NFL Break: These movies and series should be on every football fan’s watch list
By Marco Schimpfhauser
Germany – On Sunday, the whole world is waiting for the National Football League’s all-star match: “NFL Pro Bowl”. Okay, let’s be honest: no one’s waiting for that.
An all-star match with playoff losers is not exactly high on football fans’ checklists.
The grand finale, the Super Bowl, will not take place until next weekend.
In case of doubt, you face a big problem if you are a fan of the oval leather, which gave the sport its name because of its length of about “one foot”.
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One way to get better through this cold turkey is of course the classic for anyone with a PC or console: Madden Football. Just to pay tribute to the cult coach and football teacher John Madden († 85), who died a few weeks ago.
But if you still have enough residual adrenaline in your blood after the last playoff days, you should probably rely on (relaxing) exciting movie and series entertainment.
But since one does not necessarily want to see “Blind Side” or “The Game Without Rules” for the 362nd time, there is of course a need for alternatives.
And because Dad’s three favorite stripes from that time, “American feral cats“,”The fighting machine“(By the way, the original of” Play without rules “) and “Armadillo bears“, has fallen too late, we have a few tips for you.
Varsity Blues (1999)
Although the trailer aimed at the MTV generation gives the impression that this would be a comedy, you quickly realize that this is a false impression.
It’s about a typical small town where football is a religion. And that’s exactly how she is treated – even when it comes to offers.
The Coyotes coach is definitely not interested in the future or health of his players. The next title counts for him.
Although wild parties, sexy teenagers and undressing teachers loosen up the story of age: “Varsity Blues” is at its core a drama in which teenagers’ hopes and dreams become a lever against themselves.
Blue Mountain State (2010, 3 seasons)
Anyone who has seen the series will already have a knowing laugh on their lips.
The over-the-top comedy production “Blue Mountain State” shows teens how they do not want to see their parents. Exactly how her parents would have liked to have behaved themselves.
It’s about the university’s backup quarterback Alex Moran, who is on the football team for only one reason: to have easy access to women, drugs and alcohol.
It’s just silly that the first quarterback gets fired by the team because he was caught with a prostitute.
Now Moran has to manage the balance between university parties and leadership personality.
If you’re wondering now, “Hmm. Can I calmly watch this series with my little kids?”, Just look at the intro. Spoilers: no.
Every Damn Sunday (1999)
There is no football movie list without director Oliver Stone’s classic war movies (“Platoon”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Snowden”).
Except that “Every Damn Sunday” focuses on the football industry as a battlefield.
An aging football coach and his new star quarterback have different views on how the sport works. And the owner of the team would like to see the cash registers ring.
Cast alone stands for quality: Al Pacino (“Scarface”, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”), Cameron Diaz (“Mad About Mary”, “Bad Teachers”), Dennis Quaid (“The Journey into Me”), James Woods (“Once Upon a Time in America”), Jamie Foxx (“Spider-Man: No Way Home”) and LL Cool J (“Navy CIS: LA”) star in the drama.
A serious look at an industry where the product itself – the sport – is relegated to the sidelines.
Heroes from the Second Line (2000)
Virtually the whole world loves Keanu Reeves (“John Wick”) – despite 2003’s “Matrix Revolutions”.
He, too, has already put the pillows on for the camera, and the result was a comedy that literally calls for Hollywood sets.
The stars of a football team are on strike, but the owner wants to end the season with former players and career changers recruited as soon as possible.
Crazy bunch, friction, lovable hero, beautiful neighbor girl, underdog, important game, victory, hurray.
After three minutes, you already know how the movie continues and ends. But: it’s still a pleasure to see the coated characters do it.
“Secondary Heroes” is on every football fan’s “guilty pleasure” list.
Last Chance U (since 2016, 5 seasons)
Everyone deserves another chance. The Netflix series “Last Chance U” accompanies college teams, where some of the players get more than just a new chance.
This is their last chance for many. Players who have strayed into drug and violent crime or lost their school place for other reasons.
The dormitories in this documentary series fish the young talents out of the bins at the shiny schools and give them what they often did not have at home: structure, help, rules.
And just the last chance to reach a university after all. Or even the NFL. And previously playing there already.
All or nothing (since 2016, 5 seasons)
Let’s stay with documentary series, but go to the top: “All or Nothing”.
This Prime Video documentary gives you the insight you want as a fan.
Especially if you’re a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles or Los Angeles Rams. One season is dedicated to each of these teams.
The camera team visits players and coaches at home, for training, for meetings, during negotiations and of course for the matches.
One can not sit closer to the stars in the video analysis of the last game.
And for those who do not just love American football: there are also offshoots of this format for the New Zealand rugby national team, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus.
Friday Night Lights (2004)
Before the series of the same name came one of the best drama films in this genre: “Friday Night Lights”.
It mainly deals with the psychological stress that teenagers face – inspired by true events.
From the boy who can not live up to his father’s demands, to the orphan whose dream of ever being able to give his foster father a house is shattered like his knee.
A coach, played by Billy Bob Thornton (“Armageddon”, “Bad Santa”), who can basically offer a lot of heart, but too few options outside of his function.
And at the end of the year, he has no choice but to remove the names of his protégés from his roster to start over with new talent.
This movie should be at the top of every football fan’s watch list.
Harrowing Truth (2015)
Today, when an NFL player gets a hard blow to the head, they immediately get a head exam. That was not always the case.
“Harrowing Truth” follows the story of “Iron Mike” Webster. He won the Super Bowl four times with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But after the career, the former center had to endure a lot.
difficulty concentrating and speaking, temporary memory loss, partial hearing loss, permanent shaking of head and hands.
It was the aftermath of the many untreated concussions throughout his career.
The drama tells the time after the sports hero’s death. Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, who would like to inform about the dangers of head injuries – but falls for deaf ears in the league.
We Are: The Brooklyn Saints (2021, One Season)
“We are not just teaching these kids football, we are raising them.”
In the four-part Netflix documentary series We Are: The Brooklyn Saints, which was released a week ago, Emmy Award winner Rudy Valdez tells the story of a football project for children from New York’s infamous East: Brooklyn.
Similar to “Last Chance U”, the children are followed by cameras on and off the field.
Among other things, Netflix describes the series with the words: “The documentary shows directly and authentically the pressure the boys are under to grow up as quickly as possible to create a better future for themselves.”
The children are followed through all the ups and downs of a season – both on the field and in private life.
Of course, this list is not complete, no doubt about it. Nor does she pretend to be the ultimate guide. But it will make it a lot easier to survive the cold football cancellation until next week’s “Super Sunday”.
Cover image: Netflix