75th NFL Draft: ‘The Grand Crossroads of Hope’

This year marks the diamond anniversary of the NFL draft, a fact that wasn’t lost on NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger, who challenged Brian Lockhart, coordinating producer of features and production design, to come up with a grand introductory video that would capture the significance of 75 years.

“He wanted us to do something big and special for the 75th NFL Draft,” Lockhart said. “He challenged us to do something outside the box.”

The resulting three months of work is above: “The Grand Crossroads of Hope,” a stirring compilation of images that evokes just what the title says.

Click on the video to watch an abbreviation of the final 3-minute version that will open NFL Network’s coverage of the 75th draft, as well as play on the big screen inside Radio City Music Hall on Thursday night.

I’m telling you, there will be goose bumps inside the building as the crowd watches this.

The idea was to hit on three major concepts: Americana, the 75-year history of the draft, and the search for the next football idol. To fuse those into one cohesive package, NFL Network turned to some talented folks.

Emmy Award-winning director and producer of “Thursday Night Football” in 2009, Mark Teitelman, directed the piece. The script was written by Aaron Cohen, current writer of HBO’s “24/7″ series. And that voice narrating? That’s Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper.

The clip prominently features an array of draft prospects — including Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Tim Tebow, Gerald McCoy, Taylor Mays, and Jermaine Gresham — as well as a host of others with supporting rolls. All of the player shots took place on location either before or after their pro days. The full-length video also contains shots of NFL legends Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, and Dan Marino.

The piece incorporates four aerial shots, which took place in Los Angeles, Texas, Oklahoma, and New York. California — because it mirrors different parts of the country — provided the most scenes, including the actual crossroads in Lancaster, Calif.

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