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Michigan football’s 2017 season chronicled in 8-part documentary

The Amazon camera crew documents the Wolverines’ Oct. 14 road win over Indiana. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN PHOTO

Football teams — particularly high-profile college programs — often keep their operations under strict lock and key. Game plans, strategies, internal squabbles, tense moments after losses and ebullient ones after wins frequently stay in-house. That hasn’t been the case, though, in the Big House this season.

Show Info

Title: To be announced
Produced by: Big Ten Network, The Montag Group, University of Michigan
Airing on: Amazon Prime
Episodes: Eight 

Michigan’s football program opened its doors to a film crew during the 2017 season, leading to an eight-part documentary series that will begin airing on Amazon Prime in January. Each episode will capture the team’s journey — on the field and off — by filming on location as many as four days per week.

“We welcome judgment!” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said when the show was announced in September. “We embrace this opportunity to showcase our 2017 University of Michigan football team to a vast audience around the world.”

Viewers will have plenty to judge: The Wolverines entered the year with national title hopes, ranked 11th in The Associated Press preseason poll, but the cameras were there when they fell 14-10 at home to in-state rival Michigan State amid an early October deluge. And the documentarians ventured to Penn State with the team two weeks later, capturing the Nittany Lions’ 42-13 win that snuffed out Michigan’s title hopes. 

The show is being produced by Michigan, the Big Ten Network and the Montag Group, a talent management, consulting and content development firm. It’s a similar concept to another Amazon series — “All or Nothing: A Season with the Arizona Cardinals” — that chronicled the team’s 2015 season. The Montag Group has partnered with Jim Jorden Productions. Jim Jorden spent 15 years working for NFL Films and has garnered 16 Emmys for his work.

While the locker room, practices and team meetings are fair game for camera crews, Michigan will review each episode to ensure on-field and recruiting strategies, among other sensitive information, don’t make the final cut. And the school will receive $2.25 million for participating in the series.

Beyond capturing the action and emotion on Saturdays, the show will follow student-athletes through classes, study halls and events where they lend spare time to the Ann Arbor, Michigan, community.

“We think documenting this season will reveal that our university and football program are unique environments that equip our student-athletes for success in both academics and athletics,” says Warde Manuel, Michigan’s athletics director.

About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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