Phil Tuckett is a filmmaker and former professional football player.
Tuckett was born in 1946 in Eugene, Oregon. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he had a successful high school athletic career. Olympus High School honored him with the Sanky Dixon Outstanding Athlete Award for football and basketball. He played football for Dixie College and earned first team all-ICAC honors both years and was an Honorable Mention All-American running back in 1966. He then played football at Weber State College and was named NCAA Academic All-American. He then began his professional football playing career with the San Diego Chargers.
Football wasn’t his only passion, though. With the bachelor’s degree he earned in English, he started writing and published his first article, “How I Won My Lightning Bolts,” in Sport Magazine, which was admired by Ed Sabol, President of NFL Films.
Sabol offered Tuckett a filmmaking opportunity with the pioneering NFL Films, saying, “You’re the first football player I ever met that could write.” At first Tuckett was reluctant but recalled that Sabol said, “You're wasting your time playing football. You should come with me. … I'll teach you a profession right from the ground up. … I'll teach you a profession that you'll make good money, you'll support your family, you'll have fun, and you'll do it the rest of your life.”
The Chargers cut Tuckett in 1969—probably at the request of Sabol—but Tuckett found an “endlessly challenging” career in filmmaking. As a cinematographer, he captured some of the most memorable events in NFL and Super Bowl history.
He served as vice president of special projects and has won 29 Sports Emmy awards, an Emmy award for best documentary on television, and a Billboard Music Award. During his time at NFL Films, he also convinced the company to start a special projects division, which made videos for musicians. Tuckett worked with Metallica, Pearl Jam, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Cyndi Lauper, Good Charlotte, B.B. King and George Harrison. He even went on the road with Journey for a documentary at the height of the band's popularity. He created national commercial spots for Sprint and Reebok and documentary films for the TNT and History Channel networks.
In 2008, Tuckett received a call from then-president of Dixie State College, Lee Caldwell, who offered him a position creating a film department at the school, which he did, setting it up like a working production company. Tuckett and his wife, Judy, decided they were ready to return to the place where they first met. He built the film department on the philosophy of "learning by doing," setting the department up like a working production company. He was a professor of film at now Dixie State University, head of the digital film program and DSU Films, the professional production arm of the film department until his retirement in 2019. Tuckett and his wife, Judy, have their own production company, Bristlecone Films.
He was inducted into the Olympus High School Hall of Fame in 2019.