friday night lights2

Earlier this morning to (dis)honor Draft Day I went through the absolute worst in pigskin film creations. Now we follow up with the best of the bestest.

Ultimately any sports movie list is influenced by age, and in no way did I show that below with the exclusion of old classics like North Dallas Forty and Brian’s SongNope.

5. Monday Night Mayhem (2002)

This rarely gets love in other similar listicles, because that’s what happens with sparsely viewed TV movies. Including the legend that is Howard Cosell, Monday Night Mayhem does the service of educating the masses on how the Monday Night Football juggernaut came to be.

4. Any Given Sunday (1999)

You could argue this belongs on the other list, the crappy football movie list. And if you did that while saying it’s basically a two-hour music video, you won’t get too much counter fire from me. But Any Given Sunday lands here for a few reasons:

  • The scene above established the foundation on which all other epic sports movie speeches have since been built upon.
  • You can’t find a better portrayal of a coke and hooker loving head coach than Al Pacino’s work with Tony D’Amato.
  • Of any football movie ever, the first-person views with the blurring, whizzing color flashing before your eyes best depict what it looks and feels like to play actual football.

3. Remember the Titans (2000)

Solid work with the mamma jokes. Remember The Titans was really ahead of its time in that regard, along with the use of “OMAHA OMAHA OMAHA” that Peyton Manning blatantly copied because he has no original material.

2. We Are Marshall (2006)

While balancing the delicate job of depicting a tragic true eventWe Are Marshall features the much better and less rom-com Matthew McConaughey we’ve now come to know and love(?).

1. Friday Night Lights (2004)

If you haven’t read Buzz Bissinger’s book that led to the movie which led to the drama series, you need to change that now. There are details in the book which are either excluded in the movie or lightly glossed over, like the neglect for the school part of high school football in Texas at the time.

But in its efforts to depict both the euphoria and rockstar nature of Texas high school football while also showing the crushing nature of the pressure placed on a 17-year-old kid as he’s asked to carry a town’s hope, the screen version of Friday Night Lights separates itself from others in the genre. It’s a movie about a time, a place, and football’s position within them.