“The Nigerian Nightmare” Christian Okoye’s Career Story Told on NFL Network’s ‘A Football Life’

‘Christian Okoye: A Football Life’ Premieres Friday, September 18 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network

“Hopefully not only myself but all my other peers and the guys behind us, the players who are still to come, will continue to follow the leadership of guys like Christian. Thank you Christian for trailblazing and leading the way.” – Israel Idonije

September 15, 2015: The fifth season of the Emmy-nominated series ‘A Football Life’ premieres Friday, September 18 at 9:00 PM ET on NFL Network with a look at former All-Pro running-back Christian Okoye – nicknamed “The Nigerian Nightmare” – a second-round pick out of Azusa Pacific University selected by the Kansas City Chiefs. The one-hour documentary, produced by NFL Films features interviews with Okoye, family members, teammates, coaches, opponents and others.

Following the premiere of Christian Okoye: A Football Life on NFL Network, the episode – along with the entire A Football Life series – will be available on NFL Now. For 2015, NFL Now showcases a new virtual “network” of digital programming that runs 24-7 (live and on-demand) while giving fans the choice to select a “channel” that delivers only content from their favorite NFL club. Offered free of charge, NFL Now is accessible on personal computers at nfl.com/now, through NFL Mobile from Verizon on smartphones and tablets, and in the NFL channel across select consoles and streaming devices, including Microsoft’s Xbox One and Apple TV.

Every episode of A Football Life – as well as all NFL Network programming – is streamed live on the NFL Mobile from Verizon app (NFL.com/mobile), the NFL app delivered on XBOX from Microsoft, and through Watch NFL Network (NFL.com/watch), with participating cable and satellite providers.

Born in Nigeria, Okoye left his home to attend university in the United States and train for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. A shot put, discus and hammer thrower by trade, Okoye turned his attention away from track after being omitted from the Nigerian national team for the games. He joined the Azusa Pacific football team as running back, and after playing for just three years he was drafted by the Chiefs in 1987. His sheer size combined with his unmatched speed enabled him to lead the NFL in rushing in 1989 and be inducted into the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame in 2000.

Among the topics discussed in Christian Okoye: A Football Life are:

  • His relationship with his father, family and community in Nigeria
  • Moving to the United States to pursue his passion for Track & Field
  • Not being selected to participate in the Olympics
  • Learning the game of football at Azusa Pacific University
  • His successful career with the Kansas City Chiefs
  • His community service, giving back to combat veterans and work with Impact A Hero
  • His inspirational story for countless other Nigerian-descent NFL players
  • His work with an organization he founded and runs daily, the California Sports Hall of Fame

Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles narrates.

Christian Okoye: A Football Life includes interviews with the following people and more:

Christian Okoye

Ben Okoye – Christian’s Father

Emmanuel Okoye – Christian’s Brother

Marty Schottenheimer – Former Chiefs head coach

Bill Cowher – Former Chiefs defensive coordinator

Hakeem ‘The Dream’ Olajuwon – Hall of Fame basketball player

Ron Jaworski – Former Chiefs quarterback

Innocent Egbunike – Nigerian sprinter

Dave Johnson – Teammate and Olympian

Irv Eatman – Former Chiefs tackle

Bill Kenney – Former Chiefs quarterback

Steve Atwater – Former Broncos defensive back

Provided below are some select quotes from Christian Okoye: A Football Life:

– “The greatest thing he did was before games he’d run around the entire field because he always wanted the opponent to know how big he was.”  – Bill Cowher

– “My hands, they don’t do a handshake real well because of the burns. So I always throw my hand out for a fist pound and he never gives me a fist pound. He gives me a big hug.” – Rick Yarish

– “I said, ‘Okoye, you’re every defensive backs worst nightmare.’ Irv Eatman, our starting left tackle jumped up and said ‘Yeah, the Nigerian Nightmare’ and that’s where it stuck.” – Bill Kenney

“For a lot of people, if they’re watching a sport and they don’t know anybody or if they don’t know much about the sport it’s hard for them to be attached to it. But with Christian Okoye, you saw somebody that you were familiar with so you could become a fan of that team or that sport.” – Johnson Bademosi

– “He is the only guy I can ever remember seeing players as they got ready to tackle him put their heads behind him so that they didn’t have to endure the blow that was forthcoming as he was making the finish to a run” Marty Schottenheimer

“You just look at the league today, at one point just on my team we had seven Nigerian guys. Hopefully not only myself but all my other peers and the guys behind us, the players who are still to come, will continue to follow the leadership of guys like Christian. Thank you Christian for trailblazing and leading the way.” – Israel Idonije

This season, A Football Life airs Friday at 9:00 PM ET. Below is the broadcast schedule for the September and October episodes:

  • September 25 – Dexter Manley
  • October 2 – Jerome Bettis
  • October 9 – Terrell Owens

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