Top Football Films to Help You Get Your Fix Until Training Camp [VIDEOS, LIST]
The New York Football Giants open the 2012 season Sept 5th at MetLife Stadium hosting the Dallas Cowboys. That’s over 90 days away! If you can’t wait another 3 months for football, The NFL has released “New York Giants Road to XLVI” on DVD and Blu-Ray, today.
As great as that is for Giants fans, it may not be enough for those who are tired of watching the game replays on the NFL network and checking the headlines for something to happen in this boring time of the football calendar. So to help give you your fix, I’ve put together a list of my favorite football movies in no particular order. Feel free to add or subtract as you see fit by commenting at the bottom of this post.
Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale. Papale was an Eagles fan who walks out of a bar, onto the field and makes the team. What’s amazing about this true story is that the Eagles fan actually walked out of a bar!
Incredible performances by James Caan as Brian Piccolo, Chicago Bears running back who died of cancer in 1970, and Billy Dee Williams as Piccolo’s fellow running back and best friend Gale Sayers. You cannot help but shed a tear when Williams utters the famous speech that Sayers made as he accepted the NFL’s most courageous Player Award.’ 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.”
Another James Caan movie. The story of a fictitious college football team and their quest to make a bowl game. Not your typical rah rah football movie. The scenes that stick out for me are the players lying on the white line on the road on a busy street and the player putting someone else urine into his bladder so that he can pass a drug test.
The Longest Yard
The original is still the best! Burt Reynolds as Paul “Wrecking” Crew. An incarcerated quarterback that powers the “Mean Machine” to victory over the guards. My two favorite scenes are when Reynolds hits a pass rushing Ray Nitschke in the crotch with the football, then comes back to the huddle and says “worked once, it’ll work again” then repeats. Who can forget course Richard Kiel as Samson after he clotheslines the guard “I think I broke his !@#$ neck” which resonates through the prison.
This film is the gold standard for inspirational football movies. When you have football and Notre Dame in the same movie, how can you go wrong? Add to the fact that Rudy is an underdog, Hollywood loves the underdog. There is not a dry eye in the house when he finally gets to play in the game.
Every fan’s dream is to be able to play pro football if only for a minute and this movie creates a situation that makes it possible when the athletes go on strike and the team needs players. Gene Hackman is terrific as coach Jimmy McGinty and Keanu Reeves as the washed up quarterback Shane Falco, getting one more chance at glory. I liked the camaraderie as these strangers came together, culminating with the line before the last play when Falco says in the huddle “Gentlemen, it was a pleasure to serve on the field of battle with you”
Any Given Sunday
This Oliver Stone film depicts a fictitious professional football team. The NFL refused to let Oliver Stone use any team logos or stadiums. Along with the all-star cast that features Al Pacino as a head coach, (his speech alone is worth the price of admission,) and Jamie Foxx as the quarterback. The movie also includes several NFL greats Johnny Unitas, Dick Butkus. Warren Moon, Emmit Smith and Y.A Tittle as well. A must see if you’ve got a lot of time on a Sunday afternoon when there is no real game on.
Legend in Granite
Ernest Borgnine gives an incredible performance as legendary Vince Lombardi in the 1973 classic which follows Vince Lombardi's football career from one of Fordham University's legendary “Seven Blocks of Granite” to one of American football's greatest professional coaches. Watching Borgnine playing Lombardi is like watching the coach himself.
Gooding's performance will steal your heart. Radio’s nickname, was given to him by townspeople because of the radio he carried everywhere he went. He still attends T. L. Hanna High School and helps coach the football team and the basketball team. He is known to ask students before football games, “We gonna get that quarterback?”, and as well as saying “We gonna win tonight!”
MASH – The Football Game
This is more of a scene than the entire movie but gets an honorable mention because it is an absolute classic. If you have yet to watch the clip, do so, you will not stop laughing.