20 Football Movies to Love Year-Round

20 Football Movies to Love Year-Round

Football movies will always hold a special place in the heart of a football fan. They help satisfy that football craving we all get in the middle of the week when players are resting, but even more so when the offseason rolls around and we’re forced to go months without the sport we love. 

Let’s be honest, the only thing better than watching your favorite team on football Sunday with an abundance of pizza and wings is watching your favorite football movie in a dimmed room with an abundance of popcorn – or better yet, a full-day marathon of your favorite football movies.

Whether you have two hours to kill or an entire day to kill, we highly suggest taking some time for yourself, sitting back, kicking your feet up, and glueing yourself to one of the many amazing football movies available today. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a long (or short) day!

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What Are the Best Football Movies? 

20 Football Movies to Love Year-Round
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The best football movies are those that are inspiring, motivating, authentic, and intense. They have the best cinematography, the best dialogue, the best gameplay, the best storyline, and the best actors or actresses. They draw you in with football, but keep you interested with drama.

Some football movies are based on a true story, some are considered documentaries, and some are completely made-up. Some football movies are supposed to be funny, some are supposed to be serious, and some football movies are supposed to be a combination of the two.  

Either way, there are certain football movies that we remember more than others. They’re the ones we find ourselves watching over and over again, even though we can recite every line. Without further ado, let’s take a look at our favorite, most memorable football movies of all-time.

20. Gridiron Gang (2006)

Gridiron Gang is a sports drama starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Xzibit. It was directed by Phil Joanou and released in 2006. It follows the true story of the Kilpatrick Mustangs, a football team that represented Camp Kilpatrick – a juvenile detention camp in Santa Monica.

Looking for a way to help the juveniles, Sean Porter (played by The Rock) creates a football team. Although conflict arises early and often with the team, they eventually learn to play together and start winning. If you’re looking for a feel-good football drama, this is a good one. 

19. Concussion (2015)

Concussion is a biographical sports drama directed by Peter Landesman and released in 2015. It follows the groundbreaking research of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the scientist responsible for detecting signs and symptoms of CTE brain degeneration in deceased ex-football players. 

Despite his findings, the NFL rejects and dismisses the idea. This leads to a long fight between Omalu (played by Will Smith) and the NFL. Eventually, the NFL opens up to the idea and begins an ongoing effort to protect the long-term health of players. If you like sports science, watch it!

18. Undefeated (2011)

Undefeated is a sports documentary that was released in 2011. Directed by Dianiel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, the documentary follows the hardships and difficult times of the Manassas Tigers – a high school football team from Memphis, Tennessee. They recorded 500+ hours of footage. 

After years of suffering losing seasons, the Tigers are determined to turn things around with head coach Bill Courtney. He not only turns the team into a winning team on the field, but also in the classroom. If you love a good documentary, this one will certainly satisfy your unique taste. 

17. The Express: The Ernie Davis Story (2008)

Produced by John Davis and directed by Gary Fleder, The Express was released in 2008 and follows the story of Ernie Davis – the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. He did so with Syracuse University in 1961 and was selected first overall in the 1962 NFL Draft. 

Throughout the movie, you get a taste of the racism and discrimination Davis (along with other black athletes) faced. If you don’t know who Ernie Davis is or want to relive his legacy, this film will teach you everything you need to know. It was also Chadwick Boseman’s film debut.

16. Any Given Sunday (1999)

Any Given Sunday is a star-studded sports film directed by Oliver Stone and released in 1999. It follows a fictitious pro football team (Miami Sharks) that play in the Associated Football Franchises of America (AFFA) and are looking to regain relevance after years of struggling. 

The cast features Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J, James Woods, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Johnny Unitas, Terrell Owens, and Emmitt Smith. If you like a big-name cast and plenty of athlete cameos, then this is the right sports film for you. 

15. Brian’s Song (1971)

Brian’s Song is a highly coveted sports biography directed by Buzz Kulik and released in 1971. It recounts the unexpected, yet amazing friendship shared between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo – the first interracial roommates in NFL history. It’s a film that will make any man cry.

Sayers and Piccolo weren’t forced to become friends, but it didn’t take long for their friendship to grow. That friendship was cut short with the passing of Brian Piccolo after years of struggling with terminal cancer. The film recounts the stories in Sayers’ 1970 autobiography, I Am Third

14. Draft Day (2014)

Draft Day is a sports drama directed by Ivan Reitman and released in 2014. It stars Kevin Costner as the GM of the Cleveland Browns. After landing himself on the hot seat with a questionable trade, Costner makes a series of moves that save his reputation with the team.

As a fan, there’s nothing we love more than watching behind-the-scenes footage of what the front office is doing. Although Draft Day is a fictional story, it does a great job of showing what the draft process is like and all the smoke and mirrors general managers have to deal with. 

13. North Dallas Forty (1979)

Instead of giving an inside look at the life of a GM, North Dallas Forty gives an inside look at the life of a football player – in the 1970s, at least. The film was directed by Ted Kotcheff, produced by Frank Yablans, and released in 1979. It stars Nick Nolt, G. D. Spradlin, and Mac Davis.

The movie follows an aging wide receiver, Phil Elliott, and quarterback, Seth Maxwell, who find themselves mesmerized by the party lifestyle of the ‘70s. Although they both get caught doing sketchy things, Elliott’s the only one that gets punished and he eventually quits the game. 

12. The Blind Side (2009)

The Blind Side is an extremely popular film directed by John Lee Hancock and released in 2009. It’s based on a true story and is modeled after The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis – a book released in 2006. It stars Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, and Quinton Aaron. 

It tells the story of Michael Oher, a homeless student that’s eventually adopted to a well-off family. He overcomes a life full of struggle to play in the NFL thanks in large part to the support of his new family. This movie makes you laugh, cry, cheer, worry, and everything in-between. 

11. Invincible (2006)

Invincible is a feel-good sports film directed by Ericson Core and released in 2006. It’s based on a true story and follows the unexpected rise of Vince Papale from part-time bartender to NFL player. It’s a story that proves anything is possible, so long as you’re willing to fight for it. 

With new head coach Dick Vermeil looking to turn the Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise around, Papale eyes an opportunity at an NFL roster spot after joining training camp on an open tryout. He ends up making the team and enjoys a three-year career with the Eagles before retiring.

10. Little Giants (1994)

Little Giants is a family sports comedy classic directed by Duwayne Dunham and released in 1994. It stars Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neill, who play two brothers that coach rival pee-wee football teams in Urbania, Ohio. This movie will definitely have you laughing your buttocks off. 

Moranis and O’Neill lived two completely different lives. While Moranis owns a gas station, O’Neill was once a Heisman Trophy winner and now owns a Chevy dealership. The two go head-to-head when their pee-wee teams face off in an epic, hilarious football showdown. 

9. The Waterboy (1998)

The Waterboy is another classic sports comedy that will leave you in tears – the good kind. Directed by Frank Coraci and released in 1998, this movie stars Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, and many of the cast members that make Adam Sandler movies so perfect in every way. 

Originally the waterboy for the University of Louisville football team, Bobby Boucher (played by Sandler) eventually joins the team and helps bring them to relevance. His quirky ways and the hilarious one-liners from start to finish will have you dying of laughter – so be fully prepared!

8. The Replacements (2000)

The Replacements is a sports comedy directed by Howard Deutch, produced by Dylan Sellers, and released in 2000. It stars Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman and is based on the 1987 NFL strike that saw the Washington Redskins win three straight games with replacement players. 

The film loosely follows that team and how they overcame the odds in an anything-but-usual 1987 season. The Redskins went on to win the Super Bowl that season, capping off an improbable year. If you want to see Reeves play a quarterback, this is the movie for you.

7. Radio (2003)

Radio is a semi-biographical sports drama loosely based on the story of Harold Jones, head coach of T.L. Hanna High School football team, and James Robert Kennedy, a mentally handicapped 23-year-old. The film was directed by Michael Tollin and released in 2003

Jones befriends Kennedy and allows him to assist with the football team, acting as a mascot and motivation before games. With that said, not everyone treats Radio with respect and Jones has to come to his savior several times. It’s a beautiful story and is depicted perfectly. 

6. We Are Marshall (2006)

We Are Marshall is a biographical sports drama directed by McG, produced by Basil Iwanyk, and released in 2006. It stars Matthew McConaughey and Matthew Fox as head coach and assistant coach of the Marshall University Thundering Herd. It’s a true masterpiece of a film.

The movie follows the aftermath of the plane crash that killed 37 players – among other members – on the Marshall football team in 1970. Under the leadership of new head coach Jack Lengyel, the team bounces back and competes in the 1971 season despite early resistance. 

5. The Longest Yard (1974 & 2005)

The Longest Yard is a sports comedy originally directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Burt Reynolds in 1974. A popular remake was directed by Peter Segal and starred Adam Sandler in 2005. Both films were successful in their own right, though they followed the same story. 

In both films, a former NFL quarterback finds himself in prison for 18 months. While in prison, he assembles a football team that eventually plays against the prison’s guards. In an unexpected turn of events, the prisoners win the game and the guards are left stunned and embarrassed. 

4. Remember the Titans (2000)

2000 was a good year for football movies because it not only produced The Replacements, but also Remember the Titans – a biographical sports film directed by Boaz Yakin and starring Denzel Washington. If you love a feel-good football movie, don’t underestimate this classic. 

The film follows Herman Boone, the new head coach of T. C. Williams High School, as he tries to integrate the black and white players. Racial tensions run high and the team faces a number of conflicts early on, but the team ultimately prevails and they learn to work together as one. 

3. Friday Night Lights (2004)

Friday Night Lights is a very popular sports classic directed by Peter Berg, modeled after a 1990 book by H.G. Bissinger, and released in 2004. It was so popular that it was turned into a five-season, 76-episode television series that drew even more attention than the book or movie. 

The film follows the 1988 Permian High School football team of Odessa, Texas in their quest for a state championship. Despite drama and conflict on every corner, the team makes it to the championship game only to lose in the final seconds of a truly heartbreaking game for Permian.

2. Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire is a sports comedy-drama starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. as the eccentric wide receiver-agent duo. The film was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, produced by James L. Brooks, and released in 1996. It’s a classic, to say the least. 

Star receiver Rod Tidwell is due for a new contract and expects his agent, Jerry Maguire, to deliver at least $10 million. The relationship between the two is filled with ups and downs, but Tidwell’s play and Maguire’s finesse help secure him an $11.2 million contract in Arizona. 

1. Rudy (1993)

Speaking of true classics, Rudy is one of the most well-known and beloved football movies of all-time. It’s a biographical football film directed by David Anspaugh and released in 1993. It follows the story of Daniel Ruettiger and his dream of one day playing for Notre Dame. 

After several years of being rejected by Notre Dame, he eventually gets admitted and earns a spot on the practice squad. He finally gets a chance to play in the final game of his senior year. He played one snap, the final snap of the game, and sacked the quarterback as time expired. 

Don’t Forget About the Best Football TV Shows!

The 20 football movies we highlighted above are all worth watching at least once, but true football fans will watch them on repeat until they can recite the movie line by line. Whether you played football growing up or not, these football movies are bound to put you in the mood. 

With that said, we can’t forget about all the great football TV shows for those days when you need something to binge. Some of the most popular shows of all-time include Friday Night Lights, Blue Mountain State, Ballers, All or Nothing, The League, Coach, and The Game

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Whether you like to watch a two-hour football movie or indulge yourself in a multi-season long football TV show, football fans have plenty of options to satisfy those football cravings when the live game isn’t on. Don’t worry, these movies and TV shows aren’t going anywhere!

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