The 10 Best Football Movies To Get You Ready for Thanksgiving Weekend

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There is nothing more American than Thanksgiving, except for maybe football.

Thankfully, Thanksgiving and football go hand in hand.

And even though we can all agree that football is great, the game can cause a lot of animosity around the holidays.

If your family can’t get through the annual Lions or Cowboys game without a shouting match, maybe it’s time to watch a football movie instead?

Sit back, relax, let that turkey and stuffing food coma settle in, and enjoy the 10 best football movies to watch on Thanksgiving.

Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans is an inspirational story based on actual events. It is based in Virginia during the 70s when an all-white high school integrates with a local all-black school. When the head coach (Will Patton) at the white school is demoted to assistant coach to the black coach (Denzel Washington), racial tensions are truly put to the test.

All in all, this is your typical football-themed motivational movie about courage and the ability of sports to bring people together and overcome anything.

Every football fan in the room has probably seen this movie, but the story never gets old.

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The Blind Side

The Blind Side imparts the same southern football overcoming-it-all inspirational theme, but without confronting the racial issues head-on.

Focusing on inspiring individuals as it follows the life of a poor homeless boy, Oher (Quinton Aaron), who is taken in by a well to do family. Through hard work and unabated assistance from his new mother (Sandra Bullock), he turns his life around and eventually goes on to become one of the most sought after football players in the draft. As with any good football movie, it is based on a true story.

As the highest-grossing football movie of all time, with an Oscar for Best Actress and a nomination for Best Picture, how can you go wrong!

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The Express

Have you ever heard of Ernie Davis? Every Syracuse University Alumni has, and after watching this movie, you’ll understand why. 

The Express is a must-see for the whole family – even those who aren’t into sports. The movie follows Davis’s (Rob Brown) short life from childhood through his recruitment to Syracuse during the 1950s. The way Davis handled everyday racial challenges, and the impression he made on others, especially his coach (Dennis Quaid), is truly inspiring.

Spoiler Alert: Ernie Davis was the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy as well as the first African American to be chosen at #1 in the draft.

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Jerry Maguire

It’s Jerry Maguire! Not much to say here, except we love the bromance and romance between stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger. You’ll still be quoting this movie a few days or years after watching it.

“Show me the money!”

“You had me at hello.”

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The Water Boy

What would an inspirational football movie list be without an Adam Sandler movie – or two?

There’s no denying this is a classic Adam Sandler film. We wish he would go back to making movies like these.

Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) plays an uneducated goofball, who serves as the waterboy for the school’s dysfunctional football team, suddenly discovers that he can play football.

His Mom (Kathy Bates) and football coach (Henry Winkler) are key players in making this movie a timeless comedy. 

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The Longest Yard

As promised, another Adam Sandler movie.

In The Longest Yard, a former famous professional quarterback (Adam Sandler), who’s been repeatedly in trouble with the law, now finds himself in jail. He puts together a team of inmates to play football against the prison guards, and as you can imagine, hijinks ensue.

This comedy is a remake that doesn’t take itself too seriously and pays tribute to the Burt Reynolds original from 1947.

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Little Giants

This one is for the kids!

It makes sense to start with this one, the food coma will soon hit them, and then you can get to the adult films. 

Little Giants is a 1994 classic comedic story of the misfits vs. the elites, but a peewee version. To make it even better, the coaches (Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neill) are brothers who don’t get along. The real football fans will recognize guest appearances by a few NFL greats.

Watch it on Amazon

Knute Rockne, All American

Knute Rockne, All American, is a classic that tells the legendary story of Notre Dame’s football coach Knute Rockne (Pat O’ Brien).

So, you’ve never had the chance to witness the acting chops of our 40th President? Well, here it is. This was probably Ronald Regan’s most famous role ever, where he recites one of the most famous lines ever: “Win one for the Gipper!”

This is a sentimental favorite that’s worth watching just to say you did.

Watch it on Amazon

The Replacements

What happens when a football team goes on strike?

Yep, you guessed it. They get replaced.

The Replacements includes a receiver who can’t catch the ball; a Welsh soccer player whos always got a cigarette in his mouth; a very angry ex-cop; a sumo wrestler; and a convict on parole. What could go wrong?

This comedy features some of the greats (Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Brooke Langton) and you won’t want to miss it.

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Rudy is the epitome of inspirational football movies. If you only watch one movie on the list with your family, it has to be this one.

This movie is based on a true story of a young man who overcomes his physical insecurities to play football for Notre Dame. Rudy (Sean Astin) and his tutor D-Bob (Jon Favreau) are incredible in this timeless underdog film.

This movie will have even the most macho, burly sports lovers all weepy on the couch.

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Thanksgiving is a holiday where the entire family indulges together. Now you have a list of movies you can lounge on the couch, let the turkey fully soak in and enjoy with each other.

If you aren’t into football movies, at least you are guaranteed a good two-hour nap!


Christine Devereaux Evangelista

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