A Growing Trend: Sports Front Office Movies
A lot of sports movies focus on the teams themselves and their performances. But in recent times, some movies have focused as much on the selection of those teams from an administrative standpoint. Here is an article of the best of the best from various sports.
Major League Baseball - Moneyball
Moneyball is a 2011 drama starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. The movie is based on the 2003 book of the same name that focuses on the strategies used by Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane in creating a winning baseball team using limited resources.
It hit home with audiences because baseball had become a sport where the rich ball clubs would tend to buy themselves championships by spending oodles and oodles of money on the best free agents. So to see a small market team like Oakland have success with about a third of the payroll expenses made people question everything they knew about the way they did business.
Honorable Mention - Major League (1989), 42 (2013)
National Football League - Draft Day
In 2014's Draft Day, Kevin Costner took on the lead role of Sonny Weaver, Jr., General Manager of the Cleveland Browns football team. The movie follows Weaver, Jr. as he comes across various situations on the day of the NFL draft.
Tasked by his owner to 'make a splash' and bring attention to the club, he ends up trading for the number one overall pick in the draft. The price he must pay for that pick though rankles the team's head coach, Vince Penn (played by Dennis Leary) who doesn't see the top overall pick as someone who will fit in with his system.
Weaver, Jr. pulls off some nice moves to get everyone exactly what they want and leave Cleveland with a very bright future.
Honorable Mention - The Replacements (2000), Any Given Sunday (1999), Jerry McGuire (1996), North Dallas Forty (1979)
Hockey - Miracle
In 2004's Miracle, Kurt Russell plays legendary coach Herb Brooks as he looks to put together a roster that can challenge the dominant Big Red Machine of the Soviet Union in Olympic Hockey. The movie gives us the back-story of how the roster was formed and the trials they went through to become champions.
One of the most inspirational sports movies of all-time, Miracle really doesn't have a rival in the category.
Honorable Mention - Mystery Alaska (1999), Slapshot (1977)
College Football - The Program (1993)
The Program is a 1990s movie about the inner workings of a college football program from the recruitment of student athletes to the issues that members face including drug and alcohol abuse. The movie had an all-star cast with Halle Berry, Omar Epps, James Caan, Craig Sheffer, Joey Lauren Adams, and Kristy Swanson.
One of the best characters, Steve Lattimer (Andrew Bryniarski), highlighted how college coaches bend the rules in order to achieve success and then cast away players when they no longer have use to a program.
Honorable Mention - Rudy (1993)
College Basketball - Blue Chips (1994)
Blue Chips is a 1994 hit movie starring Nick Nolte as Coach Pete Bell of a fictional college university basketball team. In the movie, Bell is under intense pressure to win or be fired so he caves ethically to influential alumnus Happy Kuykendahl (J.T. Walsh).
Fueled by a cast of notable professional athletes that included Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, the movie delivered a fictional look at what many believed to be happening behind the scenes in college athletics.
Honorable Mention - Glory Road (2006)
High School Sports
High School Football - Remember the Titans (2000)
In the year 2000, Denzel Washington starred as Coach Herman Boone, a legendary high school coach in Virginia tasked with integrating a successful high school football team. With a relatively unknown cast aside from Will Patton and a very young Hayden Panettiere, the movie was a well-done reminder of the race problems still facing the country.
Honorable Mention - Varsity Blues (1999)
High School Basketball - Hoosiers (1986)
1986's Hoosiers is a great movie about building teams on discipline and selflessness. It stars Gene Hackman as a former college coach trying to rebuild a career after putting winning ahead of the best interest of the athletes.
Like Miracle, Hoosiers is one of the most inspirational movies of all-time because it highlights the success of an underdog overcoming immeasurable odds to reach the pinnacle of their sport.