One of the greatest football players ever once said, "If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out. That man was Chuck Noll, former Cleveland Brown player, and longtime Pittsburgh Steelers coach.
The same goes for football movies; there are decent ones out there, and there are some that are just better than the rest.
Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, draft day, or any given Sunday during (or outside) the season, these are the football movies that have stood the test of time.
1. Varsity Blues (1999)
Be careful if there are young kids watching...when they go back to school after watching this one, their teacher might wonder why they're looking at them funny.
2. Little Giants (1994)
One of Rick Moranis' last roles before he retired from the limelight, this gem also stars an always awesome Ed O'Neill and a cute little Devon Sawa.
3. Radio (2003)
It's just a rule that you have to watch Ed Harris, because he's been good in literally every single thing he's ever been in (and yes, that includes Westworld).
And also because Cuba Gooding, Jr. can be quiet and cool...
4. Jerry Maguire (1996)
...or loud and obnoxious, and both are awesome! Because in Rod we trust!
5. Leatherheads (2008)
This one isn't as well-known as many others on the list, but sometimes the most solid movies aren't the most popular ones. Watch this one just for those kickass helmets!
6. The Waterboy (1998)
If you're under the age of, say, 25, you might be wondering if there was a time when Adam Sandler was actually funny. The answer is "yes," and it was in the '90s. Captain Insane-O shows no mercy. And who doesn't dream about playing football in something call a Bourbon Bowl?
7. Friday Night Lights (2004)
From Friday Night Lights to Bad News Bears, all the way to Mr. Woodcock, Billy Bob Thornton has been one of the most memorable coaches in cinema. Starring in a movie that spawned a hit television show is also a pretty good accomplishment, I suppose.
8. Friends - “The One With All The Rugby" (1998)
Not quite a movie, but something to fire up on #Netflix during whatever morally questionable and/or "offensive" and/or beloved halftime show might be happening (shout-out to Left Shark; you're still my boy, Blue). Seeing Ross Gellar playing any kind of football is just...yeah, it's just that.
9. The Replacements (2000)
Warning...when someone gets their really expensive car shot up, there tends to be some NSFW cussing.
Plus, this movie features all-around Hollywood good guy Keanu Reeves leading the most dysfunctional football team ever. This movie is about as quotable as they come, too - BONUS! Remember, kids: "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory...lasts forever."
10. Invincible (2006)
For all of us fellas who dream of playing again (or for the first time), there's a little Vince Papale in all of us.
On second thought, I'm too old for that shit. Gimme my bowling ball and a bucket of beer!
11. The Freshman (1925)
Just in case you have one of those REALLY old Uncle Franks.
12. All The Right Moves (1983)
Like the millennials around your dinner table wondering about Adam Sandler, they're also probably asking if there was a time in which Tom Cruise wasn't a crazy Scientologist. Yes, kids, there was — from the '80s through the mid-'90s, he was the biggest movie star in the world. This was one of his earliest movies that put him on the map.
13. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - Football Stadium Scene
Another one you can fire up during commercials, and skip to where the stadium comes down:
And Bane talks about Bane-type stuff.
And hey, if you're a Steelers fan, it's always fun to watch good ol' Hines Ward running like his tail is on fire and his head is catching again.
14. The Blind Side (2009)
Pretty sure if you put Sandra Bullock in some football padding, her character in this movie could still kick my ass.
15. Wildcats (1986)
Who knew Woody Harrelson was ever in a football movie? Raise your hand. 'Cause I sure didn't. And what could go wrong with Goldie Hawn kicking a football?
16. Knute Rockne, All American (1940)
If you don't watch this for the football, watch it...for Ronald Reagan. Watch it...for the Gipper. Seriously, it's kind of cool to watch the movie that launched the movie career of the man who would eventually grow up to be our 40th President.
17. Rudy (1993)
You probably thought I was going to show you the “Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!” scene, didn't ya? Well, you guessed wrong.
18. The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon (1998)
Because Tony Danza, that's why! And Tony Danza will never not be the boss.
19. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Another great speech by another great Italian-American actor, even if it is "just" Al Pacino and not Tony Danza. Seriously though, if Pacino yelled at me in his Pacino-voice, I'd probably be inspired, too - or too terrified to screw up. Either/or.
20. Undefeated (2011)
Not sure how a documentary will work, say, for a bunch of relatives trippin' on tryptophan some Thanksgiving, but this one is definitely a change from your normal football movie.
21. The Program (1993)
The best part about this one, except for the fact that this copy of the trailer was ripped from a VHS tape? It's the windshield-bashing scene. Unless it inspires crazy Uncle Frank to go outside and enact revenge for his eye on your Honda Civic.
22. Greater (2016)
If this trailer for a movie about the greatest walk-on in the history of college football, Brandon Burlsworth, doesn't get you all teary-eyed, man, nothing will-
23. The Comebacks (2007)
It was either this or Not Another Teen Movie (R.I.P. Billy Bob), so The Comebacks gets its chance to end an epic #football movie list. Fittingly, it rips apart the genre, not to mention quite a few movies already on this list.
I can see spoofing Dodgeball: An True Underdog Story, but Radio? Ouch.
BONUS: The College Football Scene From 'Forrest Gump' (1994)
Because everyone could use a little Tom Hanks for the holidays. Or any time, really. Because Tom Hanks.
Go for the two-point conversion and read more:
- The 2016 NFL Season Is Here! Let's Kick It Off With 17 Of The Best Quotes From Football Movies
- 9 TV Families To Be Shamelessly Thankful For This Thanksgiving Season
- Eddie the Eagle And The 7 Most Common Clichés In Sports Movies
What kind of football movie would you prefer to watch Thanksgiving day? Action? Drama? Comedy? Dramedy? Let me know in the comments!