BLITZ: Five football movies to watch during your quarantine

blitz_inset-2Stuck in your house until sometime in April or longer? Wait, that’s not a question. More of a statement. We all need something to do to pass the time.

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While it may not be football season (although NFL free agency is giving us something to talk about), Blitz always has his mind on the pigskin. Who knows? The next major we sport we see played on the regular could be football come the fall.

Pondering that also led Blitz to think about some of his favorite football movies. Here is a breakdown of some gridiron-centric flicks you could enjoy during our stay-at-home order.

BRIAN’S SONG (1971)

No made-for-TV movie has had the effect on Blitz quite like Brian’s Song.

Released on ABC in 1971, the flick tells the story of Chicago Bears teammates Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo – who become unlikely friends during the racial strife of the early 1970s as running back mates.

James Caan as Piccolo and Billy Dee Williams as Sayers give amazing performances as they recreate the true story of the duo become fast friends and surviving the rigors of the NFL together. When Piccolo is stricken with cancer and dies at age 26, the impact reverberates not just as a football movie, but as a movie about friendship and camaraderie regardless of a person’s race.

Brian’s Song is considered one of the greatest sports movies ever made for a reason. Blitz remembers watching it while in class in high school and it has stuck with him ever since.

BEST SCENE: Sayers’ acceptance speech for the George S. Halas Courage Award. 

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (2004)

Many folks will lean towards the TV show of the same name, but Blitz finds the movie head and shoulders the best.

Friday Night Lights is not a high school football movie, but rather a life movie centered around high school football. It deals with unrealistic expectations (Permian HS fans), devastating injuries (Boobie Miles’ ACL) and home situations (Don Billingsley’s alcoholic and abusive father).

The movie takes you through the season of Permian High School football – from exceptional victories to heartbreaking defeats, along with giving you an inside look at kids and adults, imperfect all, that makes up the personalities that many only see from the outside.

But where the movie is at its best is in the final act. SPOILER ALERT: Permian does not win a state championship. It loses in devastating fashion. But how the players and coaches handle themselves in defeat, and how they put things in the big picture of life, is something that everyone should take heed to.

BEST SCENE: Coach Gaines on being perfect 

LITTLE GIANTS (1994)

Rick Moranis vs. Al Bundy. What’s not to like?

Little Giants came out in the heyday of kids sports comedies in the vein of Mighty Ducks and Sandlot. It shines timelessly just like the others.

The brothers O’Shea are the centerpiece of the story, with one (Ed O’Neill) being a Heisman Trophy winner and the other a normal guy without much of any athletic ability (think Bounce).

It is your normal David vs. Goliath story as Danny O’Shea’s (Moranis) team of misfits looks to knock off Kevin O’Shea’s powerful Cowboys squad.

Buoyed by the infamous “Annexation of Puerto Rico” play inspired by a similar play called by John Madden in Super Bowl XI, the Giants beat the Cowboys in dramatic fashion. The brothers then make nice and combine their teams.

Good, wholesome fun for the entire family.

BEST SCENE: Bruce Smith’s attempt at teaching intimidation

REMEMBER THE TITANS (2000)

While not exactly based on true events, Remember the Titans gives a great take on integration at the high school football level in the 1970s. And it does center around an actual story in Virginia at T.C. Williams High School.

Just like other movies on this list, football is the mere setting for more important life lessons, including race relations and dealing with hardship both on and off the field.

Denzel Washington is sensational as Coach Herman Boone and is surrounded by a great cast of adults and teenagers. The movie crescendos with the winning of a state championship, but is tempered by personal tragedy.

A great movie of football and life.

BEST SCENE: Assistant coach Bill Yoast wakes up

RUDY (1993)

While now nearly 30 years old, this movie is still the gold standard in Blitz’s mind when it comes to college football on the big screen.

We all know the story, diminutive Rudy Ruettiger wants above anything to play for the University of Notre Dame. He goes through hell and high water to get there.

The movie is based on a true story, but adds some Hollywood to up the sentimentality, from Rudy’s childhood friend Pete dying to Irish coach Dan Devine being a complete tool and not wanting Rudy to play – neither of which happened.

But Rudy still tightens up Blitz’s throat at its climax after all these years. A true story of achieving your goal no matter how many times you’ve failed or heard people tell you it cannot be done.

BEST SCENE: Rudy’s Victory

Which movies would you put in your Top 5 Football Movies? Let Blitz know in the comments. 

 

 

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