Anyone who attended Bronco games during the late '70s remembers the Orange Crush defense and Craig Morton, who always threw the ball at the last moment possible and then collapsed on the field to avoid getting tackled. I sat wedged between my burly father and a truly huge, hairy, chain-smoking guy and his brother, who we privately called the Bear and the Bear's brother.

In later years, I had access to a "box" seat, courtesy of a generous in-law. This offered such great people-watching that I hardly paid attention to the game at all, which was just as well most of the time. I'm still not sure how the women in the box hiked all the way up there in their stiletto heels and cat-print jumpsuits, but it was a lot of fun, with snacks, drinks and shelter readily available.

This year marks the Broncos' 43rd season in the NFL, and fans hope that veteran quarterback Peyton Manning will lead the team into the playoffs, in spite of a tough schedule. To get in the proper spirit, check out some of the library's football-themed movies:

Brian's Song (1971) Based on the true story of the friendship between Chicago Bears teammates Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) and Brian Piccolo (James Caan), who is stricken with terminal cancer. Originally an ABC Movie of the Week, it was later shown in theaters and won an Emmy for Best Dramatic Program (1971-1972).

Friday Night Lights (TV series) An addictive drama of high school football in a rural Texas town centered around head coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his family. Inspired by the nonfiction book Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream and the 2004 movie adaptation of the book, the series addresses social and political issues such as racism, economic disparity and awkward teen romance.

Remember the Titans (2000) Based on actual events in 1971, when newly hired African-American coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) led a desegregated football team to the state finals amidst racial strife, game fixing and attempts to gain community support.

Any Given Sunday (1999) Oddly cast Al Pacino is the head coach of a fictional NFL team down on its luck. When the first and second string quarterbacks are injured, in goes Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx,) who initially lacks confidence but has raw talent. After a few games, Beamen starts to become arrogant and eventually goes rogue by calling his own plays in the huddle, insulting the coach. Conflict ensues.

North Dallas Forty (1979)  Nick Nolte as Phil Elliott, a tired, cynical and disillusioned wide receiver for a fictional team based on the Dallas Cowboys during the early 70's.  This semi-comedy isn't about football, but the corrupt business of football, where players are a commodity to be replaced when they are worn out.  Great performances from Nolte and Mac Davis as quarterback. 

Leatherheads (2008)  George Clooney directs and stars in this romantic comedy during the early days of professional football in the 1920's.  When handsome and rowdy Dodge Connelly (Clooney) loses his team's sponsor, he enlists college player and war hero Carter Rutherford (John Krasinski) to join the team.  Cub reporter Lexie Littleton (Renée Zellweger) doubts Rutherford's heroism and investigates his past.  Both Dodge and Carter compete for her affection, with one player scoring in the end. 


Written by Lisa on September 7, 2012


Anonymous on September 11, 2012


OMG, Love Friday Night Lights. Wish they had another season underway!

Lisa F. on September 11, 2012


I agree - great acting and story lines. A bit of trivia: Gracie Belle was played by triplets.

james on September 11, 2012


I too loved FNL!

I remember being very little watching Brian's Song with the family, and I thought I caught a glimpse of a tear in my dad's eye (but it was probably caused by some dusty irritant). I think I had something caught in my eye as well. That movie may have been the first where is was okay for guy to cry while watching a movie (not due to enduring a rom-com). And just a few years later, we had Burt Reynolds tearing it up in The Longest Yard. Ahhh, the 70s...

Anonymous on September 27, 2012


What about Rudy? Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

Lisa F. on September 28, 2012


Excellent suggestion - how did I forget Rudy?

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