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Greatest Football Movie Ever Tournament: The Longest Yard vs Gridiron Gang

Whoa. . .sorry for the tardiness on this. I'll extend the poll for this one for a little longer to reflect that I got it up here late.

We have but three first-round match-ups remaining in the first round of the Greatest Football Movie Ever tournament. In what really isn't too big a surprise, The Blind Side has moved on to the next round, having taken about three quarters of the vote in their match-up against those plucky Wildcats.

The movies in our next match-up have something in common besides football. . .correctional facilities.

The Longest Yard

Apologies. . .the trailer above is for the 2005 remake. The only thing I could find for the 1974 version was something hyping a DVD release. Then again, since they're essentially the same movie, I guess the difference isn't that great. I just prefer the older version. Your mileage may vary.

The Longest Yard centers around Paul Crewe (played in the original by Burt Reynolds), a former star professional quarterback who was kicked out of the league for point shaving. After getting into a fight with his girlfriend, Crewe gets drunk and drives his girlfriends car off of a pier, winding up with an 18-month prison sentence as a result. After being harassed by both his fellow inmates and the guards at the prison, the warden eventually compels Crewe to put together a team of inmates to take on the prison's guards, who have a semi-pro team of their own, and many of whom are big enough and fast enough to play at the pro level. Most of the prisoners have no football experience, and the African-American players won't even talk to Crewe about joining the squad. . .at first.

Eventually, game day comes around and the prisoners actually have a shot at taking down the guards. At halftime, the prison warden comes to Crewe and tells him that if he doesn't lose this game to the guards, he'll pin a crime on Crewe that they both know he didn't commit. From there. . .well, I don't think I want to spoil the ending, although I'm sure most folks here have seen the film already.

The Longest Yard won the 1975 Golden Globe Award for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy). The 2005 version is pretty good, too. . .after all, as I said earlier, it's essentially the same movie. . .but I simply prefer the Burt Reynolds version.

Gridiron Gang

Gridiron Gang is based on the true story of the Kilpatrick Mustangs. Camp Kilpatrick is a correctional facility near Malibu, California for juvenile delinquents with multiple offenses.

Sean Porter (played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) works at Kilpatrick. He's frustrated that he can't help the youngsters in his charge get away from their past lives, he starts a football team so that they can feel as though they're a part of something. He tells the kids that they may be losers now, but if they pledge to be part of the team, they can all end up as winners in the end. Problems arise almost immediately, as some of the teens realize that they're members of rival gangs, but as the season progresses, they start showing a greater willingness to work together, and as a result the team becomes more successful.

Eventually, the team makes it to the championship game, where they face the team that demolished them by 38 points in the first game of the season. You can probably figure out how it ends, but hey. . .again, I'm not going to spoil the ending for anyone that was planning on watching it.

Gridiron Gang is another feel-good movie from the football genre. As a big fan of The Rock, I think he puts in a pretty solid performance in this one.

So, have at it, ladies and gentlemen!