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Kick off football season with these football movies that all have Oklahoma connections

Kick off football season with these football movies that all have Oklahoma connections

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There’s a reason that TVs have over time developed into a rectangular shape.

It’s the shape of a football field.

The sport is America’s passion, and “Sunday Night Football” has been the No. 1 TV show for years.

We are crazy about football, and football is back.

We also love sports movies, and football is a favorite in that category, too, with so many from which to choose.

But if you’re looking for a football movie that (a) has an Oklahoma connection, (b) features some real football people and (c) can be immediately streamed onto your football-field-shaped TV, here’s your list.

‘Draft Day’

The 2014 drama about the NFL Draft starred Kevin Costner as a Cleveland Browns’ general manager trying to figure out which college football star to draft with the No. 1 pick. If you were surprised to hear that Chadwick Boseman was 43 when he died recently, you may have remembered him portraying a stud college prospect in this movie ... at age 37.

Oklahoma connection: We like to claim Jennifer Garner as one of our own (much of her family is from the Locust Grove area), and then there’s Wade Williams, a Tulsa-born actor who’s at Costner’s side for much of the movie.

Real football people: Players Deion Sanders, Arian Foster, Alex Mack; announcers like Chris Berman and Rich Eisen; even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell makes an appearance.

Where to see it: Rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.


Released in 2011, this drama starring and co-produced by former 1990s Jenks High School quarterback Brian Presley also featured Kurt Russell. A football fantasy with inspirational messages about life choices, Presley plays — what else — a former high school football quarterback who is magically transported back in time and given a chance to relive and possibly alter a critical moment.

Oklahoma connection: Presley.

Real football people: If one of the assistant coaches looks familiar, that’s because it’s Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders from OSU.

Where to see it: Stream for free through Pluto TV or Tubi, or rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.

‘The Longest Yard’

A mediocre 2005 Adam Sandler remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds movie about a pro player sent to prison who must learn how to play a new game.

Oklahoma connection: Look for OU linebacker great Brian Bosworth as one of the guards and Tulsa’s wrestling legend Bill Goldberg, too.

Real football people: Former players include Michael Irvin and Bill Romanowski, while there are many NFL talking heads.

Where to see it: Rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.

‘Friday Night Lights’

Based on the outstanding book and ultimately turned into an acclaimed TV drama. In between the book and the TV show was this 2004 film starring Billy Bob Thornton as an Odessa, Texas, coach seeking a championship.

Oklahoma connection: Look for Julius Tennon, University of Tulsa football player and graduate who became an actor and now runs a production company with his wife, Viola Davis, as one of the coaches. Norman actor Christian Kane (“Leverage”) also appears in one of his earliest roles.

Real football people: OU and Dallas Cowboys player Roy Williams portrays one of the coaches, and Ty Law plays a touchdown-catching wide receiver.

Where to see it: Rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu or watch through HBO subscription.

‘The Replacements’

Gene Hackman is the coach, but this isn’t “Hoosiers.” It’s Keanu Reeves at quarterback in this 2000 comedy inspired by an NFL players strike that saw “scab” ragtag players suiting up for a pro team.

Oklahoma connection: Tulsa’s Gailard Sartain was meant to portray a football coach, and he gets his chance as an offensive assistant.

Real football people: NFL announcing legends John Madden and Pat Summerall are on the call.

Where to see it: Rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.


It’s set in Nowata, and it was filmed in Nowata, and that’s cool. This 1998 football comedy features Mac Davis as a guy who announces his small-town team’s football games — even after they cancel the program.

Oklahoma connection: The setting of the movie, and the fact that it was written and directed by Max Burnett, a Tulsa native who attended OU.

Real football person: Former OU head man Barry Switzer plays the coach of a team from Prattville, and even his daughter’s dog, Oskie, has a supporting role.

Where to see it: Stream free through Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Tubi and Plex services.

‘Jerry Maguire’

Tom Cruise stars as a sports agent with a conscience, an assistant (Renee Zellweger) he’s falling for and one client (Cuba Gooding Jr.).

Oklahoma connection: Among several mid-1990s NFL stars, it makes sense that Henryetta’s Troy Aikman would make an appearance in this 1996 Oscar winner. More surprising is Jerry Cantrell, the Atoka boy and Alice in Chains founder, but he was also in director Cameron Crowe’s previous film, “Singles.”

Real football people: Too many NFL heroes to name.

Where to see it: Streaming on Netflix.

‘Johnny Be Good’

Anthony Michael Hall plays the best high school football player in the country and all the big colleges want him. Yes, it’s a comedy.

Oklahoma connection: Tulsa native Bud Smith, a two-time Oscar winner for film editing, was the director, and among the actors were Oklahoma’s Dennis Letts (father of Tracy Letts) and Marshall Bell.

Real football people: “Monday Night Football” icon Howard Cosell plays himself.

Where to see it: Stream through Amazon Prime Video.

‘North Dallas Forty’

The 1979 sports movie classic nails the flavor of the game in that era, the business side of the sport and the disillusionment of where those two elements clash. Starring Nick Nolte.

Oklahoma connection: The team is inspired by the Dallas Cowboys, and the head coach is inspired by Tom Landry. Playing him to perfection is Oklahoma-born actor G.D. Spradlin in a cold, efficient manner.

Real football people: Footballer-turned-actor John Matuszak is amazing as a great player with a wild side, a role he knew well in his too-short life.

Where you can see it: Stream for free through Amazon Prime Video, Pluto TV and Roku Channel.

‘The Longest Yard’

Stick with the original 1974 sports/prison comedy starring Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter and Michael Conrad.

Oklahoma connection: Also outstanding was Oklahoma City native James Hampton playing Caretaker, arguably the character actor’s most memorable film role outside of “Sling Blade.”

Real football people: Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke, as a sadistic prison guard/linebacker for the guards’ team vs. the inmates, is outstanding and hilarious.

Where to see it: Rent through Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu.

What the Ale: Beer of the Week: Renaissance Brewing Co.’s Deutschican a Vienna style lager

Michael Smith 918-581-8479

Michael Smith


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