As the ovation grew louder and more vocal, Mr. Welker, who plays linebacker for the New England Patriots, simply smiled, his face increasingly flushed with anxiety. When it was over, he climbed the stairs to the last row of the upper level, climbed back into his seat and reached down to shake the hands of a few members of the crowd of about 500 who had sat quietly throughout the event.
For all the work that Bill Belichick’s tightknit coaching staff has done, the coach isn’t an actor by nature. There are no big speeches to school players on social media. A sideline microphone, when it’s switched on, isn’t an instrument of entertainment.
So for many years now, NFL Films has won trust of the coaches by keeping them fully informed — and keeping them onstage in front of millions of viewers. And it’s that trust that has grown into a piece of American pop culture.
So, you might ask, why would an ordinary pajama wearing town car salesman want to pull another gimmick?
The answer was simple: It made the NFL Films production — the six-plus-hour documentary series that chronicles every up-and-down moment of the entire league over an 18-month period — a popular hit.