13) Rocky— The original was a true classic; a journeyman boxer gets a chance to fight for the heavyweight title, and makes the most of it. 40 years later, tourists who come to Philadelphia still pose for pictures near the Rocky statue.
12) Bull Durham— Kevin Costner is a minor league catcher who is brought in to mentor a hot-shot pitching prospect. Robert Wuhl is the pitching coach, Susan Sarandon mentors the prospect off the field.
11) Draft Day— Costner does lot of sports movies; he is GM of the Cleveland Browns in this one, Denis Leary is the Browns’ coach.
The year this movie came out, NFL pushed back the draft so the movie could be promoted more, but Radio City Music Hall wasn’t available for the later date, which is why they started moving the draft around the country. Sometimes great ideas happen by accident.
10) Major League— Bob Uecker should’ve won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Indians’ radio announcer Harry Doyle.
9) Friday Night Lights— Billy Bob Thornton is a high school football coach in west Texas, where they take high school football very seriously.
8) One on One— Robby Benson is a hotshot high school basketball player who gets recruited by a big-time college team, then finds himself in over his head.
7) For Love of the Game— Kevin Costner is a star pitcher for the Tigers who is at the end of his career; he has flashbacks throughout his last game.
Detroit’s manager in this movie is JK Simmons, who is a Tigers fan in real life; New York’s manager is the late Augie Garrido, one of the all-time great college baseball coaches.
6) Any Given Sunday— Al Pacino is a pro football coach whose team is struggling; Cameron Diaz is the owner, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx are two of the QB’s.
Miami Sharks play against four teams in the movie, all coached by NFL Hall of Famers.
5) Invincible— True story about Vince Papale, a 30-year old bartender who tries out for the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles and makes the squad as a special teams player.
4) Fast Break— Gabe Kaplan manages a New York City deli until he applies for a job as a college basketball coach in Nevada. Bernard King, Michael Warren are two of his players; another one is a girl disguised as a guy.
3) Blue Chips— Nick Nolte is a college basketball coach who used to win a lot; in order to start winning again, he has to decide whether to break the recruiting rules or not.
Bob Cousy is the AD; Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway are two of the recruits. Lot of cameos from basketball people; Jerry Tarkanian, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, Dick Vitale.
2) Moneyball— Beginning isn’t very good, the end sucks, but I’m an A’s fan and this movie is about how the 2003 A’s put together a team that won 20 games in a row, made the playoffs.
Only really bad thing about this movie is they made skipper Art Howe look like a bad manager, and he was anything but— you don’t win 20 games in a row by accident.
1) American Underdog— Kurt Warner’s story had to become a movie; he played in NFL Europe, worked in a supermarket, played in the Arena League, then became an NFL Hall of Famer. It is such an improbable movie that it would seem ridiculous, except we know it is true.