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It’s Super Bowl season, and while some are already on an adrenaline high in anticipation, others are not feeling it. Here’s a thought that might be helpful no matter which side of that divide you’re on. Movie night!!! We asked our Sports Desk for their top picks of feature films and documentaries about football that would be the best movies to watch during Super Bowl season (that would be American football, not fútbol). Here’s their top 10, and we bet one of them will be just right for a home football film festival right about now. Game on, dear reader.

Best Movies about Football to watch during Super Bowl season

1. Jerry Maguire.

Who says a rom-com can’t also be about football, and vice versa? With the Super Bowl on February 12 and Valentine’s Day just two days later, Jerry Maguire might be the win-win flick to watch with your beloved this year to rev up for the Big Game. Sure, you know the basic plot (and the iconic lines “show me the money!” and “you had me at hello”), but let’s refresh your memory with a few details.

After cutthroat sports agent Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a meltdown at work that gets him fired, he starts his own agency with the only client willing to stay with him, aging football player Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding). His mousy assistant (Renee Zellweger) captures Maguire’s heart as he struggles to prove his worth by actually making ethical business decisions. And by showing some actual hustle and humility. Fun fact: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has a cameo near the end of the film.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime

The best movies about football to watch before the Super Bowl this year.

The best movies about football to watch before the Super Bowl this year. Jerry Maguire. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

2. Undefeated.

In the 2012 Oscar-winning documentary Undefeated, an inner-city high school football team is in crisis. Since its founding in 1899, Manassas High School in North Memphis had never had a football team win a playoff game. In 2004, former high-school coach Bill Courtney offered to help turn the team around and help them achieve a winning season.

Through the eyes of three young players and their coach, we see the toll that attending an underfunded school and living in a neighborhood that has been written off as hopeless can have on the human spirit. And how with some encouragement and grit, a high school football player and his team might actually be able to beat the odds and win. Even if only for a season.

Watch it on: Netflix

3. Remember the Titans.

Some will come to this year 2000 movie for its inspirational, uplifting and progressive message about how sports – specifically high school football – can bridge the gaping chasm between the races in America. Others (and we count ourselves among them) will come for Denzel Washington. Whatever your motivation, this is great one to watch or re-watch during Super Bowl season.

Remember the Titans is a feature film based on the true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Watch it on: Amazon Prime.

4. Vick.

There are several accounts of the spectacular rise and fall of quarterback Michael Vick, a figure of almost Shakespearean tragic stature. This Bleacher Report documentary is a good place to start – especially since his story isn’t over yet.

Raised in an impoverished neighborhood in Newport News, Virginia, Vick went on to become a star quarterback at Virginia Tech. He was the number one overall draft pick for the Atlanta Falcons, and later played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The best movies about football to watch before the Super Bowl this year.

The best movies about football to watch before the Super Bowl this year. Vick. Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Vick was a phenomenally gifted athlete – a rarely seen combination of speed and agility. But his personal demons caught up with him and he was eventually tried and convicted for running an illegal dog-fighting enterprise.

Watch it on: The Bleacher Report

In an important follow-up note, late in 2022 SMAC Productions and Fubo Studios announced that they’ll be co-producing an eight-part documentary series on the evolution of the Black quarterback in America. The docuseries will feature Vick in conversation with former and current football players and coaches.

The release notes: “Interview subjects will include Patrick Mahomes, Cam Newton, Tony Dungy, Andy Reid and Doug Williams. Vick will also speak with celebrities, journalists and cultural figures about their perspective of the game and evolving culture.”

5. Draft Day.

Kevin Costner. Chadwick Boseman. What else do you need to know? We’re in.

Draft Day is a 2014 feature film about the annual ritual of Draft Day in the NFL, when pro teams make their picks for the upcoming season’s roster from the ranks of the best college football players. In this movie, Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades with Seattle for the number one pick. Being chosen as the number one pick can be life-changing for these young players. Will Weaver use his new power to make or break a youth athlete’s dreams wisely?

Watch it on: Amazon Prime.

6. Any Given Sunday

Any Given Sunday features a star-studded ensemble directed by Oliver Stone. Al Pacino. Dennis Quaid. Cameron Diaz. And Jamie Foxx. It’s a fictional take on the harsh realities of life in the NFL, where “on any given Sunday, anyone can win.”

Watch it on: Apple TV

7. Concussion

Whatever your opinion about Will Smith and Alec Baldwin (and EVERYONE has an opinion about Will Smith and Alec Baldwin), this 2015 feature film about football, in which they star, is an excellent way to understand the ongoing issue of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the NFL. It remains highly topical almost 10 years after its release, which is in itself an achievement.

While conducting an autopsy on former NFL football player Mike Webster (David Morse), forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) discovers neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Omalu names the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy and publishes his findings in a medical journal. As other athletes face the same diagnosis, the crusading doctor embarks on a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma.

Watch it on: Hulu

8. Invincible

This might be another one of those feature films about football that will actually allow the hardcore football fans and the rom-com devotees in the house to gather ’round for the same flick. Invincible is based on the life story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender from South Philadelphia who overcame long odds to play for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles in 1976.

It was nominated for an ESPY for Best Sports Movie. And for an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. So there you go – something for everyone.

Watch it on: Disney+

9. The U – “30 for 30” – Parts 1 & 2

In this 2-part documentary – produced as part of ESPN’s “30 under 30” television series – we see how college football can illuminate (and fuel) the significant societal changes underway in America. Which is in many ways why documentaries about football can be compelling viewing even for non-sports fans.

The producers note: “In the 1980s, Miami, Florida, was at the center of a racial and cultural shift taking place throughout the country. Overwhelmed by riots and tensions, Miami was a city in flux, and the University of Miami football team served as a microcosm for this evolution.

The image of the predominantly white university was forever changed when coach Howard Schnellenberger scoured some of the toughest ghettos in Florida to recruit mostly black players for his team. With a newly branded swagger, inspired and fueled by the quickly growing local Miami hip hop culture, these Hurricanes took on larger-than-life personalities and won four national titles between 1983 and 1991.”

Watch it on: Amazon Prime Video

10. Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist

This 2022 Netflix production makes our list of documentaries about football – even though it’s only sort of about football. It’s mostly about desire, and lies, and shame – you know, the basic stuff of human life.

“From Notre Dame to the NFL, Manti Te’o’s future in football showed promise. Until a secret online relationship sent his life and career spiraling.” You’ll probably remember this story, which made headlines: a young football player seems to fall prey to a “catfishing” scheme of epic proportions.

Te’o, a Heisman trophy finalist during his senior year at Notre Dame, led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game. His achievements on the field captured national interest when the press was told that Te’o had done it all while overcoming two personal traumas: the deaths of his grandmother and his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, in September of 2012. There was just one problem: Kekua did not exist.

Watch it on: Netflix

Best Movies about Football to See Before the Super Bowl

That’s what our Sports Desk has to say about the best flicks for a football film festival, should you choose to host one: the feature films and documentaries about American football that are the best movies to watch during Super Bowl season. What’s you favorite – and what would you add to this list, dear reader?

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.