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Greatest Football Movie Ever Tournament: Rudy vs Necessary Roughness

With the first round of the Professional bracket of our Greatest Football Movie Ever tournament in the books, it's now time for us to turn our attention to the College bracket, with eight very good movies. Since most of these movies are a bit newer, hopefully we won't have some of the discrepancies that we managed to get in some of the first-round match-ups in the Professional bracket.

Let's get the College bracket underway with a rather interesting match-up. . .a movie that is based on a true story against a movie that is most definitely not.


One of the better "feel good" sports movies of recent memory, Rudy is the story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger (played by Sean Astin before he tried to simply walk into Mordor), a teenager from Joliet, Illinois, that has the big dream of playing football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Daniel doesn't come from a particularly affluent family, and can't get into Notre Dame right away, so he ends up at nearby Holy Cross hoping to be able to transfer.

SPOILER ALERT (in case you didn't watch the trailer there). . .he eventually gets into Notre Dame.

Now, Daniel isn't a particularly good athlete, either. . .he's reminded by one of the groundskeepers for Notre Dame Stadium (where he worked part-time while attending Holy Cross) that he's "five-foot-nothing and a hundred and nothing with barely a speck of athletic ability." But he's put on the squad as a member of the scout team because of the level of heart and desire he shows during the team's practices. Eventually, coach Ara Parseghian agrees to let him suit up for a game in his senior year. . .unfortunately, Parseghian retires and is replaced by Dan Devine. Devine is. . ."persuaded". . .by some of Rudy's teammates to allow him to suit up for the Irish's game against Georgia Tech after Devine had initially decided against it, and. . .well, if you're one of the few that hasn't seen it, I won't spoil the ending for you or anything like that.

As with most films that are "based on a true story," Rudy takes a few liberties with the facts, most notably the circumstances leading up to Ruettiger being allowed to suit up for the game against Georgia Tech. The scene with the numerous Irish seniors tossing their jerseys on Devine's desk in protest never actually occurred. . .and this information comes from no less of a source than Joe Montana, who was an active member of the team during this particular season. In reality, Devine had informed the team early in the week that Ruettiger would be suiting up for the Georgia Tech game.

If you want an inspirational movie, even for someone that may not particularly be into football, it's hard to go wrong with Rudy.

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 Thursday morning.