ESPN uses 'deepfake' technology to bring Al Davis, Pete Rozelle back to life

Al Davis
Posted at 6:08 PM, Feb 04, 2021

When director Ken Rodgers decided to do a documentary looking back on the battles between late Raiders owner Al Davis and late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, he decided he wanted to tell the stories from their perspectives.

With both men having died years ago, Rodgers used deepfake technology to make modern science fiction versions of the two main characters and used them to narrate the documentary that is rich in historical footage of both Davis and Rozelle from their battles over the AFL-NFL merger and the Raiders move to Los Angeles.

"No rivalry, on or off the field, helped shape the modern NFL as much as the decades-long struggle between Al Davis and Pete Rozelle," Rodgers said in a press release. "With the 2020 Raiders and the NFL collaborating to fulfill Al’s dream of a state-of-the-art stadium for his team, now is the perfect time to look back on two men who differed on many issues, but shared a mutual love of the NFL.”

Rodgers will explore that relationship in ESPN'S 30 for 30 series, “Al Davis vs. The NFL,” which will air on Thursday night on ESPN.

According to the press release, Rozelle and Davis's stories are specific and real, and the dialogue is based on interviews conducted in the past.