Celebrity Visits

“When The Game Stands Tall’s” Caviezel heaps praise on MNF and 30 for 30

Kevin Negandhi (l) and actor Jim Caviezel on the SportsCenter set.(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
Anchor Kevin Negandhi (l) interviewed actor Jim Caviezel on SportsCenter.
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
Greenberg and the Caviezels

Seth Greenberg (Rich Arden / ESPN Images)
Seth Greenberg
(Rich Arden/ESPN Images)
ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg coached Jim Caviezel’s brother, Tim, at Long Beach State University in the early 1990s. A 6-foot-7 guard – “an electric athlete,” Greenberg said – Tim Caviezel transferred to LBSU after two seasons at the University of Washington.

Greenberg recalls bonding with the Caviezels when the rabid Washington Husky fans would visit his Long Beach, Calif. home to watch college football games and eat spaghetti.

Said Jim Caviezel, whom Greenberg reunited with when they bumped into each other at the 2002 Kentucky Derby: “I know Seth very well. He was my brother’s coach at Long Beach State with [players] Bryon Russell, James Cotton and Lucious Harris. That was an amazing team.”

“My wife, Karen, would cook and by the end of the game, both brothers would be passed out on the couch,” Greenberg said. “They were good people. They reminded me of my own family.”

Tim Caviezel (Courtesy of Long Beach State athletics)
Tim Caviezel
(Courtesy of Long Beach State University Athletics)

Between ESPN “Car Wash” interviews on a visit to the network’s Bristol, Conn. campus recently, actor Jim Caviezel recited accurate Super Bowl histories of NFL teams whose pennants adorn the network’s hallways. NFL Films voice-over legend John Facenda would have been proud.

It’s little wonder Caviezel, a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan, who portrays famed De La Salle High School football coach Bob Ladouceur in the film “When The Game Stands Tall,” (releasing tomorrow) recently had the “honor” of narrating the Super Bowl-champion Seahawks’ 2013 season highlight reel.

I watch those more than the films I’m supposed to watch for the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] – I’m an Academy member. I watch all the 30 for 30s. There hasn’t been one I’ve missed. They’re absolutely incredible.
– Actor Jim Caviezel

Caviezel, the star of the CBS drama “Person Of Interest” and myriad films including “The Thin Red Line,” is also a huge fan of ESPN and especially its ability to tell compelling stories, he told Front Row.

On ESPN/ABC’s Monday Night Football:
Are you kidding? When the MNF music came on. . . I was Roger Staubach and my brother [Tim, see sidebar] was Tony Dorsett [Dallas Cowboys stars of the 1970s and 80s]. We would jump over my mom’s furniture and go in for touchdowns while the music was playing in the background. She would just rip into us when we tore up her sofa doing that. [A love for] Monday Night Football was instilled in us a long time ago. ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over!’

On the Emmy-winning 30 for 30 film series:
I watch those more than the films I’m supposed to watch for the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] – I’m an Academy member. I watch all the 30 for 30s. There hasn’t been one I’ve missed. They’re absolutely incredible. I watched the ones on the soccer [this summer]. The thing in England, Hillsborough. Devastating. The one on Maradona [Maradona ’86, about soccer legend Diego Maradona]. In 1986, we still had a black-and-white TV in our house, so I didn’t fully get to see what Maradona was until I watched the whole story behind him. He went through a defense like it was standing still.

On watching Thomas Carter, director of “When The Game Stands Tall,” as an actor in reruns of “The White Shadow,” which ESPN Classic has aired:
That’s so awesome. We’ve talked about [Carter’s work on “The White Shadow”] a lot. I’ve watched it a lot. As a director, he’s fantastic. He did an amazing job on this movie. Putting a movie together is like putting a collage together. This one, the first part of the movie, in the opening act, they establish the [record 151-game] winning streak. It’s done, it’s over. The rest of it is dealing with adversity. It makes for great drama.

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