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Greatest Football Movie Ever: We Are Marshall vs The Waterboy

Half of our College bracket final has been set, as Necessary Roughness somehow. . .inexplicably. . .continues its march forward by knocking off The Program by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. So, the number eight seed in the College bracket will take on the winner of this match-up to determine that bracket's winner.

Your combatants will appear after the jump.

We Are Marshall

On November 14, 1970, a plane that was flying from Greenville, North Carolina to Huntington, West Virginia (with one stop in between) crashed in a field just outside of Ceredo, West Virginia. The 75 passengers on the plane were 37 members of the Marshall University football team, Marshall head football coach Rick Tolley and five members of his coaching staff, Marshall athletic director Charles Kautz, team trainer Jim Schroer and his assistant, Donald Tackett, 25 boosters, and five crew members. Nobody survived the crash.

This story is about the rebuilding of the Marshall University football program, a job undertaken by new head coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey). The new team ends up being composed of the 18 surviving players from the previous program (three freshmen and fifteen sophomores that weren't on the ill-fated flight for various reasons), and walk-on athletes from other Thundering Herd sports programs.

One of the things that surprised me about this movie was the connection that the Marshall football program at the time had to coaching legend Bobby Bowden, who at this time was the head coach at West Virginia. Bowden, who has said he was, at one point, the leading candidate for the job that eventually went to Rick Tolley, went so far as to ask the NCAA for permission to wear Marshall jerseys and play Marshall's final game of the 1970 season against Ohio University (a request that the NCAA denied). The real Jack Lengyel gave Bowden a great deal of credit for helping the Marshall football program recover.

We Are Marshall is another very well-done feel-good story from the world of football, and is a must-see for any football historian or any football aficionado.

The Waterboy

In this 1998 release, Adam Sandler plays the role of Bobby Boucher, a 31-year old serving as the water boy for the SCLSU Mud Dogs. As someone that takes his duties rather seriously, he is constantly mocked and made fun of by the football players, until one day Mr. Coach Kline (Henry Winkler) tells young Bobby Boucher that he needs to defend himself against such indignities.

Bobby then rushes out on the field during practice, destroys the Mud Dogs quarterback, and Coach Klein asks him to play for the football team, and he agrees. . .on one condition. That nobody tell Bobby's mother (Kathy Bates) that he's playing the "foosball," because his mama feels that football is the debil.

The Waterboy will never be considered a cinematic masterpiece or anything like that, but it's one of those movies that is good for a few laughs, particularly if you want to just sit back, watch a movie, and not have to think to much. . .sort of in that whole Naked Gun/Airplane! kind of vein. (Although The Waterboy should never be placed on the comedic level of those movies, either, in my opinion.)

So, have at it, folks. . .which of these is the better movie?