There is always much debate over what is the greatest football movie of all time, and rarely do people reach a consensus. Therefore, with the start of March Madness, we decided to find out once and for all which football-based movie or TV show would be crowned the greatest of all time by our readers.
To get to our answer, we have pulled together a list of 64 of the top football-based films and TV shows. We then separated them into four sections based on when they were released and seeded them according to their rating on IMDB.
Below is the full list of 64 football movies and TV shows in the running to be crowned the “Best of All Time.” To vote or to tell us which of your favorite films you think we have missed, head over to our Twitter page.
Football Movies and TV Shows March Madness Bracket
Section 1 | 1925-1984
1) The Freshman
A college freshman joins his school’s football team in an attempt to become popular.
2) Horse Feathers
The new Huxley University president is facing pressure to improve the school’s football team. A recruitment mix-up leads to the usual Marx Brothers shenanigans.
3) Brian’s Song
Charting the true story of 1960’s NFL teammates Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo. In an age of rampant segregation and white supremacy, their enduring friendship helped define how the better angels of humanity can conquer society’s demons and is a testament to the power of sports to transcend societal strife.
4) One Minute to Play
A star high school football player changes his mind about colleges, rejecting Claxton College for the much weaker Paramlee team.
5) The Quarterback
A quarterback for the 1899 Colton College football team vows to remain a student until Colton beats its biggest rival: State University. Twenty-seven years later, he gets the chance to play with his son, who’s now Colton’s quarterback.
6) The Longest Yard (1974)
Convicts vs. prison guards on the gridiron, with the prisoners led by a former football star who rejects his warden’s blackmail attempts to throw the game.
7) Heaven Can Wait
After an overanxious angle plucks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton from his body, he tries everything to make his way back onto the field.
8) North Dallas Forty
A satire of American professional football in which a receiver rebels against disciplinarian coaches.
9) Good News
A college football hero fails an astronomy exam, putting a wrench in his dreams of scoring the winning touchdown in the school’s biggest game.
10) Trouble Along the Way
A catholic college hires an ex-football coach in the hope he can turn their football team into a winner that will save the school from bankruptcy.
11) 1st and Ten (TV Series)
After a messy divorce, Diane Barrow must learn how to run a professional football franchise, having become the owner as a part of the divorce settlement.
12) Paper Lion
A vivid account of writer George Plimpton’s month-long excursion in training camp as an honorary member of the Detroit Lions.
The story of a woman who achieves her dream of becoming a football coach and must work to earn the trust and commitment of her players, many of whom face socioeconomic challenges.
14) All the Right Moves
A high school football star is trying to escape his economically-depressed hometown. An athletic scholarship is his ticket. His life hits a crossroads when he’s kicked off his team and denied the opportunity to play for a college.
15) The Galloping Ghost
Football star Harold “Red” Grange and his friend Buddy are targets for the gamblers. It’s a test of wills and smarts between the athletes and the gamblers intent on fixing college football games.
With the Super Bowl on the line, a gambling syndicate attempts to sabotage the team’s chances, resulting in the murder of their trainer. Can the team manager figure out who the killer is in time?
Section 2 | 1986-2000
1) Gridiron Gang (1992)
Showcasing convicted killers, all under the age of 18, learning what it takes to play as a team on the gridiron
2) Remember the Titans
A famed high school football team on the outskirts of Washington, DC, is ordered to desegregate in 1971, thus putting the players, head coach, personnel, school, and community to the test.
The story of a boy who lacks the financial means and grades to play football at the University of Notre Dame but never gives up on his dream.
4) Jerry Maguire
A sports agent’s sudden crisis of conscience begins a transformation from slick industry operative to player-centric advocate, testing his relationships — both personal and professional.
5) Coach (TV Series)
The story of a college football coach, his staff, his family, and how it all impacts a man who sees the world through the lens of football.
A love quadrangle that centers on a high school football star, a girl who loves him, the awkward boy who loves the girl, and the awkward girl who loves the awkward boy. The stories hit a crescendo when the awkward boy joins the football team.
7) Ace Ventura
When the Miami Dolphins’ mascot is stolen before the Super Bowl, Ace Ventura must try to figure out who took him and get him back before the big game.
8) Any Given Sunday
A once-famed football program is on the descent. So is its head coach, aging quarterback, and other aging former stars, who must figure out how to stem this slide and restore their former glory.
9) The Replacements
A loose portrayal of the 1987 NFL strike, featuring the fictional Washington Sentinels’ rapid attempts to recruit a team of replacement players.
10) The Program
A snapshot of football life at an American university, with the pressures and temptations that confront them.
11) Varsity Blues
A backup high school quarterback in a small Texas town is thrust into the spotlight when the starter gets hurt.
12) Little Giants
The story of two brothers — one a former college football star, and the other … not. The non-athletic brother decides to coach his daughter’s football team to prove he’s on equal footing with his brother.
13) Everybody’s All-American
Showcasing the 25-year arc of a college football hero who’s hit with the reality of a life that doesn’t go as planned in the face of a push to achieve his dreams.
14) Necessary Roughness
A rag-tag college football team is assembled after the old team is dismantled for breaking collegiate rules, with a matchup vs. a huge rival looming.
15) The Waterboy
A college football team’s soft-spoken and socially awkward water boy has an exceptionally powerful, aggressive side. His head coach capitalizes on the opportunity, installing the water boy as the team’s newest linebacker and leading him to become a national star.
16) Johnny Be Good
Elite colleges across the country try to recruit a star high school quarterback. He must weigh the pre-professional opportunities of taking a lucrative offer with the personal pull of remaining close to home at his local state college.
Section 3 | 2003-2009
1) Friday Night Lights (TV Series)
A snapshot of high school football life in a small Texas town, where the head coach addresses adversity within his family and his team.
2) Playmakers (TV Series)
Following the players and personnel of an American football team during the regular season.
3) The League (TV Series)
A window into fantasy football obsession in the guise of a group of friends and loved ones who don’t let their close relationships stand in the way of their pursuit of a fantasy title.
4) The Blind Side
The story of a homeless African American teen lost in a school system that largely ignores him and who’s taken in by a local family that helps empower him to realize his scholastic and football potential.
5) The Express
In 1961, Ernie Davis became the first African American to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. This theatrical account highlights the obstacles he faced to lift himself out of poverty and onto a grand stage.
6) Friday Night Lights (Film)
A small Texas town with an unhealthy obsession with its high school football team. A powder keg ready to explode. And a coach trying to keep it all together.
7) Gridiron Gang (2006)
A juvenile detention facility counselor seeks to empower the young inmates by turning them into a football team and takes heat from opposing high school teams that don’t want to compete against inmates.
8) We Are Marshall
A fictionalized account of the rebuilding of Marshall University’s football team beginning only a year after a 1970 plane crash killed, among others, 37 Marshall University football players, five coaches, two athletics trainers, and the athletic director.
A 30-year-old high school teacher who never played college football lives out his dream, trying out and making the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles.
After a football coach takes a mentally disabled student under his wing, fans and players begin to feel his new friendship is proving detrimental to their team.
11) The Game (TV Series)
An examination of African American culture through the lens of pro football.
12) Facing the Giants
A faith-based story of a Christian high school football coach trying to overcome personal and professional hurdles while trying to inspire his team to victory.
13) The Longest Yard (2005)
A remake of the 1974 classic, with corrupt officials trying to throw a football game to ensure victory for the prison guards, who are competing against convicts led by a disgraced former pro football quarterback.
14) Two for the Money
After a serious injury ends his athletic career, a former college football star accepts a job handicapping football games.
The captain of a 1920s football team tries to ignite the nation’s attention on his sport in the face of rising disinterest. Recruiting a charismatic war hero to play for his team might be the ticket.
16) The Longshots
A former football player coaches a Pop Warner football team led by his niece, who happens to be the team’s quarterback.
Section 4 | 2010-2023
1) 51 Dons
The undefeated University of San Francisco Dons are on the verge of their first bowl bid, which would do wonders for their flailing finances. Now they have a choice: accept an offer to play without their two African American stars or reject such racism. Their ultimate decision in support of racial equality would help pave the way for the ensuing Civil Rights Movement.
2) All American (TV Series)
Inspired by the life of pro football player Spencer Paysinger, this drama showcases what happens when a socioeconomically disadvantaged high school football player joins an elite program laden with privilege.
3) Blue Mountain State (TV Series)
A TV show revolving around the fictional Blue Mountain State Mountain Goats, a college football team at the center of the college universe.
After more than a century, a Memphis high school finally has an opportunity to win its first playoff game, led by a nurturing coach and a standout player.
5) Ballers (TV Series)
Follows the challenges and opportunities for a retired NFL player charting a new career as a financial manager of NFL players.
The story of arguably the most successful walk-on college football player in history, Brandon Burlsworth.
A forensic pathologist discovers neurological deterioration in a former football player that closely mirrors Alzheimer’s disease. He becomes a crusader to raise awareness about the risks posed by football-related head trauma.
8) My All American
The story of a college football player whose sudden injury forces him to rise to the ensuing challenges.
9) American Underdog
Before Kurt Warner became a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback, he was yet another among millions of athletes desperately trying to live out his dreams. This is the story of family, mentorship, camaraderie, and, ultimately, perseverance.
10) Draft Day
A fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns confronts personal and professional adversity while preparing for the NFL draft.
A Clemson University football player must balance his commitment to his team with his commitment to the 11-year-old brother he’s forced to raise.
12) When the Game Stands Tall
A high school football team that’s enjoyed unparalleled success encounters a season unlike any other.
13) 23 Blast
After suddenly losing his sight, high school football player Travis Freeman must decide whether he wants to return to the game that he loves through his adversity.
After a Birmingham, Alabama high school is forced to desegregate in 1973, a coach and his players and the broader community seek to overcome centuries of hate.
15) 80 for Brady
Four close friends and long-time New England Patriots fans make the trip to see their football hero, Tom Brady, play in the Super Bowl and navigate their way through the events of that week.
16) Carter High
A film centered on a high school football team in Dallas that battled racial prejudice and a grades controversy to claim the 5A state title — and then lost it when some of their players committed armed robbery.