Kenny Chesney might be better known for his high energy concerts and hit songs than his football skills, but the lessons he learned while playing high school football have stayed with him throughout his life. Kenny has spent the past year filming a documentary, ‘The Boys of Fall,’ about the game he says helped shape him into the person he is today.
“I was the starting wide receiver, which tells you how great we were,” Kenny says of his days playing for Gibbs High near Knoxville, Tenn. “And I quit growing my freshman year. But I now know why we practiced longer, why our coach put us through double practices in the summer heat… all those things he put us through. It was to teach us things me and everybody on our team has used to become the people we are.”
‘The Boys of Fall’ will follow the power and passion that drives high school football, both in the moment and when high school is a thing of the past. In the film, Kenny will talk with some of the biggest names in football, many of whom are personal friends. Superbowl coach Sean Payton, John Madden, Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, the University of Tennessee’s former head coach Phil Fulmer, the University of Alabama’s Nick Saban and Bobby Bowden will appear on screen alongside high school coaches from Illinois, Texas and Tennessee.
The idea for the documentary was born from a song Kenny recorded for an upcoming album. “Anyone who knows me knows how much I look to football, the lessons learned, the experiences, the feelings as a map for living life, having a music career, being the kind of man I want to be. When I was looking for songs for my album, someone pitched me ‘The Boys of Fall’ and it struck me as everything I think and feel about that experience… and that song was like striking a match!
“I have the ability to have some pretty amazing conversations with some pretty big coaches… some pretty amazing players… I knew Peyton Manning when he was a UT Vol… I’ve watched him apply a lot of the same philosophies to his life… and when you realize how universal what you live is and how much it means no matter who you are or where you live, you start looking a little deeper,” Kenny explains.
“The documentary came out of that: those conversations, the lessons, the discipline, the fun… And everyone I approached, when they understood we were looking for the soul of the game as its played in high school, not only were they willing to talk to us, they’d pick up the phone – and send us to people they thought we needed to talk to, people like Ohio State’s Jim Tressel, Duke University’s David Cutcliffe, JA Moore, Jr, the winningest high school football coach in Texas.”
Details for when and where “The Boys of Fall” will air are being finalized.