Greatest Football Movie Ever Tournament: The Program vs Necessary Roughness

Back to our tournament to determine the Greatest Football Movie Ever, as the finals of the Professional bracket have been set.

In the second Professional semi-final match-up, The Replacements scored their second consecutive upset of a higher seed, as it took out second-seeded Invincible by a final tally of 91-77. That means that Shane Falco and the boys will do battle with the crew of the Miami Sharks from Any Given Sunday for an entry into the three-way dance that will determine our Greatest Football Movie Ever.

So, with that, we move on to the first semi-final match-up of the College bracket, with a couple of lower seeds that knocked off higher-ranked movies in Round One.

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.

Necessary Roughness

And now for a movie that not many folks would term as "inspirational."

Necessary Roughness is the story of the Texas State University Armadillos, a football program that was once prominent, but had suffered the "death penalty" similar to the one that hit the real Southern Methodist football program in the late 80s. As a result, they have only one returning player from their previous season, and no scholarships available to entice new players, so they're pretty much looking for volunteers.

Head coach Wally Riggendorf (played by Robert Loggia) thinks he can solve at least one of his problems. . .the quarterback position. He does so by bringing in Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), a star high school quarterback who never played in college because of the death of his father. Oh, did I mention that his father's death was 16 years ago? That means Blake is all old and stuff. But, since he never played, he's still eligible to enroll as a freshman and play for the football team, which is exactly what he does.

The story follows the Armadillos and their rag-tag bunch of misfits through their season, including female kicker Lucy Draper, who is played by Kathy Ireland. . .and we get an understanding of exactly why pretty much every guy in my age range had an undeniable, glassy-eyed, drooling crush on her for an extended portion of their teenage years.

Funny tidbit about this movie. . .when the film was made in 1993, there was no such thing as "Texas State University." However, in 2003, Southwest Texas State University did, indeed, change its name to Texas State University-San Marcos. The majority of the filming was done at the University of North Texas in Denton, and the Armadillo's green-and-white color scheme is exactly the same color scheme that North Texas employs.

While Necessary Roughness will probably never go down as a "classic" or anything like that, it does have its moments, and is definitely good for a few laughs.

So, have at it, folks! Voting will be open on this one until Friday morning!

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