Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dell's Pointless Lists: Greatest Football Plays in Movie History

Yay!!!!! It's Superbowl Sunday!!!! Here in the States, this is as close as any day gets to a national holiday without actually being one. And since I'm a huge football fan, I just have to do something here on the blog. I've already covered football movies from a number of different angles so it was tough coming up with this one. I've settled upon the action parts of these films that thrill us all...or make us laugh...or say WTF? Often, they're pivotal parts of the movies they are in, bringing things to an emotional crescendo. Other times, they're just the most memorable, even if they don't come from actual football movies. Yes, they might even be unapologetically cheesy. So what. And there are spoilers ahead. And, and, wherever possible I'll use the actual football terminology, 'cuz I'm a fanatic like that. Here, are...

The Greatest Football Plays in Movie History

This play is actually not part of our countdown (just missed), but we must start things off with the national anthem and a kickoff.

Opening Kick-Off
The Dark Knight Rises

Now that our stadium is totally destroyed, we can  get started...

Gun Rip 47 Gap
The Blind Side
When the only black kid in the game is getting all sorts of unfair penalties, his coach is understandably upset. When said coach goes ballistic in his defense, the kid repays him the best way he knows how. Sure, the physics of the blocked player actually staying on his feet that long are questionable. And sure, the movie as a whole takes a true story and dumbs it down to imbecilic levels, but this is a shining moment in the film. Sorry I couldn't find a shorter clip. Fast forward to about 2:05 for full context, to 3:00 for the play itself.

Eyeball Out
Any Given Sunday
This isn't the most important football play in the movie. In fact, it's just gratuitous gore. There's your warning. Still, it's the most memorable of all this movie's football scenes. My favorite part of it all is the deadpan announcer, played by director Oliver Stone himself, and what he says for the people watching on TV.

Note: The video of this play has been deleted since this was originally posted. Sorry, all I have is this...

Split Left, Hook and Ladder
Varsity Blues
Sometimes, football is all about trickeration, catching your opponent off guard. What better way to do that than to send your huge, slow offensive lineman out to take a lateral and scamper for the endzone. The result is a monumental moment in the movie Varsity Blues.

90 Razor, X Out
Jerry Maguire
Rod Tidwell is a diva wide receiver who has been trying desperately to get a new, big contract. By desperately, I mean he's been hounding his agent incessantly. The problem is no one knows if he can make the tough play. Here, in just a minute of screen time, he simultaneously shows us he can, makes America fall in love with him, and wins Cuba Gooding Jr. an Oscar. Sadly, I couldn't find a clip of the actual play, but the celebration is really what it's all about and I did find that. Just never you mind that no one in the history of getting knocked the fuck out has ever reacted this way.

Brown Right Motion, Tail Slant
The Program
Yup, another game winning touchdown to close out the movie. Imagine that. This one is obviously of the spectacular variety or it wouldn't be here. However, this doesn't take away from the fact that most of the action in this one is pretty realistic, except for all the stupid talking they do during the play. Even as wild as this play is, it's more grounded in reality than a lot of other football flicks. Sidenote: The play I really wanted was the play before this one, but alas, no clip for that one, either. This will certainly do.

Billy Cole in the Slot
The Last Boy Scout
This is the absolute pinnacle of cinematic football ridiculosity. Down 7 on what will likely be their last possession, the L.A. Stallions get the ball to their best player and he does indeed get them into the endzone. However, he does it in the most unconventional way possible. Gotta love how everyone on the sidelines of both teams runs toward the guy with the gun. And yes, Billy Cole, life is a bitch.


Sorry, we couldn't get Katy Perry to come to my little blog. To the tune of Donna Summers' "Bad Girls," the girls from The Replacements will still give you a great show, though...

Second Half Kick-Off
Forrest Gump

Fake 23 Blast with a Backside George Reverse
Remember the Titans
If the scene from The Last Boy Scout was the pinnacle of football movie ridiculosity, then the entirety of Remember the Titans is the pinnacle of football movie cheesiness. Yet somehow, I always eat it all up. This moment comes during the climactic championship game, duh, and does so much more than win one team a title. It actually ends racism in the state of Virginia, or so it's implied. Nice. By the way, be sure not to miss a very young Hayden Panettiere.

Quarterback Scramble
The Longest Yard (1974)
Hey, the game-winning touchdown. Sound familiar? However, this one is such a genre classic that it just can't be ignored. During games nowadays, TV networks use a tool to tell you how many yards a player actually runs on a given play, not just the yardage gained. That device is sorely needed for this play.

Quarterback Sack
One of the things I foolishly pride myself on is the fact that I've not cried over a movie since 1979. I was eight years old. Since then, there are several movies that have put me on the verge of shedding tears, but I managed to fight them back. Rudy is one of those movies. Taken out of context, like it is here doesn't do anything to me, but knowing what it does when I watch the whole thing earns this lofty positon.

The Annexation of Puerto Rico
Little Giants
After all these years, I still haven't figured out why they call this play The Annexation of Puerto Rico. Who cares, as long as it works? And man, does it work. So what it isn't anything like what we're told it is earlier in the movie. While not my #1 football movie play, this is the one that gave me the inspiration for this list. It's the most fun part of a very fun movie. Of course, it's the game-winning touchdown. Why wouldn't it be? After all, this play is so good the Carolina Panthers ran it in an actual NFL game.

The Agony of Defeat
Friday Night Lights
I've posted a number of game-winning scores here, today. One of the things that gets this particular play the top spot is that it has the courage to go the other way. There is plenty of joy, but it's not ours. It's a heart-breaking finale to a movie in which we've truly come to love the team we're following.

If you liked this, you may also enjoy...


  1. My dad's all-time favorite film is Rudy. If it's on TV, u can't get him out of the chair.

  2. This is a brilliant list. I was sort of hoping that Starship Troopers was going to somehow made the cut...but the inclusion of The Replacements more than makes up for it. And your comment about ending racism in Virginia almost made me choke on my cereal.

    I would congratulate you further on this excellent post, but it's clear you are a machine, literally void of emotion, so I won't bother you with human emotion.

    (Man...I almost broke down during Super Bowl commercials...not to mention when the Pats sealed it)

    1. You mean it didn't end racism in VA? Who knew? Forgot all about Starship Troopers. And who doesn't love strippers masquerading as cheerleaders? All compliments are certainly welcome. Us machines need love, too. Finally, congrats to you and he Pats. Just be sure to send Pete Carroll a thank you card.

  3. That #1...UGH...I remember crying like a bitch in the theater, and looking over at my friend who...was also crying like a bitch!

    Also...check your email dude...please :-D

    1. Yeah, that was a toughie. Will check. Sorry bout that.