With one of the more fun segments of the year, T.J. asked us during the live show last Sunday what our favorite football movies were. The quotes came flooding back into all our brains almost instantly. “Is football fun?! Nah, it isn’t fun anymore is it?” “I got the fries that’ll cross your eyes, and the shakes that’ll make you quake.” “AND HE CAN PASS!” I could literally go all day here, people. The point being, football movies are a genre in and of themselves and only the true football people have a real appreciation for themselves.
I decided we need an unofficial hierarchy, so I put together a list of my Top-10 football movies of all time. I’m sure this will spark absolutely zero debate, in fact I’ve never even heard of such a thing on the internet!
Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it, so let’s get to the rankings. First up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a few honorable mentions. These guys didn’t quite make my cut, but I’d be willing to bet you’d find them in someone else’s Top-10.
The Blindside, Radio, Brian’s Song, & Jerry Maguire
The Blindside is some of Sandy B’s finest work, and Tim McGraw is overrated in that movie if you ask me – but it’s still a phenomenal flick, very quotable, and you can watch it over and over again (See what I did there with the Tim McGraw/Nelly song). Honestly, I feel dirty not putting it in the Top-10 for the simple fact Coach O makes a cameo. Radio and Brian’s Song aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I won’t deny how good the story and message are. I still remember watching the O.G. Brian’s Song (not the 2001 version) in 7th grade Language Arts class. Lastly, the only thing you really need to say about Jerry Maguire is, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!”
10) We Are Marshall
We’ve done our due diligence saying nice things about the movies that didn’t make the cut. Play time is over. We Are Marshall tells the tragic true story about the Marshall football team and how they overcame such adversity in the face of utter disaster. McConaughey is, well, McConaughey, and the story is truly inspirational. Goes to show the life lessons that can be learned through the sport.
9) Any Given Sunday
Some will be angered this movie isn’t higher on the list, but they can’t all be number one. Maybe if I were a little older this movie would’ve resonated with me more. I kind of missed the pocket of this movie being popular, but it still rocks my socks off. The Al Pacino ‘Every Inch’ speech is legendary and if you didn’t create Willie Beamen to QB your dynasty in Madden well then, you’re just lying to yourself.
8) Varsity Blues
“This is the best football movie of all time! How could you have it at 8?! You just lost credibility!” Ok, boomer. Like Any Given Sunday, Varsity Blues released in 1999. Therefore, it was one of those films I had to actively go back and watch. Whenever you do that, it has to withstand the test of time, and I think it comes up shorter in that aspect when you compare it to other older sports movies like Bull Durham or Remember the Titans. It’s a good movie, don’t get me wrong. You can tell that the ‘Friday Night Lights’ show (very different from the FNL movie), was almost completely inspired by this film. It’s one of the most original archetypes in the book, but a classic nonetheless. Also RIP Paul Walker.
7) The Longest Yard (2005)
I love this movie. Sandler in his prime. I would’ve been 11 at the time this released so I actually didn’t even know it was a remake when I saw it the first time. I love the tone of the whole film. The jail birds learning to play football, and the supposed “good guys” being big fat jerks. Stone Cold Steve Austin runs people over in it, the jokes are absolutely hilarious even to this day, and Boomer calls the big game. I honestly don’t know what else you could ask for. A movie for football guys.
6) The Replacements
Two words; Shane Falco. Keanu Reaves slaps in this movie and has a little Tom Cruise Top Gun pretty boy thing going on. The premise is creative and original too, and like all good football movies, our protagonist is of course a giant underdog. Gene Hackman is classic as Coach McGinty too. It’s not my favorite football movie, but it’s definitely one if I ever see on TV, I’ll stop to watch at least a little.
5) The Waterboy
I didn’t think when I sat down to crank this out, I’d have Adam Sandler in here twice, but here we are (Paul Rudd meme - if ya know, ya know). TJ seemed like he wasn’t a very big Waterboy guy, which honestly blows my mind. It’s truly Sandler in his prime and all his usual cronies are good too. I love how he just absolutely knocks the piss out of people the whole movie, and twitter loves the memes and gifs that have come out of it. Another comedy, yes, but a great one.
Initially, I thought this movie would end up being higher for me, but I just couldn’t do it. Like the college football playoff, the top four are really hard to decide. Marky Mark is one of my favorite actors, and the true story behind Invincible is awesome. All of the characters are really well done too. Wahlberg of course crushes, Elizabeth Banks is smokin’ and NAILS being the annoying Giants fan, and even Greg Kinnear as Dick Vermeil trying to coach in America’s toughest city is great. The only reason this isn’t either #1 or #2 is because it just isn’t quite as classic as some others.
For a lot of people, Rudy is their favorite football movie of all time. Maybe it’s because I’m a Michigan guy and it’s about Notre Dame’s football team. Maybe it’s because Rudy went to Joliet Catholic and I didn’t appreciate the fact that JCA (who had Ty Isaac at the time) was in the same playoff bracket as my high school of 600. Whatever the case, I do still love the movie. Rudy embodies us Midwesterner’s to a T with his hard-working, underdog demeanor; Although I will say the steel mill feels a little more Pittsburgh than Illinois. Any true Illinoisan knows his dad would’ve worked at a 500-acre farm mowing down corn with the combine till the machine broke.
2) Friday Night Lights
If you would’ve asked me back when I was still playing, I probably would’ve said this is the best ever. It’s more modern, and nailed the attitude of high school football, at least where I played. Obviously, nobody was getting letters from USC, but how important it was to everyone is relatable. You lived and died every Friday night. There’s nothing like it. I’d say of all the football movies too, the badass factor in Friday Night Lights is at the top. I remember in college playing a road game and the school we were facing used the same song the movie uses when Dallas Carter and Permian come onto the field. You could say I was intimidated, but they ended up sucking and we killed them, so it was fine. In summation, Boobie Miles is one of the best football characters ever created.
1) Remember the Titans
I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this movie. Vintage Denzel. The story is so great, and it’s filled with good moments from start to finish. I mean so many good characters too. From Julian and Gary, to Sunshine and Rev. It’s so well-told and embodies the true heart of the sport. Like any good football movie, it illustrates the growth outside of the game you can make as a person. When I was in high school, Titans was ALWAYS on ABC Family, and I stopped what I was doing to watch the whole damn thing just about every time I saw it.