NFL! NFL! Pacino Yells! Walhberg Runs! Cruise Shows Me The Money! Hike, Hike, Hike! The NFL’s Best Movies!

America’s Gladiators Are Back!

Football in America returns tonight! Who will be Tebow’ed this season?

That’s right: it’s time for some FOOTBALL! The pre-season kicks off tonight with six games scheduled, including one in Chicago when the Broncos come to town….

They Are ALL Super Bowl Champs!

It’s time to celebrate the upcoming NFL season – a time when ANY team can be the Super Bowl champ – records are waiting to be broken, dark horses will rise up, legends will be made….well, in theory at least – in the weeks and months ahead, many fans will begin a slow descent into despair, defeat and resignation…but for now, any one of these teams can win it all:

To honor the upcoming hopes and dreams of every team, I wanted to look at a couple of great football movies!

First, a few important caveats: I can’t include one of my favorite football movies, “Friday Night Lights” – because it is about high school football – same thing about Remember The Titans…

Even though it is one of Burt Reynold’s best movies, and a GREAT film, I won’t include The Longest Yard because it takes place in a prison…even if he is a disgraced NFL Quarterback…

Finally, don’t be angry Alex, but I can’t include “The Blind Side” because it’s about college football, even if he ends up in the NFL at the end!

These are all great sports movies, but here are three that are specifically about the NFL – even if in one case the NFL didn’t like the attention!


Here’s an uplifting film that celebrate the ability of anyone to succeed – and it’s based on a true story!

In the summer of 1976, 30-year old Vince Papale is having a tough run of luck. He’s been working as a supply teacher for two days a week but has just found out that his job has been eliminated because of budget cuts. His wife gives up on him saying he’ll never amount to anything and asks for a divorce. He works as a bartender and plays football with his friends. Cue Mark Wahlberg, who gives a terrific performance as Papale.

When the the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Dick Vermeil, announces that he will hold open tryouts for the team, Vince reluctantly decides to give a try. Enter Greg Kinnear in another great performance, this time as the desperate coach…

Papale goes to the tryouts and amazingly, makes the team! Not that the stadium Janitor thinks it will last:

Vince Papale: Excuse me my name’s spelled wrong.
Locker Room Janitor: Nothin personal but by the time I’m through with this is it really gonna matter.

Although listed as Wide Receiver, Papale played almost exclusively on Special Teams. The only reception in his career came in 1977 on a 15 yard pass from Roman Gabriel.

Roman Gabriel was a four-time Pro Bowler and the 1969 NFL Most Valuable Player with the Los Angeles Rams.

Greg Kinnear researched his role by spending time with Dick Vermeil during his final year as the Head Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

This is a great, uplifting story, and the film had the support of the Philadelphia Eagles and the National Football League. That’s not always the case, as you will soon see.

First, let’s go to one of the most successful romantic comedies of all time, which just also happens to be a great sports movie as well!

Jerry Maguire

“Show Me The Money!”

“You had me at ‘hello.”

OK, I know these are two of the most recognized movie lines in history, but there’s a reason: they speak to terrific characters who are compelling, funny, dramatic and poignant. And it’s about football!

Tom Cruise is Jerry Maguire, a slick and successful sports agent. Until one night he questions his purpose. His place in the world, and finally comes to terms with what’s wrong with his career and life. Oh, which promptly gets him fired…

Jerry ends up with only one volatile client Rod Tidwell, a veteran wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, who carries the NFL’s biggest chip on his shoulder.

Cuba Gooding Jr. deservedly won the Oscar for his supporting role as a player who wants a taste of fame and fortune before his career ends…

Rod Tidwell: I got a shelf life of ten years, tops. My next contract’s gotta bring me the dollars that’ll last me and mine a long time. Shit, I’m out of this sport in 5 years. What’s my family gonna live on? Huh?

This leads to the now iconic conversation between Cuba and Cruise, where the player asks his Agent to step up and deliver for him:

Rod Tidwell: I wanna make sure you’re ready, brother. Here it is: Show me the money. Oh-ho-ho! SHOW! ME! THE! MONEY! A-ha-ha! Jerry, doesn’t it make you feel good just to say that! Say it with me one time, Jerry.
Jerry Maguire: Show you the money.
Rod Tidwell: Oh, no, no. You can do better than that, Jerry! I want you to say it with you, with meaning, brother! Hey, I got Bob Sugar on the other line; I bet you he can say it!
Jerry Maguire: Yeah, yeah, no, no, no. Show you the money.
Rod Tidwell: No! Not show you! Show me the money!
Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: Yeah! Louder!
Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: Yes, but, brother, you got to yell that shit!

Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: I need to feel you, Jerry!
Jerry Maguire: Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: Jerry, you got to yell!
Jerry Maguire: [screaming] Show me the money! Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: Do you love this black man!
Jerry Maguire: I love the black man! Show me the money!
Rod Tidwell: Anyone else would have left you by now, but I’m sticking with you. And if I have to ride your ass like Zorro, you’re gonna show me the money.

FYI, the two most famous lines from the film, “Show me the money” and “You had me at hello”, are in the AFI’s top 100 movie quotes (at numbers 25 and 52, respectively).

The adorable little boy, Jonathan Lipnicki, showed up on the set one day telling everyone that, “the human head weighs eight pounds”. Cameron Crowe liked it so much he wrote it into the script.

Jerry Maguire: “We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You… complete me.”

Yes, it’s a great romantic comedy as well, but it’s also a great movie about pro sports!

Finally, Jamie Foxx auditioned for the role later given to Cuba Gooding Jr.. don’t worry, Foxx shows up in his own classic NFL movie, thanks to Oliver Stone…

Any Given Sunday

“On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is – can you win or lose like a man?”

Leave it to Director Oliver Stone to take a look at the NFL-as-modern-day-Gladiators…

Oliver Stone of course also directed “Born On The Fourth Of July” and “Natural Born Killers”…what a surprise that the NFL had no interest in his take on their sport?

Aging NFL Coach Tony D’Amato – portrayed “at eleven” by Al Pacino – must overcome the injury to his star Quarterback by giving a shot to the coky young QB, Jamie Foxx.

This is a classic story, as Pacino must reevaluate his time-tested values and strategies and begin to confront the fact that the game, as well as post-modern life may be passing him by.

Adding to the pressure on D’Amato to win at any cost is the aggressive young President/Co-owner of the team, Christina Pagniacci, now coming into her own after her father’s death…yes, that’s Cameron Diaz as an NFL owner…

“Any Given Sunday” is a brutal, MASCULINE look at the world of pro football…I mean, look at this Gladiator shot from the film:

Now, about how much the NFL wanted Stone to tackle their game…I think these two pieces of trivia are connected, don’t you?

Director Oliver Stone tried and failed to get the National Football League’s permission to use real NFL team logos and stadiums for the film.

The word “fuck” is spoken about 117 times in the movie.

According to Oliver Stone, the NFL actively attempted to prevent players taking part in this project. Then San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens can be seen playing and scoring two touchdowns for the Miami Sharks. While the name on the back of his shirt is ‘Owens’, he wears the number 82 and not 81 as he does in real life.

Made up team names or not, this monologue tells you all you need to know about how Stone equates modern football players with warriors:

Tony D’Amato: You find out life’s this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game – life or football – the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!

Let’s celebrate the upcoming season by diving into these NFL film classics!

Categories: 70's Cinema, Awards, Comedy Movies, Movies, Sports, Sports Movies, Tim Tebow, Uncategorized

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2 replies


  1. Super Cinema! The Best Football Movies Of All Time! | Film Fight Club!
  2. The NFL Legend Of “Broadway Joe” Namath! Super Bowl’s Biggest Shocker! Sexy NFL Movie Star! NFL Legend! | johnrieber

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