Mandatory Staff Picks: Top 10 Football Films to Get You Psyched For the Season
Football season is underway, and like you, we’ve parked ourselves in front of the TV in sweats with plenty of beer and salty snacks to tide us over until halftime as we watch men pummel one another over the pigskin. But games only last so long. We need something else to keep us entertained in between the battles on the gridiron. Cue a slew of football movies to psych us up — and keep us pumped — through the entire NFL season. These films, which span the gamut from comedies to dramas to documentaries, all capture the blood, sweat, and, yes, even tears inherent in the most American sport imaginable. No matter which one you choose to watch tonight, you’re headed for a touchdown.
Cover Photo: Warner Bros.
Eat like a champ: RANKED! The Best Football Season Tailgating Foods
'Any Given Sunday'
This gritty Oliver Stone film shows the lengths players and coaches alike will go to for the game. The Miami Sharks are floundering and veteran coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino) must do whatever it takes to turn the team around. Complicating matters are aging legend Jack Rooney (Dennis Quaid), up-and-comer Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx), and team co-owner and president Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz), with whom D’Amato can’t help but butt heads.
Sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) leaves his employer to strike out on his own but only has one (very cocky) client, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Can Maguire get the team and Tidwell to agree on a new contract? The careers of both depend on it.
'Remember the Titans'
It’s the 1970s and two schools in Alexandria, Virginia, are integrating to form T.C. Williams High. Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is the new football coach tasked with managing the contentious, mixed-race team in this inspirational based-on-a-true-story film.
This classic football film follows real-life Rudy Ruettiger (Sean Astin), who dreams of playing for Notre Dame despite his stature, academic failings, and economic status.
Photo: TriStar Pictures
'The Express: The Ernie Davis Story'
This biopic follows Ernie Davis (Rob Brown), a football player who was recruited to Syracuse University's football program during the civil rights movement and went on to become the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. The story is especially poignant considering that Davis died at age 23 from leukemia before he was ever able to play a pro football game.
Photo: Davis Entertainment
'Straight Outta L.A.'
What do Ice Cube and the Raiders have to do with one another? More than you’d imagine. This 30 for 30 ESPN documentary explores the connection between Los Angeles, music, and football.
Photo: ESPN films
This coming-of-age drama is set in football-crazed, small-town Texas and examines the pressures high school athletes are under from both parents and coaches. After starting quarterback Lance Harbor (Paul Walker) gets injured, Jonathon "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek) takes his place but his approach to the game is at odds with that of his coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight).
New York Giants superfan Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) doesn’t have much of a life outside football. He works at a parking garage, lives with his mom, and spends his free time calling sports radio to rant. It would seem his luck has changed when he spots star linebacker Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) at a gas station, but his encounter with the football legend leaves him flattened – literally.
Photo: First Independent Pictures
Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is being pressed on all sides as the most important day of the year, draft day, approaches. The team’s owner (Frank Langella) has threatened to fire him, his girlfriend (Jennifer Gardner) is pregnant, and Weaver doesn’t know which of two risky players to choose.
'The Blind Side'
A Southern woman (Sandra Bullock) and her husband (Tim McGraw) take in a homeless teen, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), who turns out to be a football phenom. This based-on-a-true-story movie shows the life-changing effects football can have. In Oher’s case, he went on to become the offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. In Bullock's case, it won her an Oscar for Best Actress.