News  

 

The Greatest Football Movie Ever - Sweet 16

NFL.com Illustration

NFL.com is going to determine The Greatest Football Movie Ever over the next few weeks. Check out our bracket of the finest football flicks of all time, and check in every Friday to see who made it to the next round. On Friday, June 28, we'll reveal our Elite Eight list.

CLICK HERE for the full Sweet 16 bracket.


All right, you've probably had this question on your mind for a while. How did "The Blind Side" not make the field of 34, while something like "The Game Plan" did? It's a fair question.

I've taken great issue with "The Blind Side" for quite some time. I can suspend disbelief for many movies. I like "Flash Gordon" for (expletive) sake. But the Michael Oher presented in the movie isn't really like the Michael Oher in real life. He's explained it and has tried to move away from certain parts of the movie. That, to me, is a big turnoff and kind of kills my enjoyment of it.

I love Sandra Bullock. We were at one time neighbors in Sunset Beach, California. But "The Blind Side" has been ruined for me and I can't take it. It's out.

Let's go through the winners and losers who advanced. Are you ready?

You're right.

NORTH

I like the Rock as much as the next guy (well, I don't like him so much as a wrestler), but there was no way he was going to be able to take down "North Dallas Forty". The Rock even agreed last year.

"North Dallas Forty" will go up against "Lucas" which got by "Johnny Be Good". However, if you do one thing today, make sure you see the speech given by Paul Gleason in "Johnny Be Good". But be warned, the language is a little blue.

I know people like to talk about Al Pacino in "Any Given Sunday" but Gleason blows it all away here ). Still "Johnny Be Good" isn't a great movie, but the sheer will of Gleason makes me enjoy it. Just not enough to justify it moving into the second-round. Or is it third- because of the play-in games?

And now we have our first upset of the bracket, as "The Longest Yard" remake comes through! The remake has a lot of things going for it. As you know, I like wresting so having Stone Cold, Goldberg and a bunch of WWE guys in it doesn't hurt. William Fichtner might not ever be an A-lister, but he's been great in everything going back to his time on "As the World Turns". I covered the L.A. Avengers of the Arena League and Brian Mann was Sandler's stunt double in this film (and some others). Oh, and Michael Irvin is here, too. Here's what it came down for me, if both of "The Longest Yard" films are on TV at the same time, which one do you watch? I like older movies, but it's the remake for the win here.

Plus, Michael Irvin walks these halls, so I need to be good with him.

Another huge upset in this bracket as "Flash Gordon" knocked off "Necessary Roughness." I really like "Necessary Roughness." Part of this stems from the fact I had "Flash Gordon" way too low in the seedings. I now figure the influence of "Ted" has made me re-watch "Flash Gordon" a number of times. I will admit my biases right now. I once again was torn on these two movies, but if they were to compete for my attention, Flash would win.

Actually, if Flash Gordon had been a member of the Yankees, I would have rooted for Ming.

SOUTH

"Remember the Titans" is a strong contender to go all the way, so it's no surprise it rolled past "Leatherheads." I wondered if I had given "Leatherheads" enough credit because it had such a low seed, so I checked. And nope, it's about where it should be. Great concept, great cast but something is amiss.

Actually, we do and this is why we're doing this.

"School Ties" ends up with a huge win over "Best of Times." If you ask me, this matchup had two of the best movie quarterbacks of all time. Reno Hightower was a beast who could have been awesome. I think we all know that athlete in high school you just knew was going to make it, but circumstances got in the way. And David Greene. I've always wondered if Greene ever went on to play football at Harvard. I'm not so sure. It seems like he only used football as a way to improve his academic standing, and not the other way around.

"The Waterboy" is often too derided for being a bad movie, but think of all of the great things we quote about it. It might be the most quotable movie on this entire list. But it's not going to beat out the critically acclaimed "Heaven Can Wait", the classic from the 1970s. "Heaven" eerily predicted the Los Angeles Rams' run to the Super Bowl the year after the movie came out. Sadly, the movie version of the Los Angeles Rams did a little better.

Plus, for pop culture sake, "Heaven Can Wait" was spoofed in an episode of "Archer" this season. And the Iron Maiden song of the same name is said to have been inspired by the movie. Cool, right?

One of the darkhorse contenders for best ever is "The Replacements." I tend to watch it every time it's on TBS. Well, not every time because the movie is on just about every week. Coach McGinty is one of the strongest movie coaches around. Another football coach who is better than Pacino in these football movies. I understand the players' strike of 1987 isn't the most pleasant memory in NFL history, but we couldn't sign off on them using the marks for the movie? That's too bad.

EAST

"Rudy" wins in another cutesy-pairing of Notre Dame movies. Now, you might ask yourself, if I'm so upset about how "The Blind Side" can have many blatant inaccuracies, why don't you have a problem with "Rudy," and that's a great point? Uh, I'm human? But maybe it's this. I maintain it is Vince Vaughn's best work, ever. And sadly, O'Hara never really existed. Trust me, I checked.

Powerful words to ponder.

People don't really care for "Wildcats" as much as I thought. Even with Nipsey Russell, D-Day from "Animal House" and the start of the Wesley Snipes/Woody Harelson connection. That said, it's not better than "Friday Night Lights." Even the introduction of Jennifer Lopez in "Money Train" can't help make "Wildcats" a winner. (And yes, this kind of stuff goes into the consideration when considering the movie. If we don't have "Wildcats" we might not ever get "Money Train" ... but wait, was that supposed to be a good thing?)

I've read two football books that have been made into a movie. "Friday Night Lights" did a great job. But "Any Given Sunday" did not.

The biggest beef I have with "Any Given Sunday" is the league operates in the NFL universe. Many times, movies like "The Replacements" and "North Dallas Forty" can't use NFL marks, but we understand who they represent. It's a little game we have to play. The "Any Given Sunday" universe wants us to believe this is a rival NFL league. Sorry, I can't do it. From Cameron Diaz to Willie Beamon eating on the sidelines (though Mark Sanchez did this) to Beamon and D'Amato having dinner together ... I just can't do it. Like if "2 Days in the Valley" was a football movie, "Any Given Sunday" would be it.

But don't believe "All the Right" moves wins by default. This is a great film. Craig T. Nelson is awesome in this. Solid all-around film. An underrated beauty.

"Invincible" was considered ripped off in the seeding. But should you not take pride in the success of "Flash Gordon" when you consider that another Mark Wahlberg movie indirectly made it on the list? And Greg Kinnear is awesome as Dick Vermeil. There was no way, however, it could take down the mighty "Varsity Blues" in the first round. In fact, "Varsity Blues" has a pretty big follower in Jeff Darlington, who stumped for the movie. What's interesting is "Varsity" going up against "Moves" is going to make a pretty interesting battle of high school movies.

WEST

Make no mistake, we were talking about the original "Brian's Song" and not the remake. In fact, the people who made the remake should be ashamed of themselves because you can't match the on-screen chemistry of Jimmy Caan and Billy Dee Williams. You just can't. Well, except Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson. (Kidding)

Best football movie ever nominees
Adam Rank selects his nominees for Best Football Movie Ever. Did "Any Given Sunday" make the cut? "Varsity Blues"? "The Waterboy"? Check out the list. More ...

The next bracket might be the most hotly contested. "Jerry Maguire" went up against "The Last Boy Scout" in what some perceived as a runaway. In fact, our own Gregg Rosenthal is a huge fan of "Maguire" and called it one of the best football movies. And it's good. Kelly Preston is awesome in it. Jay Mohr is in it. But I tell you, I always get pulled into "The Last Boy Scout." Early Halle Berry is the ultimate trump card. And yes, that is Kim Coates from "Sons of Anarchy" who gets killed with a punch to the nose. Seriously, he should have just lit his cigarette. Oops, spoiler.

Tons of people thought Matthew McConaughey was a strange choice to play Jack Lengyel in "We Are Marshall." But it was an inspired choice. He was really good in it. However, I can't decide if I want "Marshall" to advance because it's a really good movie, or because I feel like I should advance the movie. That's tough for me. And then I popped "Against All Odds" into the DVR again and loved it. Yes, I might be playing fast and loose that "Against All Odds" should be considered a movie, but it says it right there in the IMDB description.

Don't blame me for that.

"The Express" is another one of those movies I should like, but doesn't quite do it for me. It's good, but not something I would go out of my way to watch again. But "The Program" continues to be a great football movie. With, of course, more appearances from Jimmy Caan and Halle Berry. One of the most telling scenes for me is when Alvin Mack is sitting with his tutor completely uninterested in his studies, but is shown to be quite the student when it comes to game-film. Of course, this not-so-subtle foreshadowing has a predictable end, but still very important. Overall, it's a pretty enjoyable film. Some stuff can be over-the-top, maybe even cheesy. It still works. And it moves on.

Are you ready for the Sweet 16?

Here is the updated bracket complete with the Sweet 16 matchups.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15