We could only begin here. This is the Alpha and Omega of YouTube highlight reels: The Sam McGuffie Mixtape. From the solid-color title cards with Arial text, to the soundtrack (sadly copyright-disabled), the production values are quintessential YouTube Highlight Reel. The producer’s very judicious touch with slow-mo and replay indisputably elevate the piece. That kind of artistic restraint remains lost on the majority of today’s would-be auteurs.
The nature of the talent on display is perfect, too: an electrifying skill position player who looks like a man amongst boys (even if he’s the smallest guy on the field). It’s nonstop action from beginning to end, and every single “highlight” is worthy of the word. It’s impossible to watch this clip and not be convinced that Sam McGuffie is a talent comparable to Barry Sanders, except even better.
There’s been an internet generation between the time of this film’s production and today, yet most YouTube Highlight Reels fall far short of the McGuffie Mixtape’s start-to-finish electricity. It is ahead of its time and classic, all at once—the Jimi Hendrix of YouTube Highlight Reels. Over three million views to date, endlessly imitated but never duplicated, it is this medium’s once-in-a-lifetime marriage of artist, medium, and muse.