When you think of the best football movies of all-time, you probably think of Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, or Brian’s Song. Those are some of the best football movies ever, however, there is one movie that is so underrated that it is NEVER brought up the conversation.
That particular movie is The Replacements which happens to be one of my favorite sports movies. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: this film does not belong in the conversation with the incredible movies mentioned above but that does not mean it is not underrated.
As far as plots go, you can see the end of The Replacements coming from a mile away. This is a film that is incredibly simple in its execution and critics buried it because of that.
It’s a classic underdog story where NFL Players go on strike for a short time during the season, and the owners have to hire replacement players to keep the league afloat. That’s it. By its very nature, it is not trying to be the Citizen Kane of football movies. Instead, The Replacements is just an incredibly entertaining and hilarious film that you simply just enjoy watching.
If you don’t believe me, just watch the best overall scene from the movie that absolutely nails how to handle serious and moving subject matter while still being very funny:
After watching this group of ragtag athletes overcome the odds, I could not help but to see the similarities between them and figures from Kentucky Football. Of course, not all these comparisons are perfect, but the sheer number of these that come close is impressive.
Jared Lorenzen is Shane Falco
Falco is the replacement quarterback for the fictional NFL team the Washington Sentinels. He is the main character of the movie who just happens to be a left-handed quarterback who loves to scramble, has a rocket arm, and is also battling inner emotional demons.
While they may look different as far as body size, just look at their playing style. It’s essentially the same player (shout out to Keanu Reeves for being impressively athletic).
CJ Conrad is Brian Murphy
How does this sound? In the movie, Murphy is a tall tight-end with amazing hands who is arguably the most talented player on the team who some say has first-round talent.
Sounds exactly like CJ Conrad to me. In fact, Conrad might just be the first tight end taken in next year’s NFL draft. The big difference between these two players is that Murphy just happens to be deaf which is why he never got drafted and is a replacement player.
Also an amusing side note: Murphy wears No. 86 and Conrad wears No. 87. The comparison is just THAT close.
Kash Daniel is Danny Bateman
This was bar-none the easiest comparison for me to make. Bateman is the team’s middle linebacker who is completely insane on the football field. No, really. He is certifiably insane on the football field.
I’m convinced at this point that Kash Daniel and Bateman are essentially the same person. They wear the same number, play the same position, have the same attitude, same body size, and are very good football players. Just watch the scene above and compare that with this play that Daniel made against Tennessee:
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) November 12, 2016
Yupp. Same Guy.
Austin MacGinnis is Nigel Gruff
At first, the Sentinels are very, very bad on the offensive side of the football. So bad that their main scoring threat is their kicker who has incredible leg strength despite his overall average-looking physical appearance.
In fact, it was such a rarity when they scored that everyone made a huge deal when Gruff would make a field goal. It would be the high point of a few of their games.
Sadly, the resemblance here with UK Football is just painfully obvious. MacGinnis is an incredibly talented kicker despite his average-looking appearance and at times he was the lone bright spot on the team.
To make the comparison even more complete, they both hit huge game-winning field goals that were over 50 yards long in victories that helped change the course of their team’s seasons.
Bear Bryant is Jimmy McGinty
You might have already noticed this connection in the clips above, but as the head coach of the Sentinels McGinty (played by legend Gene Hackman) has a throwback approach to coaching.
Motivational speeches, common sense, and classic football ideologies develop his coaching schemes, and he gets all of these throw-away players to play their best possible football.
However, the most obvious comparison that can be seen between him and Bear Bryant is the fact that they both wear suits and old-fashioned hats while they are coaching. I would not be surprised at all if Hackman’s character is completely inspired by Bryant.
"If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards."
-Bear Bryant #MondayMotivation #TXHSFB #TexasHSFootball pic.twitter.com/cvHmTASNrY
— Texas HS Football (@texashsfootball) May 14, 2018
They are a few other connections (yes there are more) in the movie with UK Football, but hopefully this post will convince you to watch The Replacements and find these other similarities yourself. Give this movie a watch if you have not yet, and enjoy a simple sports movie that has a lot of heart and laughs.