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Published: June 1, 2012 at 01:41 p.m.
Updated: June 3, 2012 at 08:38 p.m.

Best Movie QBs Ever

Who was better, Shane Falco or Johnny Utah? (We answered that question in the Gridiron Breakdown). And is one of them the best fictional quarterback of all-time? Here’s a list of the 23 best fictional movie quarterbacks. And note the word “fictional;” real-life guys, like Mike Winchell and Sunshine Bass, will not be here.

Nor will TV quarterbacks, like A.C. Slater. But don’t let that stop you from flaming away at me on Twitter

25 Photos Total

  • 24. Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) Napoleon Dynamite 25

    Fox Searchlight

    24. Uncle Rico (Jon Gries) Napoleon Dynamite

    Uncle Rico believes he has an arm strong enough to throw it over that mountain over there, but his throwing motion says otherwise.

    What happened after the camera stopped rolling: Uncle Rico organizes a flag-football team, but the players revolt, ending his career.

  • 23. Gee Grenouille (Peter Dante), The Waterboy 24

    Touchstone Pictures

    23. Gee Grenouille (Peter Dante), The Waterboy

    Grenouille was the quarterback of lowly SCLSU. His fortunes turned around thanks in no small part to Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler).

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Spurred by an appearance in the Bourbon Bowl, Grenouille joined the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent and spent a year on the practice squad. Grenouille was released the following year but did eventually land with the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League.

  • 22. Rick Sandford (James Van Der Beek), Angus 23

    22. Rick Sandford (James Van Der Beek), Angus

    A decent high-school quarterback, Sandford didn't have the frame to play Division I college football.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Sandford attended the local state college, rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon and became the quarterback of the fraternity's intramural team. But poor decision-making led to a demoralizing six-year losing streak to the rival fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha.

  • 21. Cappie (Charlie Sheen), Lucas 22

    Twentieth Century Fox

    21. Cappie (Charlie Sheen), Lucas

    Cappie was the quarterback of his high school football team, but the leadership he showed in protecting Lucas impressed scouts the most.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Recruiters were initially scared off by his medical history, and he didn't land any big-time offers, but he was able to put together a solid career at Division III Illinois Wesleyan.

  • 20. Levander 21

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    20. Levander "Bird" Williams (Mykelti Williamson), Wildcats

    Williams was somewhat of an underachiever, but finally took Coach McGrath's teachings to heart and led his team to a city title over Prescott High School.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Recruiters were slow to recognize Williams. He never got many big-time offers, but he eventually did land a scholarship to UNLV, where he went on to be an All Big-West honorable mention.

  • 19. Johnny Walker (Michael Anthony Hall), Johnny Be Good 20

    Orion Pictures Corportation

    19. Johnny Walker (Michael Anthony Hall), Johnny Be Good

    Walker was one of the most heavily recruited quarterbacks in Texas. The biggest knock on him was his commitment to football, thanks in part to his high-school girlfriend, Georgia.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Walker ended things with Georgia and accepted a scholarship to play at Arkansas. But his size proved to be a liability that kept him from winning the starting job. He eventually transferred to UCLA but soon quit football after getting his new girlfriend pregnant. He moved his family to Texas, where he landed a job in outside sales for an up-and-coming tech company.

  • 18. David Greene (Brendan Fraser), School Ties 19

    Paramount Pictures

    18. David Greene (Brendan Fraser), School Ties

    Greene was a highly sought-after prep star, to the point that a private school in New England ignored his religious affiliation to bring him in from Pennsylvania. Greene showed great leadership and an uncanny ability to make unusual plays (like throwing his blockers in front of himself).

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Greene went on to Harvard, and though past experiences made him reluctant to play football again, he became the team's starting quarterback during his sophomore season. He did not go on to play in the NFL.

  • 17. Johnny Moxon (James Van Der Beek), Varsity Blues 18

    MTV Films

    17. Johnny Moxon (James Van Der Beek), Varsity Blues

    Moxon had considerable strong arm strength, but lacked the commitment to be a highly sought-after football recruit.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: After escaping his father's shadow, Moxon realized he does love football and became a four-year starter at Brown. Moxon scored a 50 on the Wonderlic test and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played six seasons in the league.

  • 16. Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), Varsity Blues 17

    MTV Films

    16. Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), Varsity Blues

    Prior to his devastating knee injury, Harbor was the starting quarterback for West Canaan High School. He received offers from big-time schools and was at least a four- (and probably a five-) star recruit.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Harbor eventually recovered from knee surgery and went on to have a productive college career at Texas Tech after two years in junior college. After a brief stint in the NFL, he went back to West Canaan to coach football.

  • 15. Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell), The Best of Times 16

    Cinema Group Ventures

    15. Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell), The Best of Times

    Hightower, who said he was pretty good for "around here," was a talented high school quarterback who lacked the size and arm strength for big-time college football. Hightower likely put up some impressive stats, thanks to his guile, but overall, he was overwhelmed by big-time opponents. Still, he might have gotten a look, if Taft had beaten Bakersfield.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Hightower's rekindled love affair with football led him to become a volunteer assistant at his old high school.

  • 14. Joe Kingman (The Rock) The Game Plan 15

    14. Joe Kingman (The Rock) The Game Plan

    Kingman led the Boston Rebels over the New York Dukes, giving New Englanders at least one recent win over a New York team in football. In the movie, Kingman shows he is a multi-threat quarterback, and he doesn't move to poorly on the dance floor, either.

    When the cameras stopped rolling: Kingman continues to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he retires after Boston's second championship the following season to open a ballet studio and appear on "Dancing with the Stars."

  • 13. Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), Heaven Can Wait 14

    Paramount Pictures

    13. Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), Heaven Can Wait

    Pendleton was an unassuming backup quarterback with the Los Angeles Rams, a diligent worker who often stayed up late studying film. Though undersized, he used his smarts to win games.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Pendleton was benched in favor of Pat Haden after leading the Rams to the Super Bowl and ended up in the Canadian Football League.

  • 12b. Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), The Longest Yard (2005) 13

    Paramount Pictures

    12b. Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), The Longest Yard (2005)

    Crewe was forced to leave the NFL in disgrace, banned for taking part in a point-shaving scandal in a big game, but he wasn't a has-been or castoff. He must have been a pretty decent NFL quarterback, maybe even a Pro Bowl player, given the inmates' initial disdain for him. In addition to throwing the football, Crewe is a pretty good runner, too, as evidenced in the film.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Crewe eventually landed a role hosting a sports talk show on Spike TV after being released from prison.

  • 12a. Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds), The Longest Yard (1974) 12

    Paramount Pictures

    12a. Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds), The Longest Yard (1974)

    Same credentials as the version of the character that Adam Sandler played in the remake, but Reynolds actually played college football for Florida State in real life.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Crewe became a janitor at a local high school and coached youth basketball in Decatur, Ga.

  • 11. Willie Beamen (Jaime Foxx), Any Given Sunday 11

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    11. Willie Beamen (Jaime Foxx), Any Given Sunday

    Before you get all "Internetty" on me, let me explain this. The Miami Sharks existed alongside the Miami Dolphins in the "Any Given Sunday" universe, meaning Beamen was playing in a UFL-type league going head-to-head with the NFL. Because he was not in the NFL, he can't be rated among the best. And let's be honest, he's not a great teammate.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Beamen eventually reached the NFL and had a productive career as a backup for the Eagles.

  • 10. Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid), Any Given Sunday 10

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    10. Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid), Any Given Sunday

    To become a respected veteran quarterback, Rooney must have had a solid career before the timeline of this movie picks up. He was likely an NFL castoff, too, so he likely had a pretty decent playing record.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Rooney's experience with Willie Beamen helped him relate to the next generation of pro football players, and he became one of the game's most successful offensive coordinators.

  • 9.  Frank Cushman (Jerry O'Connell), Jerry Maguire 9

    TriStar Pictures

    9. Frank Cushman (Jerry O'Connell), Jerry Maguire

    Cushman was the best college football player during his senior year at SMU, and he attracted interest from both Denver and San Diego prior to the NFL draft.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Cushman was picked first overall by Denver, but he never quite jelled with coach Mike Shanahan and never lived up to his potential. For the rest of his career, Cushman bounced around the league as a backup quarterback.

  • 8.  Jimmie Dix (Damon Wayans), The Last Boy Scout 8

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    8. Jimmie Dix (Damon Wayans), The Last Boy Scout

    Dix was an excellent football player before gambling earned him a life suspension. He even drew the admiration of all types of people, even Secret Service agents, like Joe Hallenbeck.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Dix became a successful detective, and a Pop Warner coach with Joe Hallenbeck.

  • 7. Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), Necessary Roughness 7

    Paramount Pictures

    7. Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), Necessary Roughness

    The 30-something quarterback restored some pride to the Texas State program after a stunning victory over the University of Texas.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: The lack of scholarships meant a lack of talent at Texas State, and Blake battled injuries for the rest of his college career. He performed well at the NFL Scouting Combine, but teams were turned off because of his age. Blake now calls Texas State football games on the radio and writes a weekly sports column for the local paper.

  • 6.  Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), Revenge of the Nerds 6

    Interscope Communications

    6. Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), Revenge of the Nerds

    Adams College was pretty good (the team was in the mix for a bowl game, back when getting to bowl games was actually prestigious), so Gable must have been a highly regarded quarterback with a bright NFL future.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: The Los Angeles Rams selected Gable in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft. The rookie replaced Dieter Brock midway through the year and led the Rams to an upset of the Chicago Bears in the championship game, ultimately winning Super Bowl XX. The Rams became the NFC dynasty of the 1980s, and the club never moved.

  • 5.  Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer), The Program 5

    The Samuel Goldwyn Company

    5. Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer), The Program

    Kane's Heisman campaign during his junior season floundered as the quarterback battled alcoholism, but he returned in time to lead ESU to a bowl game.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Kane won the Heisman Trophy the following year, and was the first overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1995 NFL Draft, which led to a productive career.

  • 4. Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), The Replacements 4

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    4. Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), The Replacements

    Falco was a promising prospect who never recovered after getting roughed up in the Sugar Bowl. Having earned the derisive nickname "Footsteps" Falco, he managed to overcome his fear in the pocket as a replacement player for the Washington Redskins, er, Sentinels.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Falco faced some hardships when the strike ended, but the Sentinels players rallied around him because they hated Eddie Martel. Falco had a nice pro career, but retired early because of injury concerns -- and to work in his girlfriend's bar.

  • 3.  Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis), North Dallas Forty 3

    Paramount Pictures

    3. Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis), North Dallas Forty

    Maxwell was a free-spirit, well respected by his teammates and as tough as they come, obviously based on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith. But we'll still throw him in as a fictional QB. In the movie's critical game, Maxwell is on the verge of rallying the Bulls against Chicago (that's right), but a fumbled snap cost North Dallas the game.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Maxwell retired early and enjoyed a successful career as a broadcaster.

  • 2.  Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), Point Break 2

    Largo Entertainment

    2. Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves), Point Break

    The second Ohio State quarterback played by Reeves was his best. Why better than "The Replacements" hero Shane Falco? Simple: Utah was injured in the Rose Bowl during his senior year. That indicates his Ohio State team won the Big Ten. Falco, on the other hand, played in the Sugar Bowl, meaning Ohio State did not win the Big Ten.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Utah opened a surf shop in Seal Beach, Calif. after quitting the FBI.

  • 1.  Flash Gordon (Sam Jones), Flash Gordon 1

    Starling Films

    1. Flash Gordon (Sam Jones), Flash Gordon

    Gordon was a popular New York Jets quarterback before saving Earth, even managing to land on the cover of "People" magazine. We can't be sure about his passing skills (we'll just assume they were impressive), but his display on the planet Mongo showed he was pretty adept at running out of the pocket.

    What happened after the cameras stopped rolling: Gordon returned to Earth to play quarterback for the Jets for a few more years, but it was hard to get excited about football after saving the Earth and everything, so he retired early. The itch to play again compelled him to sign with the Vikings in 1989, and he retired -- again -- after a great season. The following year, teammates boarded a private plan to ask Gordon to return to the Vikings for one more year. But it didn't work out as well in 1990, so Gordon finally retired for good.

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