Maybe if South Philly barkeep Vince Papale had been on the field two Sundays ago in Arizona, the Eagles would be in the Super Bowl right now. Instead, as we get ready to hunker down over guac and chips for Sunday's Cardinals-Steelers faceoff, let us console ourselves - and get psyched for serious football - by watching Mark Wahlberg as the improbable former Eagle in the hometown underdog flick,
And along with this 2006 classic, here are ten other gridiron titles to consider. (Can a two-year-old movie be a classic? Sure, if it's set in Philly and it's about the Iggles!)
All the Right Moves (1983) - Young Tom Cruise plays a Western PA (yes, Steeler country) high school defensive back thinking about his college scholarship, his girlfriend (Lea Thompson), a fumble that kills the season and the motorcyle that's going to take him out of town.
Any Given Sunday (1999) - Al Pacino gnashes his teeth as head coach of the Miami "Sharks," with Dennis Quaid and Jamie Foxx rivaling for the QB slot in Oliver Stone's look inside the world of pro football. Cameos from veterans Jim Brown, Warren Moon, Johnny Unitas, Ricky Watters and others.
Friday Night Lights (2004) - Texas high school football, based on Buzz Bissinger's book, with Billy Bob Thornton as coach. Directed by Hancock's Peter Berg.
Heaven Can Wait (1978) - Warren Beatty is a backup quarterback for the Super Bowl-bound L.A. Rams, prematurely deceased but brought back in another body to play the Big Game. Celestial football fantasy, '70s style.
Horse Feathers (1932) - College gridiron romp from Groucho and the brothers Marx. Final touchdown breaks the rules, and will have you breaking out in laughs.
Knute Rockne, All American (1940) - Notre Dame's holiest of holy football coaches is portrayed by Pat O'Brien, but it's the guy playing George Gipp that everybody recognzies. He may die in the movie, but Ronald Reagan went on to be the 40th president of the United States. Win one for the Gipper, indeed.
The Longest Yard (1974) - Jailbird QB Burt Reynolds leads a "mean machine" of convicts against a squad of prison guards in this '70s sports classic. Remade in 2005, with Adam Sandler, Chris Rock - and Reynolds.
North Dallas Forty (1979) - Satiric take on a team that sure resembles the late-'60s/early-'70s Dallas Cowboys, and the wild boozin', druggin' and partying going on off the field. Nick Nolte (who played football in college) stars as an aging receiver, and singer Mac Davis his quarterback. Based on the novel by former Cowboy Peter Gent.
Remember the Titans (2000) - Denzel Washington is coach Herman Boone in this true-life high school sports drama, based on events surrounding the desegregation of a Virginia highschool - and its football team - in the early 1970s. Strong drama, great soundtrack.