‘Dark Side of Football’ Features Diva Wide Receivers, NFL’s Painkiller Problem and Bill Belichick (Exclusive)

Watch Bill Romanowski share the one and only time he let someone “punk” him in the league

The “Dark Side of Football” Season 1 participants would make a pretty darn good NFL roster – and the storylines should make for some entertaining TV.

The six, one-hour episodes of Vice’s “Dark Side of the Ring” spinoff will include an episode on Bill Belichick, another focused on the origins of the Oakland Raiders’ notorious reputation and a third that explores the league’s painkiller problem and the often tragic results of its unwritten rule to “play with the pain,” in the docuseries’ words.

And that’s literally just the half of it. Other subjects covered include violence among some hardcore fans, the pathetic (not last year!) Cleveland Browns, and one episode dedicated entirely to diva wide receivers, TheWrap has learned.

Participants interviewed for and appearing in the program include Chad Johnson, Mike Ditka, Plaxico Burress, Donte Stallworth, Jemele Hill, Bill Romanowski, Jim McMahon, Ricky Williams, Kyle Turley and Lincoln Kennedy, we’re told. A few of those diva wideouts right there.

Romanowski, who is neither a diva nor a wide receiver (plenty of players have accused him of being the dirtiest in the game), shares the story of the one and only time he let somebody “punk” him in the NFL. Ronnie Lott — and a bunch of steroids — saw to that.

Watch the video above for the NFL’s original Romo’s (sorry Tony) story.

“Dark Side of Football” explores the tension between America’s deeply entrenched and undying love of football, and its unending ability to corrupt those who live and die for it, as Vice’s logline reads. The series will dive deep into the multi-billion dollar machine and monolithic American tradition of professional football that is the National Football League. No other sport manages their image more carefully than the NFL and “Dark Side of Football” breaks through what is sometimes a wall of secrecy to shed light on events and trends from the NFL’s last 40+ years with unprecedented access to former players, coaches, and executives and exclusive interviews with individuals’ family members and inner circles.

“The meteoric success of Vice TV’s ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ opened up an opportunity for us to expand the franchise to explore other cultural touchstones.” Morgan Hertzan, executive vice president and general manager of Vice TV, said in a statement. “The ‘Dark Side’ franchise explores the underbellies of worlds many prefer left in the shadows and ‘Dark Side of Football’ is a show made out of love for the sport by a network known for its no holds barred approach to storytelling.”

“Dark Side of Football” is produced by 44 Blue Productions, a Red Arrow Studios Company. Executive producers are Rasha Drachkovitch, David Hale, Jason Sklaver and Graham Hughes. Co-executive producers are Alan Bloom and Paul Haddad. Executive producer for Vice TV is Lee Hoffman. The series is distributed worldwide by Vice Distribution.

“Dark Side of Football” debuts Thursday, May 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Vice.


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