The revealing documentary from NFL Films is the definitive story of Barry Sanders’ Hall-of-Fame career and the extraordinary decision to walk away from the game while in his prime
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NEW YORK—November 1, 2023—Bye Bye Barry, the definitive, firsthand account of Barry Sanders’ remarkable life story, will premiere November 21 exclusively on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide, with the exception of Japan. Prime Video also released a teaser trailer in conjunction with the premiere date announcement. Bye Bye Barry is the latest addition to the Prime membership. Prime members in the U.S. enjoy savings, convenience, and entertainment, all in a single membership.
Bye Bye Barry is the long-awaited, feature-length documentary that reveals, in intimate detail, the unprecedented journey of Barry Sanders. One of the giants of the sport, Sanders displayed a style and flair that has never been replicated. His record-breaking career at both Oklahoma State—where he won the Heisman Trophy in 1988—and with the Detroit Lions created a standard that will be celebrated forever. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. His pro career lasted 10 years, and during that span he earned Rookie of the Year honors, was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1997, was a four-time rushing champion, gained more than 1,000 yards rushing in every season, was a six-time first team All-Pro selection, and was named to 10 Pro Bowls.
No one has ever run with a football like Barry Sanders. He moved like Michael Jordan. He had the power of a prizefighter. And he revolutionized the sport while playing on a team that was often overmatched. By the end of his rookie year in Detroit, anyone who saw his elusive style recognized this was a groundbreaking performer. Ten years into his Hall-of-Fame career, it was only a matter of time before he broke Walter Payton’s record for most career rushing yards. But in his prime, at the peak of his game, Sanders did the unthinkable. At age 31, in the summer of 1999, he walked away from the game, never to return. Few retirements have ever been so shocking. And none done with more intrigue.
“Barry Sanders is the best running back to ever play,” said Matt Newman, head of Prime Video Original sports content. “We’ve all watched his highlights and wished he had played longer in the NFL, and wondered why he really retired so abruptly. We are thrilled to look back at his extraordinary career and get to better understand one of the biggest icons of the sport.”
Instead of holding a massive press conference at the Lions’ facility, or conducting a one-on-one interview, Sanders faxed the announcement to his hometown paper in Wichita, Kansas and took a solitary trip. He caught a flight to England and walked around London, leaving the world to guess why he left. And a continent away, everyone did speculate. His team, the city of Detroit, and the entire sports community all had theories on why an immortal would simply walk away from the game. But no one ever had a satisfying answer. Until now.
“Watching Barry Sanders play running back was to witness a mystery,” said Angela Torma of NFL Films, co-director and co-producer of the film. “But Sanders’ career ended with a much bigger mystery: Why did one of the greatest running backs of all time walk away in his prime, on the cusp of breaking the league’s all-time rushing record? In Bye Bye Barry, we discover the reasoning for his retirement, and why it still reverberates so strongly across the sports landscape today.”
Twenty-four years after the shocking decision to walk away from the sport, NFL Films joined the 55-year-old Sanders and his four sons on a trip back to England to explore his career, revisit his upbringing, and share his joys and heartbreaks. Sanders and his boys visit the most famous landmarks in London to tackle one of the greatest mysteries in sports history: Why did he retire when he did? Fans across the NFL landscape have waited a long time for closure. Now, they’ll finally get the conclusive account on why Barry Sanders said “bye bye” to the NFL.
In addition to interviews with Sanders and his family members, Bye Bye Barry also features interviews with Eminem, Jeff Daniels, Tim Allen, Emmitt Smith, Calvin Johnson, Herman Moore, Rodney Peete, Chris Spielman, Kevin Glover, Jalen Rose, Jemele Hill, Dan Patrick, and Bill Belichick.
Presented by Prime Video Sports, Bye Bye Barry is an NFL Films production. Bye Bye Barry is executive produced by Patrick Kelleher, Ross Ketover, Ken Rodgers, and Brian Rolapp of NFL Films. Bye Bye Barry is co-directed by Paul Monusky, Micaela Powers, and Angela Torma.
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About NFL Films
Winner of 136 Sports Emmy awards, NFL Films remains a gold standard in sports television, providing unprecedented access to and legendary storytelling about the sport of professional football. NFL Films is a part of NFL Media, the owned and operated media division of the National Football League, which is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films, the NFL App, NFL.com, NFL+, NFL RedZone, and the streaming service the NFL Channel.
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