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Greatest Football Movie Ever Tournament: Friday Night Lights vs Varsity Blues

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After a one-day delay, we're back on track with our tournament. In our last match-up, The Longest Yard had a relatively easy victory over Gridiron Gang, with The Longest Yard garnering about three-quarters of the vote. The Longest Yard will now go on to face The Blind Side in the second round of the "Other" bracket in a few weeks.

Today, we have a couple of entries from the world of high school football, and one that, if the initial comments were any indication, should be a fairly close match-up.

Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights is the 2004 drama film that documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is obsessed with them. The book on which it was based, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, was authored by H. G. Bissinger and follows the story of the 1988 Permian High School Panthers football team as they made a run towards the state championship. Bissinger followed the team for the entire 1988 season, which culminated in a loss in the State playoffs against Carter High School from Dallas, who eventually went on to win the championship game but would have their title stripped for playing an ineligible player.

Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) is on the hot seat at Permian High School. He overuses his star player, who winds up getting injured and missing a good portion of Permian's season. His quarterback is inconsistent, his fullback has a problem with his father (which isn't surprising, considering that his father beats the snot out of him), and he has a running back that's afraid of getting hit, which is generally a pretty bad combination. Still, the team manages to fight its way into the Texas High School Playoffs, which is what was pretty much necessary for Gaines to keep his job.

Not only was Friday Night Lights a pretty good movie, it also gave us a darn fine television series that ran for a number of years on NBC and DirecTV's 101 Network.

Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues is also set in the world of Texas high school football. It's the story of Jonathan "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek), the backup quarterback for West Canaan High School, who doesn't like his life. He also doesn't like football very much, but he's pushed into playing by his father, and doesn't want to play for his team's legendary coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight). Voight is a control freak who wants to win at all costs and, eventually, one of those "costs" is West Canaan's star quarterback getting injured, which pushes Moxon into duty.

Kilmer angers Mox to the point where Mox starts calling his own plays on the field. This angers Kilmer to the point where he tells Mox that if he doesn't fall in line, the coach will have Mox's high school transcripts altered so that he doesn't get a scholarship to Brown University, which has been one of Mox's life goals all along. After another of Mox's friends gets injured and is faced with being given a cortisone shot (so that he can play, even in the face of possible permanent injury), Mox informs Kilmer that the team isn't re-taking the field with him as their coach. Kilmer loses control and attacks Mox, which all by spells the end of his coaching career.

And there's your match-up, folks! Have at it. . .voting, as usual, is open for 72 hours.