Peter Berg loves football. The producer and director who brought “Friday Night Lights” to both the big and small screens grew up a New York Giants fan and helps coach his son’s youth team. But ten years ago, when Berg was filming the film version of “Friday Night Lights” on location in Texas, he witnessed a devastating on-field injury which resulted in a 15-year old player becoming paralyzed. Determined to help make the sport he loved safer, Berg started working on the “Heads Up Football” initiative with USA Football and the NFL.
Last week, at a media luncheon at HBO’s headquarters in New York City, Berg discussed his new “State of Play” documentary series for HBO Sports which will spotlight a topic or person who has made a major impact on the sports world. The first installation, “State of Play: Trophy Kids,” premiered on December 4. The next film in the series, “Culture Shock,” will be a no-holds-barred look at the NFL's approach to safety. Both the league and NFLPA have promised Berg and his team unprecedented access and the documentary will include a one-on-one interview by Berg with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Berg spent about 30 minutes talking about his experience and sharing his candid opinions on a number of matters relating to NFL safety, how the league addresses the issue, and his basic take on the NFL's approach and why they're changing their tune now. Here are a few of the highlights from Berg’s candid comments.