When Greg Frith finally found himself in front of Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid this summer, the veteran NFL Films producer couldn’t help but make a joke about the factors that conspired to prevent their meeting.
“I said, ‘Look, the Chiefs finally win, you finally win … and the world ends,’” Frith recently told Yahoo Sports with a laugh. “I don’t think we thought there were going to be shows for quite a while.”
Despite the complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, NFL Films has given the Chiefs their official championship coronation in the form of two soon-to-be-released documentaries.
On Wednesday, the NFL Network will air the latest in its popular “America’s Game” series, this one on the 2019 Chiefs. It will star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, safety Tyrann Mathieu and tight end Travis Kelce and air at 8 p.m. ET. It’ll be followed by “Time’s Yours: Andy Reid & the 2019 Chiefs,” another one-hour documentary that will also tell the story of last season’s championship run, this one through the eyes of the coaching staff.
Both shows are the continuation of NFL Films’ annual efforts to celebrate the reigning Super Bowl champions. Every past Super Bowl-winning team has had an “America’s Game.”
“We wanted to make sure the Chiefs got their due,” said Jason Weber, another veteran NFL Films staffer who is the producer of this year’s “America’s Game.”
None of those other documentaries had to be done under the circumstances Frith, the producer of “Times Yours,” and Weber found themselves in this year. Typically, NFL Films does the interviews for the shows in April and May, leaving them June, July and August to write the script, select the iconic music and fit it all together. This year, because of COVID, they didn’t start doing the interviews until early August, making for a scramble to stay on their traditional timeline for release.
“We’re talking about turning this thing around in 2½ weeks that you’re used to 2-3 months to put together,” Frith said. “So I don’t think it was even until the end of July where we knew we were clear to go ahead and do this thing. And then once we did, it was hair on fire to get it finished.”
The COVID interruption forced Frith to dial back the ambitiousness of the coaches’ show. In past episodes, NFL Films has interviewed the entire staff — head coach, coordinators, position coaches — over the course of two or three days. This time, they spoke to only three — Reid, Eric Bieniemy and Steve Spagnuolo — for about 90 minutes apiece.
“There’s enough with their story together, individually, that it drives an hour easily,” said Frith, who hinted that the coaches’ show skews more toward the defensive side than he thought it would, given the Chiefs’ powerful offense.
“As we played out the season with the coaching staff, in a lot of ways it was a defensive story. Andy’s teams were always good, they just couldn’t get over the hump … it was looking like the same old Chiefs at one point this season, [with] a great offense and the defense [letting] them down eventually. But then the defense turned it around, and Spags is great at explaining it.”
Each “America’s Game” episode features interviews with three players, and Weber got his first three choices of Mahomes, Mathieu and Kelce. The hourlong conversations took place early in training camp.
The selection of narrators is another critical component for all good NFL Films documentaries, and ultimately, Weber tabbed actor Paul Rudd to narrate “America’s Game” while Frith landed “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet for “Time’s Yours.” Both actors are noted Chiefs fans, and as such, were happy to step up to the plate, with Stonestreet taping his audio at a studio and Rudd taping his — dead serious — in a closet in his house.
“Paul recorded it directly into his computer, then sent us the file,” Weber said.
Despite the challenges of a tight and uncertain timeline, both producers are happy with the end results.
“I even said to the coaches, ‘We can’t mess this one up,’” Frith said. “This is a team that hasn’t won in 50 years, a coach that hasn’t won in 20, [with some] great wins, great plays, I mean, if we can’t knock this one out the park, then I don’t know what we’re doing.”
Football fans can look forward to significant insight on multiple aspects of the Chiefs’ season in both shows, including two of the most famous plays from the Super Bowl, “Jet Chip Wasp” and “Rose Bowl Right Parade,” plus a never-told-before story about the latter that Frith is especially excited for people to hear about on “Time’s Yours.”
And of course, like any good piece of NFL Films content, there’s also no shortage of emotion.
“There’s some great moments in postgame with the players and their families that I think will tug at the heartstrings,” Weber said. “If you’re a fan of the Chiefs, or a fan of great teams finally achieving their goal, you’re going to like it.”
More from Yahoo Sports: