As per request from a buddy of mine, I have decided to talk about some of the best football movies of all time. Just recently, there was a photo going around asking people to comment the best. Since we are now knee deep in football season, why not talk about my favorite big screen football movies?
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Greg Kinnear, Michael Hayes, Elizabeth Banks
Favorite Character: Vince Papale
Favorite Quote: “I know. That touchdown got me through 30 years at that factory. Got me through all those times your mother being sick. When I told you not to get your hopes up — didn’t mean that I wasn’t.”
The story about Vince Papale is one for the ages. When Dick Vermeil took the coaching job for the Philadelphia Eagles, he held an open tryout thus found Papale. A local’s dream playing for his favorite franchise came true. It is a solid movie with a great story. It also contains the best football scene ever where Papale goes back to playing pick up football buddies in the rain and mud.
9. The Longest Yard (2005)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, James Cromwell, Nelly, William Fichtner, David Patrick Kelly, Burt Reynolds, Tracy Morgan, Cloris Leachman, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, Steve Austin, The Great Khali
Favorite Character: Caretaker
Favorite Quote: “I know how you white boys deal with that depression. I don’t understand what all you white boys are all depressed about. Hey, you’re white! Smile!”
Although I like both, I definitely enjoy the remake more than the original. Adam Sandler was a great fit for Paul Crewe. The supporting cast was nothing short of legendary. As a wrestling fan, it was a treat to see some of those guys. Kevin Nash was hilarious as Sgt. Englehart from his roid rage to his emotional break downs thanks to his steroids being switched out for estrogen. The game was one of the best finales to end a football movie.
8. Little Giants
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ed O’Neil
Favorite Character: Spike
Favorite Quote: “You beat Kevin down Cherry Hill?”
One of the many gems as a 90s kid. Little Giants is a good, clean, family fun movie. It also withstood the test of time. It is still just as hilarious as an adult. My buddies and I were talking about it before our basketball game the other day during warm ups. Shout out to Casey for reminding us of the classic “You beat Kevin down Cherry Hill?”
Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr, Ed Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson, Brent Sexton, Riley Smith, Debra Winger, Alfre Woodard
Favorite Character: Radio
Favorite Quote: “But the truth is, we’re not the one been teachin’ Radio, Radio’s the one been teachin’ us – cause the way he treats us all the time is the way we wish we treated each other even part of the time.”
Treating people as less than because of conditions they can’t control is a concept I just can’t wrap my head around. This movie really tugs at my emotions from the death of Radio’s mom to Coach Jones and Radio’s relationship. He was always there for his lifelong friend when most people in the town were terrified of him.
6. Any Given Sunday
Starring: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Matthew Modine, Charlton Heston, Ann-Margret, Aaron Eckhart, John C. McGinley
Favorite Character: Willie Beamen
Favorite Quote:“I don’t know what to say, really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives. All comes down to today, and either, we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play by play. Until we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And, we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell… one inch at a time. Now I can’t do it for ya, I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I, uh, I’ve pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life. But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we needare everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch. And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face. Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys, that’s all it is. Now, what are you gonna do?”
That quote alone should get Any Given Sunday on a top 10 list. Al Pacino delivered one of the best (if not, the best) locker room speech in movie history. Much like The Longest Yard, the star power in this movie makes it worth watching.
5. The Waterboy
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Jerry Reed, Henry Winkler
Favorite Character: Farmer Fran
Favorite Quote: “Mama said alligators are ornery cuz dey got all dem teeth but no toothbrush.”
Classic Adam Sandler comedy here. I remember the first time watching this movie as a kid and could not stop laughing. Much of the same happens watching now. Much like the juvenile comedies of old Adam Sandler, the movie is filled with plenty of great one liners. Plus, remember that time Bobby Boucher showed up at halftime and the Mud Dogs won the Bourbon Bowl?
4. The Replacements
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau, Brook Langton, Rhys Ifans
Favorite Character: Nigel “The Leg” Gruff
Favorite Quote: “Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line.”
One of the most iconic characters in sports movie history, Shane Falco is a guy you have to cheer for. As the NFL strike thickens, the Washington Sentinels call in for replacement players. Of course, no one expects them to win. Somehow, they notch a couple of wins advancing the Sentinels to the postseason. It was the ultimate redemption story for Shane Falco.
3. Draft Day
Starring: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sam Elliot, Ellen Burstyn, Chadwick Boseman
Favorite Character: Sonny Weaver
Favorite Quote: “Vontae Mack No Matter What.” or “I want my picks back and I want David goddamn Putney just because I feel like it.”
I am such a draft nerd. NFL Draft is one of my favorite weekends in sports. One of the things I would love to be able to do is sit in an actual war room. Although, I have no idea what it is like. I do like to think this movie did a pretty damn good job of it. Kevin Costner once again struck gold. Always remember, Vontae Mack No Matter What.
Starring: Sean Astin, Ned Beatty, Charles S. Dutton, Lili Taylor, Robert Prosky
Favorite Character: Fortune
Favorite Quote: “You’re 5 foot nothin’, 100 and nothin’, and you have barely a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in there with the best college football players in the land for 2 years. And you’re gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this life, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody but yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back.”
Rudy was probably my favorite as a kid. I watched it on repeat. This is the sole reason I grew up being a fan of Notre Dame. It is always easy to root for an underdog and someone who will stop at nothing to accomplish their dreams. Watch this movie and not cry multiple times. I dare you.
1. Remember the Titans
Starring: Denzel Washington, Bill Patton, Donald Faison, Nicole Ari Parker
Favorite Character: Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass
Favorite Quote: “You’re a Hall of Famer in my book.”
I am not sure any sports movie can ever top this one for me. I loved it as a child, but I love it even more now. I can’t stand the idea that people blatantly hate others because of the color of their skin. Racism sucks, but the Titans sure as hell don’t. There are just so many iconic moments throughout this movie of hate being erased from the lives of those who are part of the TC Williams football team. You can’t help but smile when Gary and Julius finally embrace each other on the football field thus forming one of the best bromances in sports movies. Of course in the end, it was Julius holding the hand of the late Gerry Bertere’s mother. Then you had Coach Yoast throw away the Hall of Fame for the sake of his head coach. The exchange between them after winning the state championship always makes me bawl. When Yoast says Boone was the right man for the job and Boone responds, “you’re a Hall of Famer in my book” and then hold their hands up in victory and unity. Fucking glorious. Of course you have guys like Rev, Sunshine, Blue and Louie who never cared about the skin color of teammates. LEAVE NO DOUBT!