Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: What football movie should you watch this week to get hyped for the season?
Jami’s Take: ‘The Rose Bowl Story’
While it took everything in me not to recommend “80 For Brady” due to its stacked cast of iconic women, I cannot in good conscience kick off football season with a M*chigan-related recommendation.
What I can do is offer up a deep cut as you get ready for the season ahead—the 1952 selection “The Rose Bowl.” If this is a new film to you, it checks all the boxes you could want. In fact, it’s a great one to watch on date night if you are trying (like I am) to convince your significant other that they do, in fact, like sports, because “The Rose Bowl Story” is a sports movie disguised as a romcom.
The film follows the relationship between a college football player who heads to the Rose Bowl game with his team and falls in love with the Rose Queen.
The primary plot portrays the romance between Steve Davis (the team’s quarterback who is apathetic about the game because football does not spark joy for him, played by Marshall Thompson) and his girlfriend Denny Burke (played by Vera Miles).
Along the way, we also see what the Rose Bowl means to Davis’ teammate Bronc Buttram (Keith Larsen). Buttram is ecstatic to be there, fully comprehending the history and importance of the Rowl Bowl title.
Without giving anything away, we also have a young Natalie Wood playing Denny Burke’s younger sister (she is mostly a plot device, but it’s fun to see her in this), and the team’s coach played by Richard Rober.
“The Rose Bowl” is the perfect way to set the scene for football season for a number of reasons. This movie really gets to the heart of the pre-CFP days when the Rose Bowl was a time-honored tradition and the winner earned a full year of bragging rights. It reminds us of the glory Ohio State is seeking this season (a win at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day this year would advance the Buckeyes to the National Championship).
It is a reminder that playing as a team and capitalizing on intangibles, like heart, can make all the difference at the end of the day.
Ultimately, the rom-com elements of it remind us that there’s actually a lot of romance behind college football, behind wins and losses, heartbreak, and come-from-behind victories. Just like relationships, football takes work, commitment, and resilience.
If the Buckeyes can remember those things and play with heart this season, we might have a love story of our own with this 2023 team.
Matt’s Take: ‘Friday Night Lights’ (2006)
I honestly have never heard of “The Rose Bowl Story,” so kudos to Jami for going outside the box. I too will go outside the box in terms of picking a football movie to watch to get yourself hyped for the season opener, because I am not picking a movie at all.
Yes, I know that’s cheating, and yes, I know there is an excellent (but ultimately inferior) film adaptation of H. G. Bissinger’s iconic nonfiction look at Texas high school football. But let’s be honest, if you are a football fan who also enjoys the power of a sentimental cry, then this is a must-watch series. It’s like if “Hoosiers” was about football and “Rudy” wasn’t a bunch of Notre Dame propaganda.
The NBC series adaptation of “Friday Night Lights” remains one of the most powerful and eternally rewatchable series in television history, whether you are an avid football fan or not. While there is a decent amount of moderately accurate football content in the show, the series’ strength is instead on how it portrays the deeply felt relationships between its incredible cast of characters.
Led by the indomitable Kyle Chandler as head coach Eric Taylor and Connie Britton as his wife Tami, the show focuses on not only the emotional toll of high-stakes high school football but also of just being a human of any age. Delving into both the lives and relationships of the adults and teenagers in Dillon, Texas, “Friday Night Lights” reaffirms that love, friendship, sacrifice, teamwork, and genuine decency are things that can powerfully and radically transform the lives of those around us... except for one network-mandated subplot in Season 2, but we generally just pretend like that was a fever dream that didn’t actually happen.
What makes “Friday Night Lights” the ideal binge to hype yourself up for another football season is that it reminds us of why we love sports, the excitement, anticipation, and emotions that come from following a team through its ups and downs. It also puts the results of each game and season into perspective. While the wins and losses feel like life and death to the players, coaches, and their loved ones, there are more important things than football (heaven forbid, amirite?).
However, hearing a speech from Coach Taylor will always get you ready to run through a brick wall, and just thinking about the Panthers chanting “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose,” is giving me goosebumps and bringing tears to my eyes. If you want to get absolutely jacked up for the upcoming college football season, dive into “FNL”; there are 76 episodes spread across five seasons, so if you start now and watch without interruption, you should be able to finish (and take a little nap) before Ohio State opens its season against Indiana on Saturday.
Who has the right answer to today’s question?
This poll is closed
Jami: ‘The Rose Bowl Story’
Matt: ‘Friday Night Lights’ (2006)