Greatest Football Movie Ever Tournament: Knute Rockne, All-American vs The Program

Well, in what can be deemed as a pretty sizable upset, the top seed in the College bracket, Rudy, went down hard to the number eight seed in the bracket, Necessary Roughness, by a margin of 58.8% to 41.2%. Necessary Roughness got a little bit of assistance from some faithful fans from where the movie was filmed, but the people have indeed spoken, and Rudy has been sent packing.

The Golden Domers have a chance at redemption in the next match-up, though, as we pit what I believe is the oldest movie on our list to one of the more infamous football films of recent memory.

Knute Rockne, All-American

Knute Rockne, All-American is the story of the legendary Notre Dame coach. The movie was released in 1940, ten years after Rockne had died in a plane crash, and is only one of two movies to have actually been shot on the Notre Dame campus (Rudy being the other one).

While Pat O'Brien does a solid job in his portrayal of Rockne, the film is more well-known in modern times for Ronald Reagan's portrayal of George Gipp, Notre Dame's first ever All-American and a man long considered to be one of the most versatile players in the history of college football. . .Gipp played halfback, quarterback, and punter for the Irish. Sadly, Gipp died just a couple of weeks after his final college game from complications resulting from strep throat.

It was on his death bed that Gipp apparently gave the line that the movie is best known for, as delivered by Rockne to his players at halftime in a game against Army at Yankee Stadium. Here's the quote it its entirety:

"I've got to go, Rock. It's all right. I'm not afraid. Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, ask them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."

I'm not sure what happened to that Reagan fellow after he was done with movies and what not.

While Knute Rockne, All-American is the oldest film on this list, it's a movie that still holds up well today, and if you've never seen it, I encourage you to seek it out and do so.

The Program

I looked like heck to find the trailer for this one, but nothing I put into YouTube seemed to work, so you get this scene instead.

The Program is the story of the ESU Timberwolves, a team that is going into a season with high expectations after a couple of disappointing years. They're coached by Sam Winters (James Caan), who has all but been told that if he doesn't win this season, he's fired. The film portrays. . .often overdramatically. . .the problems of a major college football program, with the team's starting quarterback developing a drinking problem after ESU has put together a Heisman Trophy campaign for him, one of the team's star linebackers being a noted steroid abuser, and even the coach's daughter getting expelled for taking a test for another student.

The most infamous portion of The Program stems from something that was ultimately cut out of the movie. Joe Kane. . .the quarterback with the drinking problem mentioned above. . .reads something about himself in Sports Illustrated that says he's good under pressure. He then proceeds to lie down on the yellow line in the middle of a highway with cars flying past at highway speeds. Some of his teammates then join him, perceiving this to be a test of their bravery.

Well, because parenting is, like, really, really hard and stuff, there were kids that saw this in the movie's trailer and did it for themselves. And since this isn't a movie, this resulted in those kids being injured or killed. (Come to think of it, I'm guessing that might be a part of why I can't find the trailer anywhere.) The scene was eventually cut from the movie, and it's believed that the folks at Buena Vista went so far as to destroy all of the camera negatives of that particular scene as well, because no version of the movie available anywhere has that scene in it.

There are a couple of names you'll recognize from this movie that came out in 1993. . .most notably Omar Epps, who is the inspiration for current NFL head coach Mike Tomlin. Oh, and some girl named Halle Berry. You may have heard of her, too. . .fetching young lass.

So, there's your match-up for this go-around, ladies and gentlemen! Polls will be open for 72 hours, just like always.

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