With the Super Bowl upon us, here are my top 10 football movies of all times. Give us your.
“I love Brian Piccolo, and I’d like all of you to love him. When you hit your knees to pray tonight, please ask God to love him, too.” Bears running back Gale Sayers uttered these famous words in May 1970, as he accepted the NFL’s Most Courageous Player award.
It is a timeless classic that has made more men cry than Old Yeller. Never have their been more scenes in a football movie where guys had to hide their heads and wipe the tears. The story of Brian and Gayle’s relationship on and off the football field as they learn Brian Piccolo gets cancer is one for the ages. Far and away, the best football movie ever.
2. Remember the Titans – The real life story of the trails and tribulations of integration in the early 1970s of T.C. Williams High School and its football team. Caucasian head coach, Bill Yost of the Titans is replaced by an African American coach, Hermann Boone. Football has always been a microcosm of life and in Remember the Titans it plays out in true to life form. The many issues of team, racism and change are taken on in an impressive way. Many can remember busing and school integration in the early 70’s and the narrow mindedness that went along with it. Remember the Titans is truly inspirational and a reminder to all that it is not about the color of one’s skin, but the content of their character.
The two best lines in the movie are when injuries white linebacker Gerry Bertier says the the nurse in the hospital regarding his friend, black linebacker Julius Campbell, “Alice, are you blind? Don’t you see the family resemblance? That’s my brother”.
And when Coach Boone says, “This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin’ with the blood of young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, men. I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family. You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were. I don’t care if you like each other of not, but you will respect each other. And maybe… I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.”
3. Rudy – The remarkable and true story of the undersized and under talented “Rudy” Ruettiger who played as a walk on that played for the University of Notre Dame in the 1970’s. This inspirational movie is for anyone who never gives up on their dreams.
Here is the actual video of the Rudy play in real life where he sacks the quarterback at the end of the game. Funny thing is, I remember seeing the actual game back in 1975 on Notre Dame Football highlights.
4. Friday Night Lights – The story based on the book by H.G. Bissinger of the 1988 Permian Panthers from Odessa, TX and what is Texas high school football. There is always something special to an underdog story where the hero’s come up short in the end. Life is never about a story book ending. The movie has many of those same qualities as Rocky I, where losing by inches tells a better story than winning. Friday Night Lights is a true story and one of the best football movies to come out in years.
5. The Longest Yard (1974) – The Green Machine, enough said. This fiction movie of guards vs. the cons is easily one of the most funny and telling football flicks ever. A classic.
7. We Are Marshall – The story of the rise from the ashes of the 1970 Marshall football team where 75 people died in a plane crash. The plane crash was the worst in American sports history. The struggle to honor the memories of the fallen students and continue a football program play center stage as those who were not of the ill-fated plane struggle with guilt as to why they were allowed to live while their friends and team mates died. We Are … Marshall.
8. The Replacements – Just a plain funny and hysterical movie with memories of the 1982 NFL football strike and the scab players that were brought in as replacements. Sometimes I think I actually miss just how comical strike football actually was. Best line of the movie, “Pain heals, Chicks dig scars… Glory lasts for ever.”
9. All The Right Moves – The story of small town western PA football where athletic scholarships are the only way to get out of the steel mill towns.
10. Paper Lion