30 For 30: Year Of The Scab

For three weeks during the NFL strike of 1987,  “No-Names”, “Has-Beens”, and “Never-Would-Be’s” were plucked from obscurity for one last chance at football immortality.   For the first time in the history of professional sports in America, replacement players would take the field. For many, this was their final chance to live the NFL dream.  What they didn’t know was that their golden ticket would become a scarlet letter.


Crossing the picket line to play in the NFL changed their lives, but not in the way they’d expected or hoped. For most of them, what was billed as the last shot at a dream, became the final blow to their careers.  The moment they crossed the picket line, they were no longer athletes; they were scabs.  They were worse than replaceable.  They were disposable.


Today, the replacements are walking among us.  They could be your neighbors, or bartenders, or your kid’s football coaches – living out their lives in quiet dignity with the peace that comes from knowing they took their shot.


In 2019, Year Of The Scab won the Real Screen Award for  “Best Sports Documentary”