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5 Football Stories that Changed History

Updated on September 5, 2023

Amazing True Life Football Stories

Amazing True Life Football Movies

Football, Family and Friends ... it's a combination that I grew up with in my home. Not that I was a big fan, but all those around me were so I sort of got placed in the middle of it all.

I can remember when company was over and a game was on, they would eventually make their way near the television set to watch even though my parents weren't football fanatics. One of my brothers was the captain of his high school football team and while he was on the team we didn't miss a game.

There have been times when I really loved watching the games, and so I guess that's what drew me to these particular football movies. I don't go in for much fiction,but these true life stories grabbed my attention.

They all have a common thread, that being football, but they are also unique and tell a story that sometimes brings you to tears. I've included the five top movies that have changed the way fans may view football.

Take a look at some of my other articles that include gifts, great recipes for game time, holidays and family gatherings.

Copyrighted Material by Favored1. Do not copy. Photo credit by Favored1 or Amazon unless otherwise noted. This artwork is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Poll: Football Fanatic

Do you have a family member that just loves football?

See results

Family Football Favorites

Weather a bit much?

Football season over?

You can still enjoy some football

with these favorites.

Based on True Life: Stories that Changed History

Invincible - the movie.

Rated PG 104 minutes available in Blu-ray and widescreen also. INVINCIBLE is the inspiring true story of Vince Papale, an ordinary guy who, against extraordinary odds, gets a one-in-a-gazillion shot at living every sports fan's wildest fantasy.

#1 - Invincible - Based on a true story.

INVINCIBLE is based on the true story of Vince Papale, a Philly guy with a dream of becoming a Philadelphia Eagle. Vince is a 30 year old substitute school teacher and part-time bartender in 1976, a tough economic time in the City of Brotherly Love. The lackluster Eagles bring in a new coach, and Vince's life is about to be changed forever.

This is an inspiring feel good movie that the whole family will enjoy. You will see a city rally around its new favorite son, and that in itself will elevate your "goosebump" factor. I especially enjoy it because I grew up in Southern New Jersey and remember the time very well. Seeing footage from old Veteran's Stadium also brings back some good memories.

Invincible features Mark Wahlberg as Vince, and Greg Kinnear who is really believable in his role as Coach Dick Vermeil.

Get ready to be thoroughly entertained as you watch this young man get the opportunity to live out his dream.

You can read my review here:

Invincible Movie Trailer - Based on a true story of the oldest rookie in NFL history.

Invincible - the movie trailer

Based on a true story. A man with a dream that wouldn't go away. Family, friends and an entire town come alongside an over aged want-a-be football player.

Invincible the Movie trailer:

Vince Papale Trading Eagles Card


"The truth is, we're not teaching Radio,

we're learning from him."

Radio - movie trailer

He goes by "Radio"

Dreams come true when a young man dares to go against the odds. A mentally challenged boy is be-friended by a football coach, his team and finally the entire school. Radio will endear himself to you as well.

Radio - the true life story of a boy who wanted to play football.

Radio - the movie.

PG 109 minutes DVD wide screen available. Radio, a mentally challenged young man is taken under the nurturing wing of South Carolina high school football coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris), challenging us to be courageous during difficult situations.

#2 - Radio - Based on a true story.

Set in South Carolina in 1976, the local high school football coach, Harold Jones watches daily as a young mentally challenged young man named Radio walks by his team's practices. The reason he takes an interest in the young man is revealed later in the movie and I won't give that away here. Coach allows him to help out at practice and become part of the whole team atmosphere.

Eventually this young man, James Robert Kennedy, nicknamed Radio (because he loved radios), begins to have an influence on all those around him. Radio even goes to school and, after quite a bit of community and school board debate, attending classes himself. He even reads the school lunch menus over the loudspeaker and becomes a hall monitor making sure everyone behaved between classes! This movie is, at times, funny and sad. The relationship between Radio and Coach Jones is a touching one as you see the young man come out of his world of solitude and loneliness into a world where he felt accepted and needed.

Radio is a very good movie from beginning to end. It will certainly hold your attention and entertain you at the same time. The story is great, the acting is excellent. Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays Radio and veteran actor Ed Harris is Coach Harold Jones. The movie also features Alfre Woodward as the high school principal and Debra Winger as Coach Jones' wife, along with a supporting cast of other familiar faces. Overall this movie was well-written, acted, directed and presented to us the viewing audience.

As I said earlier, this movie is sad at times so be sure to have some tissues handy, and check out Radio.

Remember the Titans

Remember the Titans - Movie

Remember the Titans (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Remember the Titans (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
PG 2 disks 113 minutes. Available in Blu-ray and widescreen. Two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions is a remarkable portrait of courage and perseverance.

Movie Fact Trivia

Did you know that the accident scene with senior footballer Gary didn't happen until after he graduated high school? He actually played the game and they won by a landslide.

#3 - Remember the Titans - Based on a true story.

Remember the Titans is based on Alexandria, Virginia football in 1971. A time of integration in the public schools, combining a white high school with a black high school in the already racially tense city. We get to see what this meant for the school as well as for their football team.

Adding to the tensions for the football team is the fact that the very successful (white) Coach, Bill Yoast, is replaced by newcomer and successful in his own right (black) Coach, Herman Boone. Watching how these two men first have to overcome their own issues and then bring together a racially divided team is truly an amazing feat.

The movie is based on a true story, but quite a bit of what you see on the screen was written in. However, it was well written. The different characters, the outstanding football sequences, well chosen and well placed music (lots of Credence Clearwater Revival songs), bring this movie home. Plenty of excitement. This movie is one of my husband's favorite movies, and the final play of the game is one you will want to watch again and again.

Remember the Titans was well cast from top to bottom. Denzel Washington portrays Herman Boone and Will Patton plays Bill Yoast, along with an outstanding supporting cast.

Lots of action, excitement, controversy and well placed humor throughout this film. It is a great experience watching how these kids go from enemies and antagonists to teammates and friends. Teamwork on and off the field is seen as the players face prejudices side by side. This is a movie that I highly recommend and one I am sure you will want to have in your dvd collection.

Remember the Titans Movie Trailer - I have officially lost count how many times we have watched this.

The captain of the team makes a decision that effects the entire team and his friendships forever.

Motivational speech from the coach to his team that changes the way they play the game. This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

"Sunshine" shows his colors.

Sunshine Makes A Statement

When Ronnie moves to a new school, he is teased because of his looks. They give him the nickname Sunshine.

It isn't long before the coaches of the Titans find this young man is more than just "fluff." He warms the hearts of the players becoming a forerunner in the way he treats all people.

The Famous Titan Dance

Was there a real Titan dance?

The famous Titan dance that changed the attitude of the players, the fans and the opposition.

Well, this was in the film, however, the real Titans never had such a dance. Sad huh?

Remember the Titans Trailer

Segregation Is Real

When de-segregation and integration come to Alexandria, VA, two schools are forced to merge creating a hostile environment.

How does the coach bring them together so they become a team that changes history?


Rudy - the movie.

Rudy (Deluxe Edition)
Rudy (Deluxe Edition)
Rated PG. 2 disks 114 minutes. Available in Blu-ray. People have told Rudy he wan't good enough, smart enough or not big enough to play football. With all the odds against him, Rudy didn't give up or stopped his impossible dream of playing football for Notre Dame.

#4 - Rudy - Based on a true story.

The dream to play for the "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame, at times, seemed like the impossible dream to Rudy Ruettiger. With grades below Notre Dame entrance standards and being only 5'6" tall he already had two big strikes against him. But Rudy was not ready to give up on his dream. He worked hard at his studies at Holy Cross College, until he was accepted at Notre Dame, then he...wait a minute, I'm giving the whole movie away! You need to watch this for yourself. It is a movie that shows a young man's drive, determination and willpower with a never give up or give in attitude.

This movie is an excellent choice to watch with your kids as Rudy plugs away at schoolwork and football practice. Taking a pounding but never giving up.

I will tell you this much; on Rudy's big day, he was 27 years old, still 5'6" tall and as far as my research shows me, is the only Notre Dame football player to be carried of the field by his teammates since 1975.

So, have I piqued your interest? I hope so. Watch Rudy, you won't be disappointed.

Rudy shares his story of a dream to be a football player for Notre Dame. Part 1

Rudy - Don't stop dreaming!

The real Rudy play on the Notre Dame field.

Actual Notre Dame vs Georgia Tech Play with Rudy

Interview with Rudy about his real life story that turned into a movie.

The Real Story of Rudy Ruettiger

People Who Remember Rudy

Tribute to Footballer Rudy

A Part of the Team

Rudy shares his story of how he was able to get into Notre Dame and finally become part of the team he dreamed of since childhood..

He is disappointed when he finds he isn't eligible to play at Notre Dame. Follow his life as he works and studies at a junior college until he finally is accepted into Notre Dame.

We Are Marshall

#5 - We Are Marshall - Where do you begin when the entire community has to start over emotionally?

In 1970, Marshall University and Huntington, West Virginia experienced a devastating, heart rending loss. At 7:36 PM on November 14th, 1970, seventy-five people were killed when Southern Airways flight 932 crashed into a hill near Tri-State Airport. Thirty-seven football players on the Marshall team, five coaches, two athletic trainers, the athletic director, twenty-five boosters and the plane's crew of five. A terrible tragedy.

The movie picks up with one man's belief (Matthew McConaughey as Coach Jack Lengyel) that part of the healing process for the school as well as the community is to re-build and re-start the football program. Met with resistance, his determination grows until finally the students get behind him in a moving display on the school grounds as they chanted, "We are Marshall".

This is an emotionally moving and inspirationally uplifting movie as the "Thundering Herd" re-builds and the legacy of those who perished is carried on by Coach Lengyel and his team.

We Are Marshall Movie Trailer - Based on a true story where a college football team was killed in a plane crash. How will they rise from the ashes to greet a n

Based on A True Story

Based on a true story in 1970 where the 37 football team members were killed in a plane crash. The new coach has to put together a new team and put the past behind him.

Crash Site of MU Students

An eye witness to the crash explains the way the accident happened.

Newspaper Clip of the MU Plane Crash

Official newspaper article on the plane crash of the University Football team of 1970.
Official newspaper article on the plane crash of the University Football team of 1970. | Source

Actual footage and breaking news of the tragic accident.

MU Crash Archives

Interview about the plane crash with one of the players not on the plane.

Marshall University Plane Crash Video

We Are Marshall - the movie.

We Are Marshall
We Are Marshall
Rated PG, 131 minutes. A true story. In 1970, Marshall University and the small town of Huntington, W.Va., reel when a plane crash claims the lives of 75 of the school's football players, staff members and boosters. New coach Jack Lengyel (Matthew McConaughey) arrives on the scene in March 1971, determined to rebuild Marshall's Thundering Herd and heal a grieving community in the process.

Poll: You Decide

Which of these movies is your favorite?

See results

Don't Forget to Keep in Touch.

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#147 Created 10/15/13/Published October 29th, 2013

© 2013 Fay Favored


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