Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday Night Light---TV Show

Probably the best show I’ve ever watched in my 38 years on the planet and this includes my previous all time favorite The Sopranos.   The writing, acting and script was just amazing, and sadly the show was never appreciated nearly at the level it should have been by NBC.  For whatever reason, because it had the name Friday in the title, that meant it could only be shown on one of the lowest TV viewing nights of the week.   The story detailed the events of Coach Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton), his family, his team and all their lives in fictional Dillon, Texas .    It was by far the most realistic view of Middle America, and the characters were so well-developed that it is truly a TV crime that this show is ending.   The final season airs on NBC starting on April 15th, and if you are like me, you’ll want to buy all the seasons on DVD as they are available.   It’s one of those rare shows that although the movie was outstanding, the TV show was that much better.  One tip if you love Friday Night Lights, make sure you tune in for Parenthood as it’s by the same people and many cast members from FNL are appearing in new roles on Parenthood. 

Friday Night Lights---The Movie

This 2004 release documents the coaches and players of a high school football team in Odessa, Texas.     The movie starred Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gaines and Connie Britton as his wife and is based on a book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, by H.G. Bissinger  .   The movie deals with the Permian High School Panthers and their pursuit towards a state football championship.   Like the TV show with the same name the movie, is very underappreciated as the filming was just incredible having an almost documentary feel to it.   You really think it was all happen live at that moment.  Definitely worth viewing while we wait for the NFL to get a new CBA.   

Terrific performances by Tim McGraw as a dad who can’t let go of his high school glory days and Derek Luke, as a player who’s only plans for the future were tied to football and suddenly has to reevaluate his life once he gets a career ending injury.      If you’ve never seen this film and love football, you should add it to your Netflix list tonight….you won’t be sorry. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Program

In the past six plus years I’ve interviewed close to 250 college players. One human interest question I always ask is “what is your favorite football movie?” and without fail, roughly 75-80% say without hesitation “The Program” when I ask why most reply, “because it’s so similar to real college football.”   That fact alone should make sure you add it to your library of football movies.   Here is a brief plot synopsis on the movie.   “ The ESU Timberwolves are entering a season with high expectations after two disappointing seasons. The film begins with a loss to end the prior season, along with the school president putting pressure on Sam Winters (James Caan) to win this coming season or face a possible firing. Quarterback Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer) spends the Christmas bowl season with his alcoholic father and brother, while NFL prospect Alvin Mack  gives his mother a present to go with the new house she will soon have when he turns pro. The film then follows the recruiting of Darnell Jefferson (Omar Epps), a highly rated running back, and his eventual commitment to ESU and his pursuit of Autumn Hailey (Halle Berry)”.
That should wet your appetite.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Take Your Eye Off the Ball

What can I say this book and CD is so worth the money it's not even funny.  For someone like myself who has followed every aspect of football like a religion for the past 25 years I learned so much I don't know where to start.   It covers the fundamentals of football, a way a franchise gets built, how to watch a game in an entirely new manner, what might becoming in the future and what the coaches go through weekly.  Plus much much more.    If you know a football die-hard stop and buy it for Father's Day, a birthday or any other reason you can think of.  It's worth it!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Late Rounders

Executive Producer Benjamin Suarez Takes Viewers Behind The Scenes of The Most Popular Game in The Land
 The passion-filled film of Executive Producer Benjamin Suarez and Director Evan A. Marshall, Late Rounders, follows a group of college football standouts as they begin their quest to make the 53-man roster of an NFL football team. Coming from a wide array of backgrounds and sharing one common goal, some of the players featured will see their dreams realized on draft day, while others will see their dreams fade away. 

The candid, touching look inside the road to the NFL features 2010 hopefuls Corey Peters Defensive Tackle, University of Kentucky, Aaron Morgan Defensive End, University of Louisiana-Monroe, Alfonso Smith Running Back, University of Kentucky, John Conner Fullback, University of Kentucky, and Ray Fisher Cornerback/Kick Returner, Indiana University. Late Rounders also gives viewers a peek into the lives of two hardworking sports agents Michael Puterbaugh and Greg “Tripp” Linton as they ply their trade, heart, soul and mind, in an effort to get their clients to the big show. Both agents and advisors for HOF Player Representatives, Puterbaugh exudes power in quiet, as Linton wears his passion for their players and the game on his entire being. 
All the hard work, years of commitment, everything…comes down to one day. Their personal stories come together inside a Kentucky sports bar on the biggest day of their lives – draft day – as cameras capture every win, every loss, and every moment in the struggle to become Late Rounders.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The death of a promising young athlete just days before his 16th birthday inspires his older brother to lead his college football team to new heights in The 5th Quarter, the moving saga of the Abbate family of Marietta, Georgia. Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell and Ryan Merriman star in this touching true story from writer and director Rick Bieber.

When 15-year-old Luke Abbate is killed in a tragic car accident, the loss leaves his close-knit family reeling with grief. Fueled by faith and their deep familial bond, the Abbates try to rebuild their lives without Luke, fulfilling his wish to help others by donating his organs to save the lives of five other people. But despite the support of loving friends and family, his death leaves a void in their lives that threatens to tear the family apart.

Struggling with the devastating loss, Luke’s older brother Jon a gifted football player at Wake Forest University, decides to honor his brother’s memory and love for the game by dedicating the 2006 season to him. With the added motivation of “playing for two,” he dons Luke’s beloved No. 5 jersey and inspires his teammates to play the best football of their lives—and become the most improved team in America. Predicted to finish last in their division, the Wake Forest football team surpassed all expectations by winning an unforgettable championship season.

A tribute to the power of hope and love, The 5th Quarter is an inspiring true story about a family coming together to rally a team, a school and a community to achieve more than they could ever have imagined.


Monday, March 14, 2011

We Are Marshall

Based on a real-life tragedy, this film deemphasizes sports-movies cliches in favor of a larger and more resonant story about a community finding its feet after tragedy. On November 14, 1970, Marshall University's football team, the Thundering Herd, was returning from an away game in North Carolina, accompanied by its coaching staff, stadium announcer and two dozen prominent local supporters. The plane crashed, killing everyone and devastating not only the college, but the entire city of Huntington, West Virginia.
University officials decide to suspend the football program on the grounds that playing — assuming the school could quickly cobble together a team and staff, which seems profoundly unlikely — would be an affront to the dead and salt in the wounds of the bereaved. But a handful of players, led by Nate Ruffin (Anthony Mackie) — who was home nursing a serious shoulder injury at the time of the crash — make an impassioned plea for the program's resumption. The school eventually finds a coach — Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey), who has more than a little of the used-car salesman about him — willing to take on the position of athletic director. He in turn lures assistant coach Red Dawson (Matthew Fox) — who gave up his seat on the doomed flight — back onto the field. After losing dozens of potential recruits to rival West Virginia University, Dawson and Lengyel employ unorthodox recruiting strategies to secure enough students to constitute a team, and persuade university president Donald Dedmon to petition the supervisory NCAA for a waiver allowing freshmen to play. As Lengyel slowly molds his recruits into a team, "We are Marshall," the Thundering Herd's traditional rallying cry, takes on a larger meaning, uniting newcomers and survivors, families, students and even competitors — the WVU Mountaineers play an entire season with small crosses on their helmets in remembrance of the Marshall team.


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