The NCAA Basketball tournament is one of the biggest sporting events of the year. The excitement of the upsets, the tension of last-second shots, and pageantry of the student-athletes provide what is only known as “The Madness.” Even though the tournament is over, here at Last Word on College Football we have just begun. Movies and football are synonymous with one another. The passion of the audience, the emotion that comes with every scene or snap, or the captivation of what will happen next are all situations that can describe a motion picture as well as a football game. Please join us as we marry all of these together and present the first-ever LWOCFB Football Movie Tournament.
Admittedly, it was tough to come up with a scalable tournament format to rival the real tournament. So, we scoured the earth for the best football movies in the world. There were 42 movies that we felt confident in to compete at a high level to be placed in this tournament. Today, we’ll walk through the 10 first-round matchups and trim this tournament to the round of 32.
(32) Everybody’s All-American vs (33) Gridiron Gang
Much like an 8 seed vs a 9 seed in the basketball tournament, this would not be an upset either way. Everybody’s All-American was given an aggregate rating of 6.2 out of 10 for this movie. It also has a solid cast of Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange, and John Goodman that depict the struggle after Quaid’s college days. Gridiron Gang is just slightly better at 6.9 out of 10. The cast is headlined by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Even though the theme of a strong male role model getting kids to focus on sports instead of the street is played out, the message is inspiring. That inspiration carried Gridiron Gang to 55% of the votes in a first-round win.
Winner: Gridiron Gang
(24) Radio vs (41) The Longshots
Matchups, matchups, matchups. Many times in tournament play, it’s all about the matchup. This contest felt like an underseeded team that was hungry heading into the tournament against a team that was just happy to be there. The Longshots truly lived up to their name in this one as they garnered just 8% of the overall vote in the most lopsided matchup of the opening round.
(25) Little Giants vs (40) School Ties
This was the case of another matchup that was over before it started. Rick Moranis guiding his troop of lovable losers to victory over the Cowboys is a modern day miracle. But, Ed O’Neil in the supporting actor role in this film trying his best to be the antagonist is pure gold. With an 84% overall vote, the Giants are on top once again.
Winner: Little Giants
(29) The Program vs (36) The Wildcats
The selection committee might have got this one wrong. This is an incredibly tough matchup to see in the first round. Be that as it may, one movie still gets to dance while the other has to go home early. Even though the Program hit the movie screens in the early 1990’s the message is still prevalent in college football today. This movie hits home with the pressures of balancing academics and athletics, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as on-field success. This story narrowly edges Goldie Hawn and the Wildcats 65-35.
Winner: The Program
(28) All the Right Moves vs (37) The Game Plan
These two movies take place two decades from each other. But, they both pit charismatic lead actors against each other. Tom Cruise vs Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Many times in both the cinema and athletics critics will remember the most recent event more than one that happened 30 years ago. However, that is not the case here as Cruise and All the Right Moves lives up to its name in a 60-40 victory.
Winner: All the Right Moves
(31) Heaven Can Wait vs (34) Silver Linings Playbook
Both of these films were among the last to make the tournament. Understandably, these were also a stretch to include as football films. But, Warren Beaty takes the lead in Heaven can wait as a backup quarterback who is about to play in the Super Bowl. However, he has been plucked prematurely by a guardian angel. This storyline proves to be the winner in this 57-43 triumph.
Winner: Heaven Can Wait
(23) Necessary Roughness vs (42) Facing the Giants
This wasn’t a fair fight. How could Facing the Giants compete? Necessary Roughness is deliciously hilarious. Now, what could possibly go wrong with a 34-year old freshman starting quarterback, zero scholarship players, a female kicker, and an armadillo as a mascot? The Giants get roughed up in this one 78%-22%.
Winner: Necessary Roughness
(26) Lucas vs (39) Big Fan
What do the names Corey Haim, Winona Ryder, and Charlie Sheen all have in common? No, they weren’t all in rehab together. Well, at least not all at the same time. They were all a collection of the cast for the film, Lucas. That star cast carries a first-round victory over Big Fan, 81% – 19%.
(30) When the Game Stands Tall vs (35) Semi-Tough
Sometimes, the biggest blowouts come from two closely seeded teams. This happened here as the 30th seeded When the Game Stands Tall dominated 35th seeded Semi-Tough in route to a 76% to 24% victory. This one tugs at your heart, as When the Game Stands Tall shows that kids still care about doing the right thing, remembering who got you there, even at the cost of losing records.
Winner: When the Game Stands Tall
(27) Leatherheads vs (38) The Best of Times
The higher seed has won every matchup of the first round. That’s about to change now as The Best of Times defeated Leatherheads by a score of 59% to 41%. Robin Williams and his obsession with re-writing the past brings forth the “The Best of Upsets” in the first round.