One of the best known and most enthusiastically reviewed made for television films of the 1970's, this drama was based on the true story of football greats Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and Piccolo (James Caan) both joined the Chicago Bears the same year, and while it was obvious from the start Sayers had the talent and drive to be a great player, Piccolo seemed destined to be an also-ran on the team. However, Sayers and Piccolo struck up a friendship which brought out the best in both players, and coach George Halas (Jack Warden) chose them for a special assignment -- they became the first interracial roommates in the history of the NFL. When Sayers suffered a knee injury that threatened to end his career, Piccolo took it upon himself to help his friend through rehabilitation so he could rejoin the team. But when Piccolo began having heath problems, it was a problem too great for Sayers to handle -- his close friend had developed cancer. Adapted from Sayers' autobiography I Am Third, Brian's Song also features Chicago Bears legend Dick Butkus as himself.
by Mark Deming synopsis