EDIT - Bumping this one for folks that haven't voted. The poll will close on Thursday morning. Enjoy! - Chris
We started this tournament with twenty-four of the greatest football movies ever to grace the silver screen. . .or, in some cases, the small screen. Twenty-one previous match-ups have come and gone, and we now have our final three films. These three will compete in the final battle to be declared the Greatest Football Movie Ever by you, the fine, upstanding, discerning readers of this fine website.
So, with no further delay. . .well, unless you count the jump as a delay. . .I present to you the three finalists for the title of The Daily Norseman's Greatest Football Movie Ever!
The Replacements, a movie which came out in the year 2000, is loosely. . .very loosely. . .based on the 1987 NFL player strike, in which the owners of the National Football League teams brought in replacement players in order to play bad football games that they could still sell tickets for. The movie is about one of those teams of "scabs" that answered the call when the "real" professionals refused to cross the picket line.
The team, in this case, is the Washington Sentinels. The main character is quarterback Shane Falco (played by Keanu Reeves), a quarterback that choked in his final game at Ohio State University (sorry, Ted), and washed out of the professional ranks after one season. Falco and the rest of the scab players are brought to Washington after the strike by head coach Jimmy McGinty (played by Gene Hackman). McGinty was the coach of the Sentinels for a long time, and was fired for getting into an argument with the owner, Edward O'Neil (Jack Warden) before being asked back to coach the replacement players. Even the cheerleading squads are replacements, including a couple of strippers that actually seem to you've already stopped reading this and are doing a Google search, so never mind.
The way the games play out, even the results, are somewhat based on what the Redskins' "scab" players did during the '87 replacement games. The Redskins replacement players won all three of their games, and played a relatively small part to help in helping the Redskins reach the Super Bowl that year. As we've mentioned on the site before, the '87 Redskins defeated the Vikings to get to the Super Bowl, where they thrashed the Denver Broncos. Ironically, in the episode of NFL Films' America's Game where the '87 Redskins got profiled, the narrator for the show was none other than Gene Hackman.
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.)
Remember The Titans is the story of Herman Boone (Denzel Washington), who is a black man hired as the head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. The football team at the school is a mixture of black and white players, and there is a great deal of racial tension both in the locker room and in the classroom. Boone takes over the head coaching position from the legendary Bill Yoast (Will Patton). Boone offers Yoast an assistant coaching spot with the team, and Yoast refuses at first, but then accepts after the team's white players threaten to boycott the season if he doesn't accept it.
The white and black players on the team still continue to clash in racially motivated conflicts at their football camp, but Boone is eventually able to get them to work together. After returning from the football camp, Boone is told by a member of the school board that if the team loses so much as one game, Boone will be fired. The team triumphs despite having to deal with biased officiating and other major obstacles.
And there you go, folks. . .the three-way dance is on, and it's up to you folks to choose a winner. Have at it!