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NFL Network to air ‘America’s Game and the Iran Hostage Crisis’ Tuesday

Alex Paen was a 26-year-old radio local reporter in Los Angeles, too young and ambitious to know any better, when in 1979-80 when he found himself covering the hostage crisis at the United States embassy in Tehran.

That included recording and then delivering an audio tape of Super Bowl XIV between the Rams and Steelers to the hostages through some of the students guarding those hostages — who also wanted to hear the game.

His story is told as part of “America’s Game and the Iran Hostage Crisis,” which the NFL Network will show at 8 p.m. Tuesday — the day before the 35th anniversary of the hostages’ release.

“I just can’t believe some of the things I did,” Paen said after a screening Friday at NFL headquarters in Manhattan. “I was young, not married at the time, and you do crazy things and think you’re invincible.”

At times the film stretches the link between football and the hostages a bit too thinly, and at times the propagandizing of the NFL is a tad much. But the film is rich with archival footage and worthwhile interviews and is a worthy look back, especially for football fans too young to remember it all.

Smokehouse Pictures, which was behind “Argo,” the Best Picture winner about the hostage crisis, produced the film. It was directed by actor Tate Donovan, one of the stars of “Argo.”

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