BySam Plank, writer at
"You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it." -Johnny Cash. Tweet a tweeter at my twitty twitter, @tw1tterintw1t
Sam Plank

This holiday, your friends and creators here at Movie Pilot would like to pass one piece of advice along to you: Whatever you do while you sit around the table enjoying that tryptophanic awesomeness, do not talk about politics, whatever you do. Not this year. We all want you to have a good Thanksgiving, not one where your racist Uncle Frank ends up in the ER with a wishbone stuck in his eye.

But football? Yes, there will be football, glorious football. Even if you're not a football fan, on Thanksgiving, most of us feel like this:

Three NFL games and one college game await you this holiday, but what do you do when the games are over? Talk politics? STILL NO. You watch a football movie!

Here's a list of of 22 of the best football movies (with a couple surprise entries mixed in) to feast your eyes on this year, whether it's to laugh or cry. But whatever you do and speaking of eyes, just be thankful you won't be stabbing Uncle Frank in his.

1. Varsity Blues (1999)

Be careful if there are young kids watching...they may giggle every time you put whipped cream on a pumpkin pie, and when they go back to school on Monday, 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 were 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 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.

Oh...okay, fine:

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 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 for a bunch of relatives trippin' on tryptophan, 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. 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 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:

What kind of football movie would you prefer to watch Thanksgiving day? Action? Drama? Comedy? Dramedy? Let me know in the comments!

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