The Hail Mary of American football movies

First played in 1869, American football is an incredibly popular sport in North America. With Superbowl LIV attracting hundreds of millions viewers worldwide, the sport continues to go from strength to strength. That final saw the Kansas City Chiefs run out 31-20 winners against the San Francisco 49ers after heading into the showpiece event as slight favourites with bookmakers.

With the new regular season of the NFL not set to start until September 2020, there will be plenty of time to choose your NFL picks and parlays. As such, it’s down to the XFL to take the current centre stage with the DC Defenders the favourites to win the competition at 21/10. The Defenders are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Wildcats on February 23.

And, with American football being such a prominent figure in the North American sporting world, there’s no wonder that movies have been made to cover this popular past-time. Here are some of the best.

Remember the Titans

What better place to start than this 2000 classic? The small town of Alexandria, Virginia is the setting with Denzel Washington playing the true story of African-American football coach Herman Boone.

Having been forced to integrate the T.C.Williams High School football side, Boone attempts to foster a stronger community via the lifeblood that is football.

Brian’s Song

A tearjerker on the way as the 1971 television movie Brian’s Song captures the life of Chicago Bears football star Brian Piccolo (James Caan) who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer after turning pro in 1965. The movie is told through his close friendship with teammate Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) – a friendship which seems unlikely due to their differing racial backgrounds and temperaments.

Following the duo through their budding friendship, the movie tugs blatantly at the heart strings with Piccolo’s death in 1970.

The Blind Side

Another heartwrencher, The Blind Side follows Michael Oher’s journey from poverty to adoption to one of the most sought-after college players and finally to becoming a draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens. Quinton Aaron stars as Oher as Sandra Bullock stars as Oher’s adopted mother Leigh Anne Tuohy – for which she would win an Oscar.

Friday Night Lights

The Texan city of Odessa is the setting as a high school football team attempts to bring together a disjointed and divided community. When the team’s star player James Miles is injured, however, it’s down to Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) to unite the team and community – he does so, making it all to the way state championship final.


We Are Marshall

An incredibly tragic event forms the background for this wonderful 2006 biopic. The 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people, including 37 football players at the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team weighs heavy on the viewers’ mind as Matthew McConaughey stars as Jack Lengyel, attempting to rebuild the side.