- September 28, 2017
Tailgating, sportsmanship, friends and family, and a night under the stadium lights. Who doesn’t love football season? The competitive spark that breeds passion and exuberance is contagious from the moment you walk onto the football field. The stories that come from these experiences are often filled to the brim with drama and human emotion. That’s what makes the sport, and others like it, such a great setting for films. We have seen a number of Christian football movies over the years as faith so often intersects with the world of sports through inspirational coaches, extreme health scenarios, and communities in need of healing. As we find ourselves in the middle of this season of competition, it only makes sense to list the Christian football movies you need to watch to fully engage this time of year.
“Facing the Giants”
With a string of hits under the company’s belt now, we may not remember just how much of a juggernaut Sherwood Pictures’ 2006 film was. The film made over $10 million at the box office with a reported budget of only $100,000 or so. That means the film made 100 times its initial budget for those of you keeping score at home. If you’re one of the few in the Christian community who didn’t see the film in theaters, the story follows the surprisingly successful season of a high school football team and the coach who “prayed for rain.” In spite of athletics often coming down to the numbers on a scoreboard, the film suggest we do our very best for the Lord and leave the results to Him.
This 2015 films covers a lot of themes that we find in sports films today. For starters, “Woodlawn” is based on a true story. It only makes sense for a slice of life that has so many dramatic moments to often be the inspiration for our movies. It is also a film about race. At just about any point in our history since Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947, there have been stories of faith and/or sports bringing about healing and unity. “Woodlawn” is the story of one integrated Alabama high school’s journey from hatred and division to an unbreakable bond in Christ.
“Greater” - Christian Football Movies
Another inspiring story comes from the true-life account of Brandon Burlsworth. The offensive lineman who went from a walk-on at the University of Arkansas and fought his way to the NFL is inspiring for a number of reasons. Though his story doesn’t end in the most Hollywood of fashions, his impact on his town, family, and teammates is more than most of us could ever hope for. As one of the newer Christian football movies, the quality of the film is pretty impressive for a feature that only cost a few million dollars to make. There are familiar character actors like Neal McDonough, Nick Searcy, and M.C. Gainey and the film gains access to a lot of the Arkansas athletic complex and town. SEC football fans will definitely enjoy seeing some of the popular teams but the story of Burlsworth’s faith and passion are what make the film what it is.
As we all know, life isn’t always fair. Sometimes the biggest setbacks come from out of nowhere. In this film, a popular wide receiver with college dreams is suddenly blinded after a medical emergency. With the support of his community and his faith, the young man must learn how to accept his new situation and continue on to a better life. Despite losing the ability to see, his coach believes that he can still be a part of the team and lead them to a winning season. This is yet another of the Christian football movies based on true stories and viewers get a special bonus at the end of the film as several real-life characters make an appearance. This film is available on Netflix for the time being so check it out.
“When the Game Stands Tall”
Another story pulled from the headlines, this film about a Catholic high school team chronicles the journey from unstoppable to unwinnable. Starring Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”), the film isn’t just about a team that won 151 games in a row, but what happened after they finally lost. When winning is everything you’re bound to lose sight of yourself and place your identity in something that will never last. “When the Game Stands Tall” is about the coach and players who learn this the hard way and decide to make a change.
“The 5th Quarter”
Like “Greater,” this film deals with both the loss of a young person and college athletics. The movie tells the true-life story of one season at Wake Forest where an entire school came together to honor the memory of one of their own. Compared to some of the other films on this list, “The 5th Quarter” focuses a bit more on family struggles and the grieving process, but there’s plenty of football to enjoy as well. Relive the story of an amazing season at Wake Forest that nobody saw coming and the inspiration behind it all.
One of the few fictional stories from this list of Christian football movies, “Hometown Legend” is adapted from the Jerry B. Jenkins novel of the same name. A football town that hasn’t seen a winning season in years is brought back to life when the high school’s winningest coach comes out of retirement for one more shot at glory. Since most of today’s sport films revolve around topics that may be hard to swallow, it’s nice to have one throwback film that is simply about believing in your team and bringing a community together.
Speaking of throwbacks, here’s one of the earliest Christian football movies that just so happens to feature several famous athletes. NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White stars as a fictional version of himself as an athlete who decides to take on the task of teaching at his local high school. Made in the 90’s, the story follows a popular trend at the time in taking on the gang problems of the inner city. The film has cameos from several celebrities like MC Hammer, Brett Favre, and others. Given when it was made, you’ll have to forgive some of the cheesy material, but you might just like it.
Combined with some of the more family friendly sports films out there, these Christian football movies are more than enough to get you through the coming season. Sports are a wonderful thing in their own right, but they become even better when we can see the inspirational stories that have come out of everyday people’s experiences.
One of the many aspects of Christian entertainment that we seek to celebrate here at the K-LOVE Fan Awards are the achievements made by Christian athletes who are helping their communities. The K-LOVE Fan Awards are the perfect occasion to see many of the genre’s biggest artists and witness amazing performances. Find out how your family can enjoy the ultimate fan experience by clicking below.