What makes a good football movie?

Around The Great American Rivalry Series offices we’ve been asking ourselves this question this past week. The one thing we keep hearing over and over again is that a great football movie makes you want to bust down the door and run out on the field and hit someone.

With this criteria in mind, Any Given Sunday (1999) is a better football movie than The Longest Yard (1974). Any Given Sunday follows a pattern similar to many football movies, a group of misfits have to come together and learn how to win as a team. They go through personal turmoil, have conflicts with each other, but at the end of the day they do come together and win the big game.

Within this formula, a pivotal moment in any football movie is the big speech. Practically all sports movies have this big speech somewhere. Any Given Sunday just happens to have one of the best.

Maybe it’s because it’s delivered by Al Pacino (knee-deep in the crazy, HOOAH phase of his acting career), or maybe it’s the script, but all I know is the speech delivered by Tony D’Amato is one of the greatest speeches in any sports movie.

The greatness of the speech really lies in its directness. It takes all the implications that usually exist in speeches and just comes out and says them. That football, like life, is a game of inches, that you have to be willing to die to win the game, that we have to come together as a team or we’ll lose.

All I know is after Pacino delivers that speech, I’m ready to go play for the Miami Sharks. And that’s why it should move on.