10 Football Movies That Are More Fun To Watch Than the Super Bowl

As Super Bowl Sunday rapidly approaches, it's getting harder and harder to avoid football. There are the game previews, the breakdowns of matchups, the player profiles, the commercials and the commercials for commercials. It can be all so overwhelming, especially if you find the sport terribly boring. 

Fortunately, you can fend off pop culture's gridiron blitz by organizing your own star-studded football party. Here are 10 excellent films (and one TV show) perfect for Super Bowl LII counterprogramming.

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Remember the Titans (2000)

Does real football have Ryan Gosling as a twink? Does real football solve racism? Does real football feature a shirtless, ripped Donald Faison from Scrubs? No, no and no. But Remember the Titans ticks off all those boxes. Even better: Denzel Washington brings to life the true story of African-American football coach Herman Boone, who integrated a Virginia high school's football team, provides the kind of uplift watching the Patriots and Eagles fight for a championship simply can't.

Where to watch: USA Network, Saturday, February 3, at 4:30 p.m ET, or rent or buy it on Amazon.

Rudy (1993)

Real football games can be inspiring, yes, but are they as inspiring as the 54th most inspiring film of all time (according to the American Film Institute's "100 Most Inspiring Films of All Time" list)? Doubtful. Let Sean Astin (aka Samwise Gamgee) fill you with hope as Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger, the real-life football player who achieved his dream of playing for University of Notre Dame, despite lacking the necessary grades, money and physical stature. 

Where to watch: Rent or buy it on Amazon

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The Waterboy (1998)

Perhaps you're not in the mood for something a little less heavy. In that case, drink deep from The Waterboy, a movie that embraces the true spirit of football: Stupidity. There may be some jokes here that don't hold up in 2018 (such as the vaguely Latino "You can do it!" guy), but this slapstick comedy starring Adam Sandler as the University of Louisiana's football team waterboy-turned-gridion-star is still one of the comedian's best roles. 

Where to watch: Netflix, or rent or buy it Amazon.

The Longest Yard (1974)

No, not the Adam Sandler remake—this list will remain a one-Adam-Sandler-movie-only list, thank you very much. Burt Reynolds stars in the original film as a former NFL player who, while in prison, organizes a football team of inmates to play a game against the guards. Fans of football history will enjoy the many NFL cameos, and fans of laughing will enjoy everything else.

Where to watch: Rent or buy it on Amazon.

will-smith-concussion Columbia Pictures

Concussion (2015)

What better way to avoid NFL fever than by watching a movie about all the ways the NFL is terrible? Based on a true story, Will Smith stars as a doctor whose research on the physical, mental and emotional toll concussions take on football players is suppressed by the NFL. If you can ignore Alec Baldwin's terrible southern accent, you'll likely enjoy this biographical drama—and come away with just one more reason to never watch real sports. (Bonus recommendation: The Frontline documentary League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis goes much deeper into events covered by Concussion, and is far more damning.) 

Where to watch: On Spike Saturday, February 3, at 5:30 p.m ET, or rent or buy it on Amazon.

Quarterback Princess (1983)

Like the sport, the football film genre is a largely male-centric. This lesser-known made-for-television movie not only provides some much-needed lady footballer representation, it also stars a young Helen Hunt, who defies sexism by winning the state championship for her high school football team. The Super Bowl simply cannot top a 19-year-old Hunt tackling teen boys to the ground.

Where to watch: Buy the DVD on Amazon.

air-bud Buena Vista Pictures

Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998)

Air Bud: Golden Reciever, the sequel to the1997 basketball-themed Air Bud, has everything you could ever ask for—and more!—in quality canine-athlete entertainment. Groan-worthy puns? Check. Dogs in human clothes? Check. A Cold War metaphor in which an American-loving pooch defeats the evil Russians? Check! It doesn't get more patriotic than this.

Where to watch: Hulu, or rent or buy it Amazon.

The Blind Side (2009)

Like Remember the Titans, The Blind Side argues that football can solve racism, this time via a white lady who adopts a black foster child and launches his football career. But considering that the white lady is played by Sandra Bullock—who won an Oscar for the role—it's still a great film. And it will likely leave you much happier than the Super Bowl.

Where to watch: On USA Network Saturday, February 3, at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET, or rent or buy it on Amazon.

varsity-blues Paramount Pictures

Varsity Blues (1999)

It doesn't get much more classic-'90s-teen-movie than Varsity Blues. James Van Der Beek is the talented but misunderstood high school quarterback, Paul Walker plays the loyal best friend and Jon Voight makes life difficult as the verbally abusive coach. Pretty standard stuff, as far as sports movies go. But if you need any more reasons to watch, know it's the favorite movie of Regina George from Mean Girls.

Where to watch: Rent or buy it Amazon.

Friday Night Lights (2004) and Friday Night Lights (2006 - 2011)

Buzz Bissinger's classic book Friday Night Lights (1990), which takes readers into the obsessive world of Texas high school football in the late 1980s, was turned into a movie in 2004 starring Billy Bob Thornton. And you could totally watch that this weekend. It's a solid, rah-rah football drama.

But this reporter suggests binge-watching the first season of the Friday Night Lights, which premiered two years after the movie, instead. Because really, there's no better football-themed content to watch while avoiding real sports than this Emmy-winning, five-season NBC show about a high school football team in Texas. You haven't heard a pep talk until you've heard a Coach Taylor pep talk. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

Where to watch: Sadly, Netflix recently removed Friday Night Lights, so you'll have to rent or buy Season 1 on Amazon.