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Eight of the most memorable Am...

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Eight of the most memorable American Football coaches ever seen on screen

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

07:04 3 Feb 2016


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With Super Bowl 50 on the horizon, there will be a battle between one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game in Peyton Manning, and the incredibly talented young gun in Cam Newton.

What can get lost in all this concentration on the quarterbacks (or even defences, in this case) is that there are two talented coaches who will attempt to out-think and out-manoeuvre each other on the field for the duration of the game. 

Although they are almost peripheral figures in the buildup to the game, the figure of the inspirational (or hapless) football coach is one that has been seen time and again in movies and TV, so if you haven't had your fill of ficitonal football before the real thing starts, then we've picked our favourite coaches that never existed to get you hyped up for the Super Bowl. 

Eric Taylor - Friday Night Lights

as played by Kyle Chandler

Coach Taylor, to give him his proper title, was not merely the coach of a football team in small town Texas, he was a molder of men. The rattling nerves of Matt Saracen were soothed by his pep talks, the wild ways of Tim Riggins were (somewhat) curbed by his wise words, and bright future of Vince Howard was skillfully handled, despite the odd rocky patch.

If Coach Taylor asks you to jump, you don't even ask how high, you start jumping as high as you can until you're told to stop.  

Coach Klein - The Waterboy

as played by Henry Winkler

Adam Sandler is excellent in The Waterboy, but Henry Winkler almost steals the show as Coach Klein. 

He inspires the aforementioned Waterboy to play football by exclaiming "what Mama don't know, won't hurt her!" before revealing a tattoo of Roy Orbison on his buttocks that promised his own mother he'd never get. If that's not motivation...

The Coach - Not Another Teen Movie

as played by Ed Lauder

Ticking all the boxes of all the cliches of every football coach in cinematic history, the surprisingly good Not Another Teen Movie featured one of our god damn favourite god damn coaches of all time god dammit. 

Homer Simpson - The Simpsons

as played by Homer J. Simpson

Homer gets his chance to coach the pee-wee team after pummelling Flanders into submission with hurtful chants and heckles. The results are, as you would expect, hilarious. It's like a bite-size Disney movie with an un-Disney ending, which proves that Homer's just as bad a coach as he is a nuclear technician. 

Oh, and by the way, you're cut!

Herman Boone - Remember the Titans

as played by Denzel Washington

Remember The Titans is shot during a sensitive point in America's history, when segregation of schools was coming to an end and racial tensions were high. Washington puts in an epic performance in his role as Coach Boone and his speech at Gettysburg will go down in our book as one of the greatest speeches made by a head coach in the movies!

Coach Bud Kilmer - Varsity Blues

as played by Jon Voight

Bud Kilmer is not memorable for the right reasons, but his character has become poignant today given the controversy surrounding the NFL, concussion and players suffering after their playing careers are done. The scene below is the turning point and even though we will always only know James Van Der Beek as Dawson, his role in Varsity Blues was pretty convincing.

Jack Lengyel - We Are Marshall

as played by Matthew McConaughey

The story that We Are Marshall is based upon fascinating to begin with, and McConaughey's depiction of Jack Lengyel is excellent. There are plenty of memorable scenes to pick from, but this one at the site of Marshall's plane crash is stirring in particular given that this is based on a true story and Langyel took over the football team after the aeroplane crash in 1970 that claimed the lives of almost the entire team.

Tony D'Amato - Any Given Sunday

as played by Al Pacino

There's only one thing needed to describe this, and that is the entire trasncript of the "inches" speech. You have a good cry whilst reading it.

I don't know what to say really.
Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today.
Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, 'til we're finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen, believe me. 

And we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.

Now I can't do it for you. I'm too old.
I look around and I see these young faces and I think...
I mean I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make. I uh....I pissed away all my money believe it or not.
I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you. That's, that's part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football.

Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small.
I mean, one half step too late or to early, you don't quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast, and you don't quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game, every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch.
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know, when we add up all those inches, that's going to make the f**king difference
Between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING.

I'll tell you this: in any fight, it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch.
And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch.
Because that is what LIVING is. The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can't make you do it.
You gotta look at the guy next to you. Look into his eyes.
Now I think you are going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. 

You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are gonna do the same thing for him.

That's a team, gentlemen and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.
That's football guys. That's all it is. Now, whattaya gonna do?

Coach Gary Gaines - Friday Night Lights

as played by Billy Bob Thornton

The debate rumbles on as to who made a better Friday Night Lights head coach and whether the movie or the TV show (or the book) was better, but either way Billy Bob puts in an exceptional performance as Coach Gary Gaines in the movie adaptation. His speech on being perfect is succinct and calm, but stirs up the same feeling we get from the "inches speech." 

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