A documentary about the Nebraska football title teams of the 1990s will not be shown in ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series, an ESPN spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
The film, which was to document the roller coaster ride of Nebraska's 1994 and 1995 national title seasons was nixed by ESPN for a "variety of reasons."
"ESPN Films always has a multitude of stories in production at any time. While we remain excited about Nebraska football and its dynasty, for a variety of reasons — including timeline issues — we will not be moving forward with this film," an ESPN spokesperson said in a statement.
1620 KOZN was the first to report the news.
Nebraska's 1994 and 1995 seasons were filled with off-the-field controversy and on-the-field domination. Over the course of two seasons, Nebraska was 25-0 with bowl wins over Miami and Florida. The 1994 season was head coach Tom Osborne’s first national title, and the 1995 team is often referred to as the best team in college football history.
Meanwhile, the Huskers dealt with a variety of off-the-field troubles, including an assault charge and suspension of Heisman hopeful Lawrence Phillips in 1995. Initially, Osborne kicked Phillips off the team after Phillips’ arrest, but Osborne later controversially let Phillips back into the locker room and instead suspended the running back. Phillips played in Nebraska's Fiesta Bowl victory over Florida to win the 1995 title.
The documentary would’ve likely also dealt with the death of quarterback Brook Berringer, who died in a plane crash after the 1995 season. Berringer was the starting quarterback for most of the 1994 season due to quarterback Tommie Frazier's blood clots. Frazier won back the starting job for the 1995 season and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.
The documentary's director, Eric Drath, did not immediately return a message from The World-Herald. Drath had said in an interview in February 2016 with WOWT Channel 6 that he was working on a film about the Huskers.
Other ESPN “30 for 30” documentaries about college football have included the Miami Hurricanes football dynasty, the USC football mini-dynasty under Pete Carroll and the NCAA scandal involving SMU’s program.
1 of 52
Jan. 1, 1964: Nebraska defeated Auburn 13-7 in the Orange Bowl. "It was true what they said about Nebraska being a big, strong and resourceful football team," Miami Herald sports editor Jimmy Burns wrote after the game. "The Cornhuskers lived up to that reputation here."
Jan. 2, 1967: Alabama defeated Nebraska 34-7 in the Sugar Bowl. It was the worst defeat suffered by Nebraska since Oklahoma topped Bob Devaney’s first Husker squad, 34-6, in 1962. Nebraska quarterback Bob Churchich did set a then-NU passing record with 21 completions.
Dec. 20, 1969: Nebraska defeated Georgia 45-6 in the Sun Bowl. "Nebraska's mean Cornhuskers kicked the Georgia Bulldog to death in the first quarter Saturday," then-World-Herald sports editor Wally Provost wrote. The Huskers had six interceptions and recovered two fumbles in the rout.
Jan. 1, 1973: Nebraska defeated Notre Dame 40-6 in the Orange Bowl. The win marked the final game in coach Bob Devaney's career. "A golden era in Cornhuskerdom ended late Monday night in the sauna bath-like heat of the Orange Bowl with the man who made it all possible riding high on the shoulders of his players," The World-Herald's Tom Allan wrote. "And riding even higher in the hearts of all Nebraskans."
Jan. 1, 1974: Nebraska knocked off Texas 19-3 in the Cotton Bowl. Steve Runty, who was playing his final game, waited through a redshirt season and three more years as a substitute before finally getting his chance in the second half against the Longhorns. The Huskers broke a 3-3 tie and outscored Texas 16-0 with Runty under center.
Dec. 26, 1975: Arizona State defeated Nebraska 17-14 in the Fiesta Bowl. Dan Kush, son of ASU coach Frank Kush, was given playing time after his mom "threatened" the coach. It worked, as the kicker connected on three field goals, including the game-winner from 29-yards out with 4:50 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Dec. 30, 1976: Nebraska defeated Texas Tech 27-24 in the Astro-Blue Bonnet Bowl. Husker defensive lineman Ron Pruitt stripped the ball from Red Raider quarterback Rodney Allison in the closing seconds, and Reg Gast recovered to clinch the NU victory.
Jan. 1, 1982: Clemson defeated Nebraska 22-15 in the Orange Bowl to claim the national championship. Roger Craig's 26-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion in the fourth quarter cut the Tigers' lead from 22-7, but NU couldn't finish the comeback.
Jan. 1, 1986: Nebraska lost to Michigan 27-23 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Huskers had more rushing yards (304-171), more passing yards (66-63), more return yards (20-3), more time of possession (32:01 to 27:59) and a better ratio of third-down conversions (7 of 17 to 4 of 14), but also had four turnovers to Michigan's none.
Jan. 1, 1988: Florida State topped Nebraska 31-28 in the Fiesta Bowl. Nebraska I-back Tyreese Knox’s fumble at the Florida State 3-yard line kept the Huskers from turning a 28-24 lead into an 11-point edge with 6:58 left in the game, and FSU quarterback Danny McManus finished a 97-yard, game-winning drive with a 15-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
Jan. 1, 1995: Nebraska claimed the national championship with a 24-17 win over Miami in the Orange Bowl. Fullback Cory Schlesinger scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes. Miami had one last gasp, but Kareem Moss intercepted a pass to clinch the title for Nebraska.
Jan. 2, 1996: Nebraska claimed its second consecutive national championship by defeating Florida 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl. Tommie Frazier ran 16 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and completed 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards and another score.
Jan. 2, 1998: Nebraska won its third national title in four seasons by defeating Tennessee 42-17 in the Orange Bowl. The Huskers entered the game neck-and-neck with Michigan to claim the national title. Said defensive tackle Jason Peter: "Don't give it to Michigan because they haven't seen the national title in 45 years. Give it to us because we're the best team in the country."
Jan. 3, 2002: Nebraska was "blown away" by Miami in the national championship. The Hurricanes won 37-14. When coupled with Nebraska's prior loss to Colorado, it marked the first time NU had lost back-to-back games since 1990.
Jan. 1, 2009: Bo Pelini won nine games in his first year as Nebraska's coach by defeating Clemson 26-21 in the Gator Bowl. With the Tigers at the NU 10-yard line, the Husker defense stepped up. Nebraska batted down a pass, pushed Clemson back 16 yards with a sack and forced back-to-back incompletions to clinch the game.
Dec. 30, 2009: Nebraska defeated Arizona 33-0 in the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska limited Arizona’s pass-happy attack to 109 yards and six first downs, pitching its first postseason shutout, the first in 14 years of Big 12 bowl-game history and the first in Holiday Bowl history.