Football Fun

Well, the Bears (expectedly) dominated the Rams today and so it put me in a good mood about football. So much so that I watched the second double-header game on FOX and I wasn’t even drunk. As it turns out, that was a pretty good game between the two top teams (Giants and Cardinals).

As luck would have it, I was lucky to see that following the second game one of the best football movies was starting on one of the many HBO channels: The Replacements.

Why is this one of the best football movies? To be sure, almost every football movie (be it slapstick or otherwise) is pretty awesome. What I find special about The Replacements is that it is funny, with a little romance, and incorporates real people like John Madden.

Madden has so many great quotes that you can imagine him saying during a real broadcast (and no, I’m not referring to any turducken).

The fat Japanese player(ex-sumo) ends up catching a tipped pass and runs it down the field for a TD. Madden quote: “I love it when the fat guy scores. Because then you get a fat guy dance.” Madden isn’t exactly svelt so you get what I mean.

The kicker makes a big field goal and gets tackled by a defenseman (brilliantly acted Jon Favreau). Madden: “There’s an old saying in football. Don’t do anything great unless you can handle the congratulations.” What made this especially funny is that Pat Summerall didn’t get it. If you’ve watched them together (and sorry if you missed it, but they were officially split up several years ago), you know that Pat Summerall didn’t get it a lot.

This isn’t the first movie where Gene Hackman took an underrated sports team and motivated them for greatness. And I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Hoosiers had a lot of great quotes, but the subject here is football and the character is Jimmy McGinty. He motivates the QB by letting him know that “When the game is on the line, winners always want the ball.” Near the end of the film, after Falco(Keanu) return to play for the second half he points out to the replacement players “They have underestimated you. There is no tomorrow. And that makes you very dangerous people.” which is subsequently repeated by John Madden.  And if you’re a Bond fan, you also know that though “Tomorrow never dies”, it sure can create some crappy  movies.

I’ll give one more nod to Orlando Jones who plays a fast but incompetent wide receiver. When the key game is on the line, the coach covers his hands in glue and Orlando (Clifford Franklin) says: “I look like I just jacked off an elephant.” Trust me, it’s funny when you see it. Aside from that, his added value is acting like an idiot and teaching the team how to dance to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive”.

And without further ado…”Ladies and gentlemen, number 16 in your program, but number 1 in your hearts”.  Keanu Reeves plays the funny, smart and all-around good guy Shane Falco. He really makes the movie believable (more even than Madden) because he plays football *and* knows how to lead the team. Perhaps my #1 movie quote (and I’m even including Heavy Metal in this) is: “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. And glory…lasts forever.” Don’t get me wrong. Keanu has had some stinkers, but this movie was fresh and enjoyable and he was perfectly cast. To sum up Jimmy: “Greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man.”

Now as might be obvious, I like movies and movie quotes. I mentioned that there were a lot of great football movies. In fact, I think most of them are great. So, for your nostalgic pleasure here is a list of them (in no particular order).

  • Any Given Sunday
  • Necessary Roughness
    • I know you guys are tired and hurt but let me tell you one thing. If we get into that end zone, you won’t feel any pain.
  • Rudy
  • Best Of Times — ok, not great, but you have to like the Kurt Russell scene where he always wins when he wears white shoes
  • The Longest Yard — the original, not the Adam Sandler debacle
  • Friday Night Lights — the music and the acting were just plain awesome — Billy Bob’s best work
  • Remember The Titans
    • All right, now, I don’t want them to gain *another yard!* * You blitz…all…night!* If they cross the line of scrimmage, I’m gonna take every last one of you out! You make sure they remember, *forever*, the night they played the Titans!
    • I think this is a very good time for prayer and reflection… Coach, I’m hurt. I’m not dead.
    • Left side. Strong side.
  • Wildcats
    • It’s the sport of kings, better than diamond rings…football.
  • Varsity blues
    • We have the chance to play like gods.
  • Invincible
    • Eagles. Eagles. Eagles.
  • We Are Marshall
  • The Waterboy
  • The Program

Now I may have missed someone’s favorite football movie, but in case someone thinks that absence of the name means it’s ok, I want to specifically flag the following crap football movies:

  • Leatherheads

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