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'Primetime': The Synopsis, the Take, and "Neon" Deion

In this installment of the '30 for 30' series, the main character outshines the story.

Sports Illustrated

The Synopsis

In few scenarios, there are no introductions needed. The man who transformed himself into who we now know as Primetime requires none of that.

This film was obviously about Deion Sanders, not just Deion as a person, but what made Deion the person he is. Mainly centering around the 1992 athletic seasons, carrying over from that year's MLB into that year's NFL season, this film highlighted how Sanders played a key role in them both. It did so in a very concise manner, first using the 1991 athletic seasons to highlight how things would turn out the way they did.

According to the film, Deion's NFL contract would stipulate that he report to training camp on August 1st, effectively ending his baseball seasons on July 31st. In the 1991 season however, after a suspension to another outfielder, then Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz was compelled to ask Sanders back for the duration of that suspension. With the blessings of the Atlanta Falcons organization, his coach, and teammates, Sanders would return to the Braves for the duration of the suspension of his teammate.

As the 1992 season rolled around, Sanders sought to have his NFL deal changed, in a manner that would still require him to report August 1 but would allow him to also play with the Braves should they qualify for the postseason. Well they did, and that is where things got sticky. It was apparently Schuerholz opinion that Sanders had committed to solely being a baseball player during this run with the Braves, while Sanders would tell you "full time" meant never missing a game. It got really murky as that year's National League Championship Series rolled around, which is what the film hung its hat on. This is the series that Sanders would attempt to play in a NFL game in Miami on Sunday October 11, a day after playing a baseball game in Pittsburgh, with the intention of returning to Pittsburgh that night to play in the next game in the series. It ultimately didn't happen, and not because he didn't try, but he was never inserted into the baseball game after returning to Pittsburgh from Miami.

The Take

Sanders maintains that there was an agenda at play here, and rightfully so, as he should have been celebrated for his attempt at rare air, not punished as he was. Deion Sanders is the best NFL defensive back of all time, and was one hell of a baseball player. What sane person would want to hold any of that back if he himself was willing to lay it all on the line to give it to you? He was railroaded in that particular scenario, and not only by the decision makers for the Braves, but then by those tasked with calling the game. He would eventually have the last laugh, as he went on to notoriously soak baseball announcer and former big leaguer, Tim McCarver, with a tub of cold water and ice cubes.

Deion Sanders should have been the man to play in two different professional sports games in one day, but like many times and especially now, the player was blamed. In an attempt to do something so epically heroic, he was treated like a villain, and that wasn't right. In any event, and to continue his "last laugh tour", He would also help the Braves go on to win the World Series. You could say it turned out to be a win for everyone involved.

All-Time Primetime

On Prime

Deion Primetime Sanders was larger than life, and still illuminates the room even to this day. He was a brand name then, and continues to be one now. Self admitted, of course but not out of line, Deion Sanders was "a bad boy." Even if you knew everything that was in this film, Sanders was still able to wow you with his delivery and detailed story telling. In speaking about his total and complete athletic prowess, Sanders states that "he tried to play for the Hawks too" and that he would have given them "12 a game." Deion even went as far as to tell you where it all came from, Primetime, that is. Displaying his intelligence all the while, Sanders recounted how he created the persona and the brand we call Primetime during his sophomore year of college. He said this was in response to seeing how much NFL salaries were, and especially after seeing that his position was one of the least paid. Lastly, and probably most impressive, was Deion's sense of self. He profoundly stated that on the baseball diamond, you got Deion, and on the gridiron, you got Primetime. These were reflections of what he thought he needed to give each of the games he loved in order to be his best self in that particular sport.

Gotta love Primetime, and not just the person, but the film was awesome too.

Prime... time.... Prime... time... Prime... time.

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'Primetime': The Synopsis, the Take, and "Neon" Deion
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