30 for 30: Brian and the Boz | A Telling Documentary of a Sooner Legend


Less than four minutes into ESPN’s 30 for 30: Brian and the Boz, a side to Brian Bosworth was revealed that most people outside of Norman, Oklahoma never knew existed. The world still sees him as somewhat of a comic book character. ESPN did a great job of showing us that he was and is more than that.

In recent years Bosworth has found a new path in life guided by a newly found faith in God and a strong motivation to right a number of wrongs. ESPN did a really good job of showing us exactly how much he has changed.

Some Oklahoma fans and former players still hold a grudge against the Boz and it’s evident in the documentary. Tony Casillas made it clear in his appearance in the documentary that he still feels some ill will towards his former teammate.

One of the most impressive things I took from the documentary was how intent Bosworth is on ensuring his children don’t see their father as “The Boz” and in some way learn from his mistakes. As much as you would not want your kids to be like that version of Bosworth, the man we see today is exactly what I would hope my son would end up like.

Perhaps something even Oklahoma fans, especially younger fans, tend to forget is just how great of a recruiter Barry Switzer was. When Bosworth talks about his experience with being recruited by Switzer I was reminded of how many similar stories I have heard over the years that were just like his. Switzer just had a way of making kids feel special and he had a charisma that just drew people in. I can tell you from experience that he still has that ability.

I found it interesting that Bosworth looked at Switzer as replacing his dad as a father figure. When Bosworth wrote his biography, “The Boz” he spared his father from any criticism, but had some negative things to say about Switzer and the Oklahoma program.

lIn Brian and the Boz his father, Foster, was not shown in a positive light and Bosworth talked highly of Switzer and shared his regret for how he turned his back on his coach and teammates. So many people to this day look back at the Oklahoma program in the 80’s as a façade or just a big publicity machine, but even a guy like the Boz, who for a long period of time lost all ties to the program, still thinks of Switzer as one of the most important people in his life.

The ESPN documentary really got me thinking about the differences between those great Oklahoma teams and the teams OU fans have been so disappointed with in recent years.

Besides a drop in talent, Oklahoma teams today lack that certain killer instinct that Boz and his teammates had in the 80’s. Bosworth never hesitated to let the world know how much he hated Texas. Outside of Trent Smith we just don’t see players at Oklahoma that seem to share the same dislike for another program that us as fans have.

Can you imagine how a player like Bosworth would fair in a Bob Stoops ran program?

Over the years the story of Bo Jackson running over the Boz in the NFL has been blown way out of proportion. It was definitely a big topic in this “30 for 30”. The matchup was so hyped at the time that Jackson’s touchdown had become legendary and the man everyone loved to hate, the Boz, was made to look like a chump.

Reality is the collision was anything but violent and it was nothing more than a touchdown run that we see every week in the NFL. It was the world’s hatred for Bosworth that created something out of nothing on that touchdown.

The most unfortunate thing to come from all the hype that was the “Boz” was that many of us have lost sight of just how dominant of a player he was at Oklahoma. Watching some of the old highlights in this documentary reminded me of how great he was on the field.

Most people still think of that 1985 championship team as team that ran the wishbone and had a great true freshman quarterback named Jamelle Holieway that took over for Troy Aikman and led the Sooners to a title. Reality is that team dominated because of it’s smothering defense led by three All-Americans and the best defensive player in the country at that time in Bosworth.

Brian and the Boz was a great look at how really good guys can be completely changed for the worse by fame and notoriety. To see Bosworth then grow and become a better man while teaching his kids the lessons he learned from his past was a wonderful thing to see. Seeing those tears in his eyes while he tells his son about what he was in college really should serve as a lesson for all of us about how we will always have to live with our decisions, but it’s also a great lesson in how our past doesn’t have to be a deciding factor in what type of person we can be today.

I have a six year old son who I have already pegged as the 2027 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma and I will show him this “30 for 30” episode as a teaching tool. I wouldn’t want him to be like the Boz, but I’d love for him to be like Brian Bosworth.

If he learns one thing from watching this documentary it’s that time goes by so quickly and we only have a short time to make the best of the opportunities we have, which was so brilliantly said by Bosworth in the end of Brian and the Boz when he said, “…time of your life. A small window and then it’s gone.”