5 ESPN 30 for 30 Films on Netflix Every Fan Should Watch (and 5 I Can’t Wait to Watch)

Hey sports fans! Wondering what to watch on Netflix? If you’ve never seen the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary films, you’re in for a treat. I’ve got five 30 for 30 films on Netflix you need to see! #StreamTeam

Disclosure: This post is part of a yearly series in partnership with Netflix. As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I’ll be sharing ideas throughout the year on some of the best Netflix titles to stream with your family. The content, as always, is whatever streams through my own mind! Hope you enjoy!

These are dark times, my friends. Football is over. There are no Winter Olympics on the horizon. As much as I’ve tried, professional baseball does nothing for me, nor does the NBA. Other than the brief buzz from March Madness, there’s not a lot of this sports fan to get excited about until August.

How, exactly, does a fan like myself get through these seasons of darkness and gloom? Netflix and pints of Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream. That’s how. Specifically, by streaming ESPN’s 30 for 30 series and Oberweiss.

Have you ever watched any of the 30 for 30 documentary films? Even if you think you’re not a sports fan, these stories will suck you in. If you think you don’t care about the story, you will. If you think you know the story, you don’t. The subjects, the storylines, the cinematography … they’ll grab you. I can’t tell you how many times Mike has put one on, and I’ll be puttering about, minding my own business. Something will make me stop, listen, and watch for just a minute. And the next thing I know the credits are rolling.

There are over seventy 30 for 30 titles, and many of them are available to stream on Netflix. To help you know where to start, here are my 5 favorite 30 for 30 films and 5 more I’m excited to watch.

My Top Five 30 for 30 Films:

Youngstown Boys: Jim Tressel and Maurice Clarett

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and Maurice Clarett had a history together before either ever set foot on the Ohio State campus. How did their moments of glory quickly turn to disgrace? This is what 30 for 30 does best: take people you think you know everything about and give you never-before-seen insight into their story. It completely changed my perception of both men.


If you struggle to understand how athletes who make so much money can screw it up so completely, so quickly, you need to watch this film. You’ll learn just how easy it is to watch a small fortune disappear, especially for athletes who went from having nothing to everything without any guidance. Shortly after I watched this film, I asked the Colts’ Pat McAfee and Mike McGlynn if any of the aspects of the film resonated with their own experiences. They each had mind-blowing and heartbreaking stories to tell from their own personal experiences as well as those of their teammates.

Survive and Advance

I adore the late Jim Valvano, and could watch his ESPY speech every day. Survive and Advance tells the story of NC State’s unbelievable 1983 tournament season. Get your tissues out, guys and girls. It’s a weeper.

Elway to Marino

As much as I feel that I know so much about the NFL’s current crop of players, I realize I have much to learn about the game’s former greats. I had no idea what went on behind the scenes during the 1983 NFL Draft, and how four of the six quarterbacks taken in the first round would eventually lead their teams to Super Bowls. This is a nail biter, even though we know how it all turns out, with great interviews from everyone involved.

The Birth of Big Air

I dare you to watch as BMX rider Mat Hoffman launches himself into the air and not feel your pulse quicken and your blood pressure rise. Extreme sports and the X Games are what they are today because of what Hoffman and his peers started.

Five 30 for 30 Films In My Queue:

Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. the New York Knicks

To say I’m not a fan of the NBA isn’t completely true. My interest waxes and wanes, depending mostly on the cast of characters playing for the Indiana Pacers. In the mid to late 90s, it was a great cast, and I loved them all. But none as much as Reggie Miller. (We do love our Reggies in Indy, no?) I can’t believe I’ve never watched this film, and I’m looking forward to revisiting some great basketball memories.

hillsborough 30 for 30


After getting swept up in the World Cup last summer, as well as spending time in soccer-crazed Europe, I’d like to know more about the game and its history. Hillsborough tells the story behind the tragic events of April 15, 1989, when 96 people were trampled and crushed to death during a match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England.

King’s Ransom

My interest in hockey has lessened in the years since we left Nashville and its NHL team, the Predators. We went to so many games while we lived there, though. (Thank you, $10 NHL tickets in the nosebleeds!) The highlight was watching the great Wayne Gretzky play in person. King’s Ransom tells the story of the 1988 trade of Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the LA Kings.

The Price of Gold

My Twitter feed was off the hook when this 30 for 30 aired, telling the story of the 1994 attack on Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya Harding, long blamed for her part in the crime, tells her side of the story.

This is What They Want

In 1991 I was a ball girl at the RCA Tennis Championships in Indianapolis. Good heavens, why have I never written about my former ball girl* career? I must! And I will! But … that was also the year that a fading Jimmy Connors made an improbable comeback in the US Open. The RCA Championships immediately preceded the US Open, and I had the unique privilege of being on the court for Jimmy’s run through our tournament. He was full of joy, but he still retained that competitive fire that made you more than a little scared he’d throw a racket at you. I’m watching this one with the kids.

Have you ever watched any of the 30 for 30 films? What’s your favorite?

* Yes, I was a ball girl for 3 years, and a damn good one. You know how the best refs in the NFL get the Super Bowl? Same for ball kids, and I worked the championship match for 2 of my 3 years. I worked matches for Boris Becker, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Jim Courier. So many stories. I promise I’ll write about them someday, including the time I got stuck under the scoring sign on national television.


7th Annual NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup with Peter King

It’s that time of year again, when my hometown of Indianapolis welcomes the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine.

NFL Scouting Combine Indianapolis

Even though I’m a huge football fan and I’ve lived in Indy for almost 10 years, it wasn’t very long ago that I had no idea what the Scouting Combine was or that Indianapolis has been the host since 1987. The Combine is essentially a week-long job interview for college football players hoping for a chance to be drafted into the NFL. Their week consists of medical tests, physical drills, mental evaluations, and interviews. Every team from the NFL sends its coaches, general managers and scouts to the Combine to see the players for themselves and evaluate which ones might be a good fit for their team … and hopefully their next breakout star.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for the city of Indianapolis. It’s estimated that the Combine brings over $5 million in revenue to the city. Each year Indianapolis sees an influx of nearly 800 media personnel, 300 athletes, and the staff of every football team in the NFL. It’s very cool as a fan to spend some time in the city, especially over the Combine weekend. You’ll see focused athletes making their way from hotels to Lucas Oil Stadium. How will you know when you’ve spotted a player? They’re all numbered. Seriously.

Spend any time in a downtown bar or restaurant and you’ll likely run into a current or former player, coach, or media person you know. Last year I had to patiently shuffle behind New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton through a crowded bar to make my way to the ladies room. We were so close I could smell his Juicy Fruit.

So if you’re in Indy, it’s a fun time to wander around downtown for a bit and soak up a very unique football atmosphere, one you can’t find anywhere else.

NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup

Speaking of a unique football atmosphere, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King will be heading up the 7th annual Scouting Combine Tweetup this Friday. You can read the story about how I stumbled into my first Combine Tweetup a few years ago. Since then it’s been one of the highlights of the year for me. This year I have the nail-biting task of organizing the Tweetup for Mr. King! If you’re in or near Indy this weekend, I’d love for you to come. Here are the details:


NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup. You have burning questions about the NFL or the upcoming draft, we have NFL insiders with answers.


Anyone who wants to come! You aren’t required to have a Twitter account, nor do you need to have ever sent a single tweet. However, if you are on Twitter and follow various NFL media, chances are one of them will either be on the panel or in attendance. In past years, we’ve had Indy’s Bob Kravitz, the NFL Network’s Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier and Matt Miller. Oh yeah, and that ESPN guy Adam Schefter was there once, too.

Adam Schefter NFL Combine Tweetup


Sun King Brewing Company, 135 North College Avenue, Indianapolis. Pints of their delicious Fresh•Local•Beer will be available for purchase.


Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.


So we’re trying something a little different this year, and charging for tickets. However, all the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Thrive360. Thrive360 is a local non-profit whose mission is to feed the hungry both locally and globally. This organization means a lot to me, not only because I’ve volunteered with them before, or for the good work they do, but because they make it a priority for families to be able to volunteer together. Anyone with young kids knows it can be hard to find appropriate opportunities the whole family can participate in. All this is to say, your $10 is going to a great cause. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and you can get them via our Eventbrite page. Hurry, though – tickets are selling fast.

I hope to see you there! If we haven’t met before, please find me and introduce yourself!



Modern Mrs. Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2015 Reading Challenge: 12 books I'm reading in 2015

My ever-growing list of Books To Read certainly isn’t lacking for subjects to choose from. It’s one of those lists that’s constantly evolving and will never be completed (thank goodness)! I love a good challenge, though, so when I came across Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2015 Reading Challenge I just had to join in. Sometimes I get stuck in a rut, reading the same kind of books one after another. So between that tendency, and my meh year of reading in 2014, I thought this might just help turn 2015 into a year of fantastic reading. Here’s what I’ll be reading for the Challenge:

A book I’ve been meaning to read:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. This is one of those books that keeps popping up on my horizon. I’ve yet to hear of anyone reading it for whom it hasn’t transformed their way of thinking. And you know how I love anything related to organizing!

A book published this year:

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist. Shauna’s previous book, Bread and Wine, was one of my very favorite reads last year. It helped inspire a resolution this year entertain more. I have a feeling this one will be just as inspirational, but in a completely different way.

A book in a genre I don’t typically read:

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream by H.G. Kissinger. As much as I love, live and breath football, I don’t typically read books about football. In fact, I’m not sure I ever have! Everyone seems to love the movie and television version, so I thought I’d give the book a go and see where it takes me.

A book from my childhood:

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. I was mildly obsessed with this movie as a kid.  (Although not quite as much as I was with The Fox and the Hound, for which I had the backpack, lunchbox, and insisted on play-acting it out with the neighbor kid every damn day.) I think I read the book, but I’m not quite sure. Anyhow, this will be a fine read-aloud for Eli and me.

A book my mom loves:

The Marranos by Liliane Webb. My mom has been subtly … and then not-so-subtly recommending this one to me for well over a year now. Last month she put a copy in my hands, so I don’t have any excuses. It’s out-of-print historical fiction based on the lives of the Jews in hiding during the Spanish Inquisition.

A book that was originally written in a different language:

Nicholas by René Goscinny. Originally published in French in 1959, this is the first in a series of five books about the day-to-day adventures of a young schoolboy and his friends. I’m reading it aloud to Eli right now, and we’re loving the characters and the narration. The kids are kind of wild, and they’re always punching each other and calling each other splendid names, which is 98% of why Eli and I like it so much. The other 2% belongs to the fabulous illustrations. So fun.

A book “everyone” has read but me:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I actually just finished this one before I finished writing this post, so I guess it’s official. Everyone has read this book. I really, really enjoyed it, and it was so good to kick off 2015 with a book I couldn’t put down (except to go grab more tissues, of course).

A book I chose because of the cover:

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children) by Ransom Riggs. In full disclosure, I chose the first book in this series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, solely on the cover. The cover is definitely creepy, so much so that I had to flip it over at night because it gave me the heebie-jeebies on my nightstand. I haven’t read the sequel yet, but the cover is even creepier:

Someone else needs to read this series with me, because I loved the first one and I want someone to talk to about it!

A book by a favorite author:

Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I’m hearing from some that this isn’t their favorite Rainbow Rowell book, but I don’t care. She’s one of my newer favorites and I’ll read anything she writes!

A book recommended by someone with great taste:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I would like to single out Amy Allen Clark of MomAdvice as the biggest influence on my reading habits. She’s a voracious reader, and I look forward to her book reviews so much. If she gives something five stars, it jumps to the top of my “Must Read” list! This is one such book. I just picked it up at the library today, and I’m so excited to dive in.

A book I should have read in high school:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I love the idea of revisiting classics I loved (Hello, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders!), but I’m terrible at reading classics that somehow passed me by. As if books have an expiration date! Hopefully this will inspire me to keep barreling through the list of books I should have read by now.

A book that’s currently on the bestseller list:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I actually held this book in my hand at the library last week and then put it back down. I’ve heard great things, and I want to read it, but I just couldn’t do a WWII-themed book when everything is dull, grey and cold around me. Then again, it’s probably not a beach read, either! I’ll tackle this one in the crisp days of fall, and I bet I’ll love it.

I hope you’ll join along! If you had to pick one of the challenge categories that really excites you, what would it be? And what would your book choice be for that category? Be sure to check out Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Pinterest board for even more inspiration!

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