Skip to main content

Statement from director Joe Lavine on the making of 'A Lifetime of Sundays'

As part of the celebration of the National Football League's 100th season and to champion the women who have played an integral role in its history, 'A Lifetime of Sundays' offers an unprecedented look at the history of the NFL through the eyes of four iconic female owners: Virginia Halas McCaskey (Chicago Bears), Martha Firestone Ford (Detroit Lions), Patricia Rooney (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Norma Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs).

A Lifetime of Sundays will air on ESPN on Sunday, August 25 at 1 p.m. ET. A week later, it will air on ABC on Sunday, September 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET and 2:30 p.m. PT. The film will be available through ESPN authenticated Video on Demand until September 15 when it moves to ESPN+ and will be available for streaming.

Below is a statement from Emmy and Peabody Award-winning director Joe Lavine on Lions Owner and Chairman Martha Firestone Ford's participation in the film.


"The Lifetime of Sundays film is easily one of the most unique and rewarding projects I've ever worked on. It all started when Jane Goodell organized a panel discussion at the 2018 NFL owners meeting. The panel featured iconic NFL names – McCaskey/Halas, Ford, Rooney and Hunt. What was so special about this panel was that the names belonged to women, not men, and they were sharing stories about their football lives they had rarely spoken about previously.

"Among the four was Mrs. Martha Ford, Chairman of the Detroit Lions. Immediately following the program I got a call from the NFL asking me if I'd be interested in creating a documentary based on the 'Fab Four.' It didn't take long for me to say yes.

"As we started interviewing the four women over the past year, it also became apparent that each had unique realties and stories to tell, so we created different themes and approaches for each of them.

"Mrs. McCaskey is the history of the NFL, going back to her father, George Halas. Mrs. Rooney is the Steelers' connection to the City of Pittsburgh and their Super Bowl victories. Mrs. Hunt is the Super Bowl game itself, as her husband, the late Lamar Hunt, was the one who coined the phrase 'The Super Bowl.' She is also the only female to have attended all 53 of them.

"And for Mrs. Ford, it quickly became apparent how different her reality is compared to the other women in that she is leading the franchise. I would learn how upon assuming control of the team in 2014 after Mr. Ford passed away, she would become as involved at both the team and League level as any NFL owner.

"So our approach with Mrs. Ford was to go behind-the scenes in the operation of the Lions and I truly appreciated the access she gave us. What really resonated with me from the time I spent with Mrs. Ford is how much she truly cares about the team, the City of Detroit and how much she wants to help bring a championship to Lions fans."

Related Content