Monday, December 17, 2012

From Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback to Homeless Castoff

That's the tragic trajectory followed between 1974 and the late 1990s by the man at the center of the in-production feature documentary Joe Gilliam: No Ordinary Joe.

The project's producer-director, Dexter Rogers, is an Indiana freelance journalist who had no intention of becoming a filmmaker. But as he researched a piece on the exploits of Gilliam, who started the 1974 NFL season successfully as the Steelers quarterback before losing the job mysteriously to Terry Bradshaw, it became obvious to him that it merited more of a cinematic touch.

[Photo courtesy: Indiegogo.com]

Rogers hopes to complete his 90-minute documentary by next summer. He's spoken to sportscaster Bob Costas, Hall of Famer Warren Moon and others. He's also got some archival footage of Bradshaw, but the filmmaker recently told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that he's hoping to corral the ex-quarterback-turned-FOX-analyst for his project:

“Bradshaw has been very, very honest and very, very candid about what happened,” Rogers said. “He has stated he knew Joe was a better quarterback and never beat him out.”

Gilliam was cut from the Steelers in 1975, a year after his stellar debut. After struggling with drugs, homelessless late in his life and an inability to find new professional footing, he passed away in 2000. It's a sad story and one that, thanks to Rogers, will likely soon be getting some deserved TV broadcast exposure.

[Joe Gilliam: No Ordinary Joe]

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