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That Sports Girl: The Top 5 Football Movies

Tony D'Amato: "Willy watch that spiral."
Willie Beamen: "Coach my spiral's tighter than a frog's asscheeks."
--Any Given Sunday

Jerry Maguire in: "Show me the money!"
--"Jerry Maguire"

Phillip Elliott: "Hell coach, I love needles."
--"North Dallas Forty"

I could fill this entire blog with great football movie quotes.  There are a ton and any compilation will leave off one of your favorites.  Kind of like a list of great football movies.

Years ago, the great Chris Arnold theorized that movie watching is a sport and I think he's spot on.  While it's hard to pick a clear cut "winner" when it comes to watching movies, you can debate the merits of one movie versus another or a character's greatness against another's lameness with as much passion as you can argue the merits of the BCS vs a college playoff system.

For an appearance on TXA21's The Fan, I had Chris come up with his list of top five football movies while I offered mine.  This generated a huge response: good, bad and ugly.

Chris' List:
"The Longest Yard" (Original starring Burt Reynolds) - A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.*

"The Longest Yard" (Remake staring Adam Sandler) - Prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.*

5. "Any Given Sunday " - A behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of modern day gladiators and those who lead them.

4. "Jerry Maguire" - When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.*

3. Remember the Titans - The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit. *

2. "Rudy"  - Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.*

1. North Dallas Forty - A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.*

Gina's List:
5.  "Rudy" - This movie makes me sports cry.

4.  "Jerry Maguire" - It's just a fun, uplifting movie that gave us some great mid-90's moments.

3.  "Any Given Sunday " - Although it had its fair share of bon mots and drama, I didn't necessarily think this was a stellar movie.  I picked this movie for its backstory.  A portion of it was shot in the DFW area and at Texas Stadium.  The room in which Miami Sharks head coach Tony D'Amato gave his famous halftime speech was a locker room at Texas Stadium. The film crew painted it the fictional Dallas Knights colors.  When Texas Stadium was still standing, the room was used for the visiting head coaches' postgame press conference.  The paint remained for a few years and surprised the heck out of visiting media whenever they covered a Cowboys game.  We constantly heard whispers of "This was where Al Pacino gave that speech!"  Yes, it was.

2.  Original "Longest Yard" - I prefer the grittiness of the 1970's original to the 2005 version.

1.  "Friday Night Lights: The Story of the 1988 Permian Panthers" -  NOT the movie, the documentary.  Nothing captures the drama, heartbreak and reality of high school football like this does.  The book was still better but this doc is excellent.


No doubt, there are some omissions.  I am disappointed I didn't think of "North Dallas Forty".  It was a great movie for its time.  We got a ton feedback but none more colorful than this emailer who wouldn't even send me her feedback but passed it along to my colleague, Babe Laufenberg:

Love your show and enjoy all the sports. Do me a favor, Gina Miller and Chris Arnold gave
their top 5 sports movies of all time tonight. What a joke! Anyone who doesn't list
"Brian's Song "  as the top football movie of all time has no clue about football movies. I
have seen every sports movie ever made and this is the number 1 sports movie ever!!! What
is up with that? They never even mentioned it!!!


What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  What did we forget?  What doesn't belong?   Let me know in the comments section.


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