91% of people can't name these American football movies from one image! Can you?

By: J. Scott Wilson

If you think Matthew McConaughey only plays stoners, wild men and other odd roles, this movie will surprise you. He gives a nuanced, intense performance as Jack Lengyel, the real-life coach who led the devastated Marshall team in 1971 after a plane crash killed almost the entire team in 1970.

This brutal, football-based prison movie is one of the best performances of Burt Reynolds' career. It has its comedic moments, but scenes like one convict being taken out by an exploding light bulb left in his cell will haunt you.

The Rock showed his softer side and a good deal of comedic gift in this heartwarmer. He plays a successful NFL player who finds out he has an 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship who one day shows up on his doorstep.

High school football is huge in Texas, and no film before or since has captured the culture around it better. The TV series that evolved from the movie was just as good, raking in Emmys left and right.

Robin Williams plays a mild-mannered banker who can't let go of the great failure of his high school football career. He's determined to find a way to make it right, and enlists old playing buddy Kurt Russell to make it happen.

Oliver Stone brings his blend of bombast and investigative-reporter narrative style to the game of football. Real-life NFL star Jim Brown stars as Montezuma Monroe.

Denzel Washington anchors this true story about high school integration in Virginia in the early '70s. He plays the coach of the majority-black school who is made the head coach of the integrated school and leads the new team to success.

Jim Thorpe's story is one of my favorite sports tales. After winning both the pentathlon and decathlon in the Olympics, he's stripped of his medals on a technicality. He then goes on to become a star in the NFL in spite of discrimination against his Native American heritage.

Yes, Keanu Reeves has a football movie on his resume, and it's actually not a bad one. Set during a fictitious NFL strike, Gene Hackman plays the coach of a team that hires Reeves as a "scab" quarterback.

This romantic comedy is set in 1925, when the Great Depression threatened to close the doors on the sport of professional football before it got started. The title refers to the leather helmets worn at the time, which by today's standards seem like a ridiculously small amount of protection.

Remember when Tom Cruise was a hot young movie star? This, coming out the same year as "Risky Business," made Cruise the top of the teen-movie heap.

Here's Cruise at the other end of the football spectrum, playing a somewhat sleazy agent. Cuba Gooding Jr. won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role as one of Cruise's clients.

Warren Beatty gives one of his best performances as a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams (yes, they used to play there, before they were in St. Louis) who is almost killed in a car accident. An overzealous angel plucks his soul from his body too early, but before the error can be rectified, the body is cremated. Hilarity and romance ensue.

A high school football star moves to a small Southwest U.S. town with his mother, since his father has been put in jail. His father's status leads to discrimination against the young man, including being kept on the bench by the football coach. The ghost of Jim Thorpe appears to mentor the boy, and of course all ends well.

Not only is this one of the best football movies ever made, it's also the movie most likely to make a grown man cry. Billy Dee Williams and James Caan play Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo, running backs competing with each other for playing time who become friends, especially when Piccolo is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Terry O'Quinn, long before he was knife-nut Locke in "Lost" or the mysterious government man in "Millennium," played a hard-nosed high school football coach in this heartwarmer. A teenage drifter finds redemption and success playing for a small-town football team

A football movie with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey as leads should have been a sure bet, but this one barely made back its budget. That might be because the scenes of Matt as a football hero come so early in the movie, and the rest is pretty talky.

This movie chronicles the career of Ernie Davis, the first African-American player to win the Heisman Trophy. Bonus points for an appearance by Clancy Brown, better known as The Kurgan and various other bad guys.

A coach hired to turn around the football program at a Texas university finds out that the program is on NCAA probation, so he has no scholarships. He ends up with a 34-year-old quarterback, a female kicker and a martial arts expert at running back.

Sandra Bullock took home a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy in this one. Also of note, she was nominated for Most Helpful White Person at the All Def Movie Awards.

Ed O'Neill and Rick Moranis play brothers who coach peewee football teams. They work out their sibling rivalry by using their pint-sized footballers as surrogates. As family relationship mechanics go, that's not the worst idea.

Ask any Eagles fan what his favorite football movie is, and this will probably be his answer. It's based on the true story of Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender who answer coach Dick Vermeil's call for open tryouts and makes the team.

I've never been a fan of Adam Sandler, with his befuddled man-boy expression and simplistic characters, but this movie is hilarious. That's mostly due to Kathy Bates, as Sandler's foulmouthed mother.

Goldie Hawn, recently back to comedy with Amy Schumer, stars in this one as a high school track coach who signs on as her school's football coach. From there, it follows the familiar arc of failure to success.

If you think of Ed Harris as the menacing Man in Black in HBO's "Westworld," this movie will be a revelation. He gives one of the best performances of his career as a high school coach who befriends the title character, played by Cuba Gooding Jr., a mentally challenged man who turns out to have a talent for football.

Yep, even John Wayne made a football movie! This one, of course, doesn't focus so much on the game play as on The Duke's heroic investigation of a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic school where he's the head coach.

Had he lived, Michael Clarke Duncan likely would have played the role of wise high school football coach many more times, but this is his only effort. It's based on the true story of Sirr Parker, a young man abandoned by his mother and raised by his grandmother who's taken under the wing of Duncan's character.

Speaking of guys who'll play a coach a lot of times, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson takes on the coach mantle here as the leader of a team of at-risk youth. It's based on a true story, and the real-life success a lot of the young men have experienced is inspiring.

One of the oldest football films, this one tells the story of the legendary player and coach. Something you may not know: Rockne and a teammate at Notre Dame invented the forward pass!

Only in 1986 could you have gotten Winona Ryder, Charlie Sheen and Corey Haim together in a football flick that's actually a teen romantic comedy. Look also for Courtney Thorne-Smith in her pre-90210 days.

Before he played Samwise Gamgee, Sean Astin set eyes to watering and noses to honking with this inspirational movie. It's been called one of the greatest recruiting films ever made for the Notre Dame football program.

This is more of an ABC Afterschool Special in movie form than a real football flick. A star quarterback learns that two of his players are bullying a new kid, who just happens to be a foster child, and he must make The Big Decision on whether to turn them in or keep quiet and win the championship.

More than a decade after "Brian's Song," James Caan returns to the cinematic turf. This time, he's a college coach who learns the dark side of pushing his team to do better in order to save his own job.

This flick, allegedly based on the Dallas Cowboys team of the early '70s, gives a lightly comedic look at the freewheeling life on and off the field of star players. The quarterback role played by Mac Davis was originally offered to real-life Dallas QB "Dandy" Don Meredith.

Even small schools like Wake Forest can have recruiting pitches disguised as movies. This one tells the inspiring story of Jon Abbate, who led the Demon Deacons to their best season ever in honor of his 15-year-old brother, who had died young.

The Marx Brothers take to the gridiron in one of the funniest football movies ever made. Groucho plays a professor who recruits Harpo and Zeppo to rescue his school's failing football program.

Even with Burt Reynolds along again, this time as the convict team's coach, this movie lacks the impact of the original. Sandler gets the comic notes right, but he doesn't have the intensity to pull off the serious parts and the movie dawdles.

Dennis Quaid gives one of the most nuanced performances of his career as a Louisiana football great whose star fades, and who finds stardom isn't all it's cracked up to be. Jessica Lange is fantastic as his supportive wife, who tries to ride the waves of her husband's rise and fall.

This film is a religious sermon thinly disguised as a football movie. The coach at a Christian school learns he's about to be dismissed, and he calls out to the Big Coach in the Sky for the winning play.

Paul Walker, before he became fast and furious, stars as a starting quarterback whose season-ending injury leads his high school team to depend on an irreverent second-stringer played by James Van Der Beek. The plot's fairly predictable, but all the young actors turn in great performances.

George Plimpton was famous for putting himself in dangerous situations in the interest of both a good story and a good laugh, and never more so than in "Paper Lion." Alan Alda plays the writer who posed as a rookie quarterback for an NFL team and was allowed to carry off the ruse in training camp.

This movie seems a bit dated now, with the first woman being signed to play kicker for a Division II NCAA college, but in 1983 it was funny. A family moves to an Oregon town, and the daughter (Oscar-winner Helen Hunt) wants to play quarterback for the football team.

There's a good reason why this is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite movies. Actually, there are several. Of course it's got Bruce Willis as a jaded cop and Damon Wayans as a washed-up football player, but it's also full of humor, brutality and crackling dialogue.

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Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

American football movies are known for portraying players with grit and devotion in overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles or recovering from critical defeat. Take this quiz to see how many American football movies you can score from their screenshots.

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