Let's start with the rest of the best:
Rudy - This is a no brainer. When you think football movies...you think Rudy. Long before Sean Astin was Sam...he was Rudy and we loved him. I question the sanity of anyone who says that they didn't like this movie. Sure after you have seen it a couple of times you tend to find it more cheesy than inspirational...but the fact is that you know you loved it the first time you saw it. The fact that it is based on a true story just makes it better.
The Longest Yard - I am talking about the first one...the 1974 version. The reason that I like this movie is because it manages to make you feel like you are rooting for the good guys even though the good guys are in prison. Burt Reynolds was pretty cool before he turned into the press slapping weirdo that most of my generation knows him as.
Jerry Maguire - This movie barely makes the cut...as it wasn't a football movie. It is a great movie that has football in it. I think that there is only about ten minutes total pigskin action throughout the entire film...but it is still awesome. Cuba Gooding JR has never given a finer performance than he did as Rob Tidwell...and I doubt that he ever will. Even if you are a total football bonehead, you had to love the scene where he wakes up from after taking a tough hit and flips out to the crowd. It still makes me tear up, even though I have scene the movie more times that should be allowed. (I kid you not...I could probably recite the entire movie if needed.)
We Are Marshall - Another movie that is based off a real story...We Are Marshall is another triumph over misery film that you can't help but get caught up in.
Brian's Song - Again I am talking about the original movie. The new one sucked and I hope whoever signed off on it was fired. Anyway...this is another movie that still moves me to tears as it celebrates a friendship forged on the field that carries into real life. I have seen many a big bad football jock moved to tears over this movie...though I won't mention any names. I think it is because anyone who has played football knows that the type of friendship it forms for teammates and therefore can imagine supporting teammate/friend through the good times and the bad.
Honorable Mention: Invincible as it was a good film but I just couldn't buy off on Marky Mark in the lead role.
And here is my list of the rest of the worst football movies:
The Longest Yard - This time I am talking about the Adam Sandler version. When did Adam become such a movie whore that he no longer cared about making a decent flick? Sure he was never a really that respectable of an actor...but at least in this Happy Gilmore days he made us laugh. I actually walked out on this movie.
The Gridiron Gang - The Rock is one bad ass dude. I know that he is trying to show a sensitive side but it just doesn't work. This movie tried too hard to win over the audience and ended up annoying almost everyone who saw it. What can I say...he is the victim of typecasting.
The Waterboy - Adam Sandler makes his second appearance on the terrible football movie list and it is because Adam Sandler is not a football player. He might have been able to be the kicker but let's face it...he was not made for the field. He would have been torn up by even the most mediocre high school defense. I know that there were a lot of people out there who liked this movie and I just don't get it. Name one funny scene...just one and I'll back off.
Any Given Sunday - Was there a point to this movie? If so...I missed it. I will admit that the football scenes were decent but the storyline was underdeveloped and Cameron Diaz gave her worst performance with the exception of The Sweetest Thing. There is only one good thing that came out of this movie and that is the quote "On any given Sunday you're gonna win or you're lose. The point is - can you win or lose like a man?" This is an awesome quote...but not enough to get it off the worst list.
The Program - I know that college football has it's share of problems but if one team is having all of the ones exploited in this movie...the problem is the school and not the sport. Fire the athletic director, the entire coaching staff and kick out the trouble makers and start fresh. Problem solved.
Honorable Mention: The Game Plan - The only reason that this movie didn't make the actual worst list is because it is a kid's movie and that by definition means that it will not kick ass. Nevertheless...I think that everyone who was ever played football, watched football, or in any way felt any affection to the sport died a little when this movie was made. The fact that I have even seen it is a testament to the level of pop geek that I am.