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Overtime: ‘The Blind Side’ and Other Egregious Oversights

While composing my previous Spasm, little did I know how many hypothetical responses I’d receive about overlooking this or that particular beloved football film, but my not mentioning The Blind Side seemed too egregious an oversight for some. I was challenged on this title more than any other.

It’s an obvious omission in hindsight. In defense, I had considered it early on because clearly it’s a “football” movie, and Sandra Bullock’s Best Actress Oscar win is well deserved, but for me The Blind Side has always been one of those “football” movies that aren’t really about football—not in the same way that Any Given Sunday or Friday Night Lights put us on the field and inside the huddles.

I confess I’m a tough cookie with it comes to tearjerkers, and don’t like people seeing me cry, so it’s likely because I blubbered my eyes out at the end of The Blind Side that I clicked “delete” on my unfinished paragraph at the eleventh hour. Better not to confess to bawling like a baby.

Upon reflection, there are other obvious movies that warrant mention.

Some of my favorite “football” movies use the game as a metaphor for life but aren’t really about football.

Jerry Maguire is one of them. It is often cited among the best “football” movies because its characters exist in the world of the NFL, but I removed it from my list because the plot’s dual romantic/bromantic crux feels even less about the game than, say, Heaven Can Wait or The Last Boy Scout.

The James Caan/Billy Dee Williams buddy flick-slash-tearjerker Brian’s Song pops up on many sentimental football favorites lists, but jerked tears or not, I disqualified it because it was produced for television.

Then there’s The Waterboy. I confess, Adam Sandler just doesn’t work on me.

Knute Rockne All-American is perhaps the greatest “classic” on this list that I’ve never seen.

Maybe it’s fear of the tear-jerker, or that the script’s most crucial passage of dialogue has been spoofed and pre-spoiled in Airplane! and that I’ll snicker when I ought to sob. Or, perhaps, it’s an aversion to anything Ronald Reagan ever appeared in when he was merely a stock actor.

I’m looking at you, too, Bedtime for Bonzo.

Which, to clarify, I realize isn’t a football or “football” movie.


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