Here are a few video suggestions to help pass the time as we slowly churn our way through the abyss of the quietest time of the year for Pats fans and NFL fans. I’m sure people here have seen most of these already, but perhaps there are a few that you haven’t viewed before, and some others that are well worth watching once again.
Specific to the New England Patriots:
NFL Greatest Games Series: New England Patriots
(note: if you have the 3GTG series, there is not a whole lot more on this set than what you have already seen)
Hollywood productions, not Pats-specific:
1. Remember the Titans (2000)
The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.
2. North Dallas Forty (1979)
A semi-fictional account of life as a professional Football (American-style) player. Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early 1970s.
3. Brian’s Song (1971)
Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying. (Note: do not bother with the remake).
4. The Longest Yard (1974)
A sadistic warden asks a former pro quarterback, now serving time in his prison, to put together a team of inmates to take on (and get pummeled by) the guards.
5. Rudy (1993)
Rudy has always been told that he was too small to play college football. But he is determined to overcome the odds and fulfill his dream of playing for Notre Dame.
6. The Program (1993)
Several players from different backgrounds try to cope with the pressures of playing football at a major university. Each deals with the pressure differently, some turn to drinking, others to drugs, and some to studying.
7. The Express (2008)
A drama based on the life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.
8. Invincible (2006)
Based on the story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.
9. We Are Marshall (2006)
When a plane crash claims the lives of members of the Marshall University football team and some of its fans, the team’s new coach and his surviving players try to keep the football program alive.
10. Friday Night Lights (2004)
Based on Buzz Bissinger’s book, which profiled the economically depressed town of Odessa, Texas and their heroic high school football team, The Permian High Panthers.
11. Horse Feathers (1932)
Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley U, hires bumblers Baravelli and Pinky to help his school win the big football game against rival Darwin U.
12. The Longest Yard (2005)
Remake of the 1974 film in which prison inmates form a football team to challenge the prison guards.
13. Varsity Blues (1999)
When a player’s injury brings a halt to a coach’s 23 year championship stint, it’s time for a new coach and a new school of thought. Winning at all costs is replaced with doing your best and enjoying the game. The results are pretty dramatic.
14. Heaven Can Wait (1978)
A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an over-anxious angel before he was supposed to die, comes back to life in the body of a recently-murdered millionaire.
15. Everybody’s All-American (1988)
A Louisiana football legend struggles to deal with life’s complexities after his college career is over.
16. All The Right Moves (1983)
A high school footballer desperate for a scholarship and his headstrong coach clash in a dying Pennsylvania steel town.
17. The Replacements (2000)
During a pro football strike, the owners hire substitute players.
18. The Waterboy (1998)
A football team water boy discovers he has a unique tackling ability and becomes a member of the team.
19. Wildcats (1986)
Molly is a high school track coach who knows just as much about football as anyone else on the planet. When the football coach’s position becomes vacant, she applies for the job, despite expecting sniggers from fellow staff members and her former husband
20. The Last Boy Scout (1991)
A down and out cynical detective teams up with a down and out ex-quarterback to try and solve a murder case involving a pro football team and a politician.
21. Knute Rockne All American (1940)
The story of legendary Notre Dame football player and coach Knute Rockne.
22. Semi-Tough (1977)
A three-way friendship between two free-spirited professional football players and the owner’s daughter becomes compromised when two of them become romantically involved.
23. Jerry Maguire (1996)
When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.
24. Any Given Sunday (1999)
A fictional behind the scenes look at the life and death struggles of professional football players and those who lead them.
25. Radio (2003)
The story of a high school coach and the developmentally challenged man whom he took under his wing.
26. Code Breakers (2005)
In 1951, a cheating scandal rocks West Point academy, as 83 cadets – including the son of the school’s football coach (Glenn) – are implicated and ultimately dismissed.
27. School Ties (1992)
A Jewish boy goes to an elite prep school in the 1950’s and hides his religion until a jealous bigot forces it out in the open.
28. Gridiron Gang (2006)
Teenagers at a juvenile detention center, under the leadership of their counselor, gain self-esteem by playing football together.
29. Jim Thorpe: All-American (1951)
The triumph and tragedy of Native Anerican Jim Thorpe, who, after winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the same Olympics, is stripped of his medals on a technicality.
30. Paper Lion (1968)
Sportswriter George Plimpton poses as a rookie quarterback for the Detroit Lions for a “Sports Illustrated” article.
31. Fighting Back (1980)
Making an appearance in the National Football League is a dream for any football player, but for Rocky Bleier it was a dream that bared repeating. When the draft and a war injury wrecked havoc on his body, Rocky’s spirit persevered to keep his dream alive.
32. Necessary Roughness (1991)
Due to NCAA sanctions, the Texas State University Fightin’ Armadillos must form a football team from their actual student body, with no scholarships to help, to play their football schedule. With fewer players than most teams, the makeshift team must overcome obstacles that the best teams in the country couldn’t deal with. Using a 34 year old quarterback, a female placekicker and a gang of misfits, Ed “Straight Arrow” Genero must take his team to play the number one Texas Colts.
33. Two For The Money (2005)
After suffering a career-ending injury, a former college football star aligns himself with one of the most renowned touts in the sports-gambling business.
34. Johnny Be Good (1988)
It’s recruiting time and despite being short and scrawny, Johnny Walker is America’s hottest young football prospect. His dilemma: should he take one of the many offers from college talent scouts or should he attend the local state college with his girlfriend and give up his football career?
35. The Blind Side (2009)
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.
36. Leatherheads (2008)
In 1925, an enterprising pro football player convinces America’s too-good-to-be-true college football hero to play for his team and keep the league from going under.
37. They Call Me Sirr (2001)
Sirr Parker, raised in tough South Central Los Angeles, was abandoned by his junkie mother and raised by his grandmother until Coach Griffin takes him under his wing at Locke High School. Meant to be an inspirational story, the former Texas A&M standout was signed as a 1998 undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers and makes the practice squad but was waived and signed by two more teams before he finally switched positions and stuck with the Cincinnati Bengals for the last three games of the 2000 season. He was then released for a very minor violation of team off-season rules regarding place of residence.
38. Trouble Along The Way (1953)
Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying to bring back to football respectability.
39. The Junction Boys (2002)
Story of Bear Bryant’s first summer as head football coach at Texas A&M. Bear takes his charges out onto the scorched plains and sees who survives.
40. The Game Plan (2007)
An NFL quarterback living the bachelor lifestyle discovers that he has a 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.
41. The Best of Times (1986)
A small-town loser determines to have one more shot at the big time by winning a football game.
42. Little Giants (1994)
Misfits form their own opposing team to an elite peewee football team, coached by the elite team coach’s brother.
43. The 5th Quarter (2010)
Driven by the tragic and fatal car crash that took the life of his fifteen year old brother Luke, and wearing Luke’s number 5 jersey, Jon Abbate helps to lead the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to the most successful season in school history.
44. Lucas (1986)
A socially inept fourteen year old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends — Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love — fall for each other.
45. Quarterback Princess (1983)
The Maida family has moved to Oregon, and daughter Tami wants to play quarterback for the high school football team. There’s just one problem. She’s a girl. With everyone from the coach to her next door neighbor against her, she’s out to prove that not only can she can play football, but she can win the state championship. (Based on a true story).
46. Windrunner (1995)
A young man in high school moves with his mother to a town in the U.S. Southwest where his father is serving time in a penitentiary. There, he is discriminated against by his peers because he is the son of a convict; this discrimination includes the football coach keeping him on the bench. He receives special training from the ghost of Jim Thorpe, a Native American football star.
47. Hometown Legend (2002)
A teenage drifter finds an opportunity to turn his life around when he joins a high-school football program with a hard-nosed coach.
48. Field of Vision (2011)
The topic of bullying is addressed in the 2011 NBC Family Movie Night series presentation, Field of Vision. The film stars Faith Ford, Tony Oller, Philip Casnoff, Alyssa Jordan Shafer and Joe Adler. Although a “football” film at first glance, the movie goes much deeper, ultimately presenting each character a “turning point” moment when they are forced to make a choice between right and wrong. Adler is marvelously understated as the new transfer student being subjected to bullying, while Oller, as his team’s star quarterback, is faced with deciding which is more important: Doing what is right, or ignoring everything for the “promised land,” the state championship.
49. Possums (1998)
Will Collier loves his job as radio announcer for the local high school football team, the Nowata Possums. He loves it so much that he continues announcing even after the town decides to cancel the football program. But when his imaginary teams starts to contend for the state championship, he not only must deal with the real state champs, but he must reckon with the hopes and dreams of the people of Nowata as well.
50. Second String (2002)
Football coach Chuck Dichter has worked wonders with the Buffalo Bills, and is even confident to crown his career with a Super Bowl victory, but before the play-offs an oyster food-poisoning wipes out his first team for a month. Dan Heller, an insurance salesman and former college quarterback, who was hired -reluctantly, but his wife twisted his arm- just for practice, now has to captain and train a bunch of rookies and old-timers against the hardest adversaries. Dichter decides to sign up triple Super Bowl-winner Tommy Baker in Dan’s place.
99. The Fanatics (1999)
Quimby Falls, much like many American small towns, loves football with a passion. When the Buzzard team owner moves the team to another town, a few die-hard fans formulate a drastic plan to bring the team back home.
Any glaring omissions? An egregious error in the order in which these were placed? Let me know your thoughts.
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