Before I dive in with this week’s views, I want to quickly touch base on something that bothered me over the weekend. Like any good sports editor, I pay attention to what’s going on locally and nationally, but this deals with the national side of things. I watched the Iowa State against Oklahoma State game because it was a huge game for one of our state colleges, much like Iowa against Wisconsin was, but what went on didn’t bother in that game.
How can ESPN get away with putting such boring and ill-prepared announcers on the air like they do with Tommy Tuberville. The past two games, Cyclone fans listened to this guy call them the Hawkeyes and generally speak against them in every single turn. I have never heard a guy be as one sided while calling as a game as I did with Tuberville on Saturday. Just terrible, awful announcing which is why ESPN is slowly withering away. Not because of what some might think as supporting the wrong players and taking stances on issues, but it’s the on air personalities that a lot of folks don’t care for.
Anyways, back to our scheduled topic for the week.
Last week I did the top fictional football coaches so why not stay with that concept? This week we’re going to take a look at some of the most successful fictional quarterbacks that the screens have seen. Sadly, your created players in Madden do not count and will not appear on this list. I’m sure a lot of us have thrown for 600 yards in a Madden game before.
Our first name on the list, but by no means the best, is Jonathon Moxon from Varsity Blues. Moxon is a backup when the film begins behind superstar Lance Harbor. Well, Harbor tears his knee in a game and its up to the second stringer to lead his team to a title. Moxon goes against what his coach wants on offense through most of the film, and what his dad wants for his son’s life which gave us the immortal ‘I don’t want your life’ line.
Moxon has a good arm with good ball placement. However, he does lead some his teammates on an all night drinking binge at a strip club the night before a game so one has to really question his intangibles and character. On the field, you could do a lot worse than Moxon.
Keeping it at the high school level, Vince Howard from Friday Night Lights thrives in today’s spread offense look. Howard, part of the East Dillion Lions in the last two seasons of the show, is more of an athlete than he is a true quarterback, but his moxie and playmaking ability make up for it. With all due respect to Matt Saracen, also from Friday Night Lights, Howard didn’t have as much talent around him to win a State Championship.
Plus there was an interesting storyline in the final season with Howard’s dad showing up and becoming a Lavar Ball type parent. Added an extra layer to a good football player with, well, character concerns. If works of fiction tell us anything, some of the best high school signal callers come with major character concerns. Howard was a trouble maker and headed for jail before football. Football helped the young man become a champion and a top flight recruit, but you know those scouts dig for all the dirt.
Before we move out of the high school ranks, just a shout out to Ronnie Bass from Remember the Titans. While not fictional, he was a great character in the movie and did a great job under center.
From high school we go to… the prison league? Yes, the prison league for an unusual situation. Paul Crewe from The Longest Yard had a good pro career, it was mentioned a few times, but lost his job due to point shaving. Crewe finds himself in a prison with the place having a semi-pro team and it devolves to Crewe starting a team with the inmates to take on the guards.
I love football stories of a guy who has to take a ragtag group of guys and turn them into a functional team in a short time span. In today’s films, and the awful remake with Adam Sandler, it turns to a montage to help pass the time. Regardless, Crewe is a heck of a leader despite nearly falling to the same trap as what got him hated outside of the prison walls. He shows how great of a leader, and player he is, by getting the team back on his side to upset the guards. Great passer and plus it was Burt Reynolds at his peak.
Three games is not a huge sample size but Shane Falco in The Replacements is a guy who takes advantage of his second chance as a professional. Falco flamed out, as it was noted many times through the movie, as a guy who couldn’t handle the pressure, and left football to clean boats. Yes, he cleans boats. We see Falco start off as a guy with no confidence under center and get to see that progression as the film carries on.
Falco and head coach Jimmy McGinty have a great chemistry that helps drive Falco forward to becoming what he could’ve been all of those years ago. Falco has questionable receivers in the game, a great tight end that’s deaf, and some offensive line issues. He ends up carrying the team in the final half of the last game to complete his Kurt Warner style resurrection as a football player.
Flash Gordon gets a nod just because, well, he saves the universe despite playing for the New York Jets.
There are other great fictional quarterbacks so these are just some of the numerous ones out there.