrated by Maisel, who also co-hosts the ESPN Campus Conversation podcast.

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