Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s ‘You Don’t Know Bo’ Reminds Us Of What Could Have Been

You don’t need to tell Raider Nation that the career of Bo Jackson was cut tragically short. I was at the L.A. Coliseum for what would become Jackson’s final game of his all-too-short football career. That afternoon I assumed Jackson only suffered a minor setback. As we all know that setback would become the injury that robbed the sports or of its greatest modern athlete.

I can confidently make the claim of Jackson being the greatest athlete of his generation now with the backing of documentary filmmaker Michael Bonfiglio whose ESPN funded film ‘You Don’t Know Bo’ echoes that same sentiment.

For years Raider Nation singled out Jackson as one of the great running backs to ever play the game even though he never played a full season. Countless others made similar claims but more often than not Jackson was passed off as a blimp on the sports radar.

The importance of documentary filmmaking is reflected in the thorough and comprehensive ‘You Don’t Know Bo’ that debuted over the weekend. Those that watched were either led down memory or were taken on a journey the likes of which they’ve never experienced.

Future generations will now know of Jackson thanks to the efforts of ESPN and Bonfiglio.

From Bo’s remarkable rise from small town football prospect to Heisman trophy winner to two-sport standout and on down to his unstoppable digital doppelganger on Tecmo Bowl all is accounted for in the minimalist documentary.

When it comes to discussing Jackson everyone has a story they tell that always seems more hyperbole than truth. Thankfully many of his unreal exploits are forever frozen in the form of highlights now readily available to anyone with internet access.

One such moment that has become an iconic moment in Jackson’s career was also discussed in depth in the documentary. Bo’s infamous touchdown run on Monday night in which he almost literally ran out of the Kingdome is as lasting an image of Jackson as there ever was. Sadly it also seemed to symbolize his career.

As quickly as Jackson ran past the Seahawk defenders that evening is about as fast as he ran in and out of our sports lives, vanishing into the tunnel running while reemerging walking.

For those of us fortunate enough to witness the greatness of Bo we can only wonder what could have been. A healthy Jackson playing a full compliment of games could have rewritten the NFL record book. But that was never meant to be.

For those that never saw Jackson do yourselves a favor and watch the documentary then spend some time digging around online for highlights. You too will wonder how such a special talent could have come and gone so quickly. More importantly though, you’ll forever tell the tale of the greatest career that never was fully realized.

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