In 1976, the top three college football players in the nation were Ricky Bell, Tony Dorsett and a tall, handsome, golden-haired quarterback from California named Joe Roth. During the National Football League’s 1977 draft, Bell and Dorsett ended up being the first two overall picks. Roth, however, went undrafted. But he didn’t have a poor Wonderlic score. He didn’t have any major physical injuries, nor was he wrapped-up in any controversial scandal. Roth wasn’t drafted for the NFL because he died thirty-four days after he threw his last pass in a college game, at the hand’s of skin cancer’s deadliest form — melanoma.
Don’t Quit: the Joe Roth Story is the newly released documentary from filmmakers Bob Rider and Phil Schaaf, chronicling the life and legacy of All-American University of California quarterback whose life was tragically cut short by a disease that still plagues far too many people.
The 85-minute documentary blends vintage film footage and archival photography with contemporary interviews from college football’s biggest names from the 1970’s (including Steve Bartkowski, Tony Dungy, Rob Lytle, Chuck Muncie, Barry Switzer and Dick Vermeil) to bring to life the courageous and humble life of one of the best quarterbacks of his, and any other, era. Most importantly, the film captures the inspirational message of Roth’s example, reminding viewers why it’s okay for kids to put posters of athletes on their walls.
“I had the pleasure of going to UC Berkeley when Joe Roth, Bartkowski and Muncie were playing, and the 2 or 3 times I spoke with Joe it was obvious he was a special man,” said Dulude Foundation Board Member Jim Long. “When I saw this movie, I was impressed by how it captured Joe’s specialness. It is a great sports story and an effective message about the dangers of melanoma. It is an enjoyable, must-see film.”
The winner of multiple awards on the film festival circuit, Don’t Quit: The Joe Roth Story has already been broadcast by the Pac-12 Network and reviewed by numerous news organizations, including Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, Forbes, San Jose Mercury News, and the San Francisco Chronicle amongst others. Narrated by broadcasting legend Keith Jackson, the film is now available to own on DVD and to stream on iTunes.