TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Ex-Dallas coach walks on water

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Tonight's episode of NAKED SPORT (9pm C4) scrutinises a Texan religion: American football. The Christ-like figure is Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, known as 'God's coach' and described by local admirers as 'bigger than Billy Graham or any evangelist you care to mention'. When he was sacked by an unpopular new owner, Landry was given a ticker- tape parade through Dallas and received a telegram from the President. Director Anand Tucker's approach in 'Fields of Blood' is determinedly arty. He shoots Landry silhouetted on the grass like a latter-day Messiah, and interviewees are squeezed into the bottom corner of the screen against a big sky straight out of Paris, Texas. Crunching tackles are accompanied by holy choral music, and the US flag billows to the sound of an a cappella version of 'The Star Spangled Banner'. The Cowboys' cheerleaders' training, to the theme from Dallas, is intercut with slow- motion action from the matches. But God is in the detail; the pre- match schedule for a Texan high school team reads as follows: '6.45: Team Pre-Game Stretch. 7.15: Prayer. 7.20: Star-Spangled Banner. 7.30: Kick-Butt Time.'

(Photograph omitted)