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Staff Picks: Our Favorite Football Flicks

Friday Night Lights
Universal

It's Super Bowl weekend, which means two things: You better get some Tums 'cause there's chili coming, and you better have a good football movie or two to hold you over until the Sunday evening gridiron action.

Why do doubt everyone else on the Interwebs (not to mention their mothers) has a very serious list of The Greatest Football Films Ever Made in All of History, we figured we'd best serve you with our personal favorites, as embarrassing as some of them may be.

Go Team!

Kevin Polowy, Executive Editor: 'Rudy' (1993)

Sean Astin in Rudy
SeanAstin.com

When I was in high school, the real Rudy Ruettiger came and delivered a motivational speech to the student body. Afterwards, I had him autograph a Styrofoam plate in the cafeteria. None of this has any bearing on why I love "Rudy," just FYI.

The real reason I love "Rudy" is not that it's the ultimate underdog tale, either. Or that it's funny, charming, and poignant, with a lovable lead performance from future-hobbit Sean Astin. Or even that it features fighting Irishmen yet is not about the IRA. The real reason I love "Rudy" is the realistic, attainable goal set out by its titular hero. He didn't want to be a starter, make the NFL, or win the Super Bowl. He just wanted to suit up for a game. The moral: Aim low, kids, and you can achieve anything.

Breanne L. Heldman, Senior Editor: 'Friday Night Lights' (2004)

Needless to say, I'm a HUGE fan of the television series, but the movie stands out as a touchdown for me as well. Billy Bob Thornton inspires me as well as his downtrodden team, and the amazing Connie Britton dazzles just as much as she does now on television. Bonus points for a young, gorgeous Garrett Hedlund appearance!

Brooke Tarnoff, Senior Editor: 'Air Bud: Golden Receiver' (1998)

Disney

I'm not much for football – I don't really understand the rules of the game and the word "pigskin" is unpleasantly reminiscent of pork rinds – so my experience with football movies is pretty limited. I get that "The Blind Side" is, like, a good movie, and I'm not saying I've never quoted "The Waterboy," but if I had to pick an all-time favorite, it would be "Air Bud: Golden Receiver."

I've never seen it, per se, but it's about a dog that plays football. The DVD cover suggests he does so in a purple jersey. How this film didn't win an Oscar, I'm sure I don't know. (Editor's Note: Like she said, she's not into football.)

Brandon Rae, Lead Producer: 'The Last Boy Scout' (1991)

Remember action flicks of the early '90s? An era where Seagal, Van Damme and Snipes ruled the silver screen. A happier and simpler time.

While not as much of a hardcore gridiron flick as "Air Bud: Golden Receiver," "The Last Boy Scout" does have some pretty epic football action. We get Damon Wayans as a washed-up football star, an LSD-induced running back gunning down would-be tacklers and an assassination attempt thwarted by a Hail Mary pass. Amazing!

I'm gonna go rock some push-ups.

Nar Williams, NextMovie Daily Co-Host/Writer: 'Any Given Sunday' (1999)

Oliver Stone's peak behind the curtain of professional football really pissed off the NFL (there's plenty of drugs, sex and crazy football wives) when it hit theaters in 1999. It was Jamie Foxx's breakout role and Stone's last truly great film. Al Pacino's locker room speech is legendary -- it has more heart, drama, and character in four minutes than most films have in two hours. Watch it, then go fight for those inches!

McKenna Maduli, NextMovie Daily Co-Host: 'Varsity Blues' (1999)

Varsity Blues
Paramount

Oh "Varsity Blues." Twas you who introduced me to Paul Walker and James Van Der Beek. Yeah yeah, the rest of the world knew but I was in high school on an island and fell in love.

Of course there's the great moral to the story... you know the whole, do what your heart wants you to do even though your dad is a football freak, didn't make it to the NFL and is now putting all his ish on you. Let's not forget, don't do drugs people or you'll end up with a bum knee in a hospital on championship night. Ahhh… it seems like just last week my #Bears had a chance at the Super Bowl. I digress. Thank you "Varsity Blues" for shedding light on the pressures of adolescence...with a hot cast.

Brigitte Dale, DVDiva: 'Jerry Maguire' (1996)

My favorite football movie is "Jerry Maguire," though my love of it has little to do with the football. It’s because of the scene where Jerry storms out of his office and takes the company fish with him. And remember when that cheesy "Jerry Maguire" version of Springsteen’s song “Secret Garden” was all over the radio? The one where they played snippets of the dialogue all mixed up with the lyrics? You just have to love a movie that’s responsible for bringing phrases like "Show me the money" and "You had me at hello" into the world.

Justin Sedgwick, Power Intern: 'Little Giants' (1994)

I wasn't the most talented athlete in my elementary school years (OK, I sucked at sports, so what?). But what made my fragile athletic physique so difficult to bear was that the opposite side of my family was physically-gifted and excessively-talented in literally EVERY. SPORT. EVER.

Which is why "The Little Giants" resonated with me so much. It’s got everything: misfit child underdogs vs. Steroid-ridden overachievers, the puny Rick Moranis vs. the golem Ed O'Neill, not to mention completely random cameos from NFL greats Tim Brown, Emmitt Smith, and John Madden. All that considered you've got yourself a "Fumblerooski" of a football film. (Editor's Note: Because Justin works for college credit, he cannot be docked pay for his selection.)

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