Women in football movies: blink and you’ll miss them


Apparently, I harbor an inner

redneck. Earlier this week, I blogged about country music, and today I’m

blogging about football, both of which I like a great deal. I’m not

sure how all of this meshes with my musical theater–loving New York

ways, but I guess we all have our contradictions. Happily for me, my

girlfriend tolerates the country music (and the showtunes) and embraces

football. So we do OK. I’m mentioning all of this right now, of course,

because this Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday, and I will be rooting for my

hometown Giants. (Although my regular season team is the Pittsburgh


Despite the emergence of numerous

women’s professional football leagues over the years (you can check out a pretty

good history here), football is a guy sport. Women can

and do play, but next to nobody pays attention — including me. While

I generally like women’s sports more than men’s, I simply cannot get

into women’s pro football. But I do like women in football movies when

I can find them. Here are the very, very few.

1. Tami Maida —

Quarterback Princess (1983)

I’ll bet I wasn’t the only young

adolescent who developed a crush on Helen Hunt in her turn as high school quarterback

Tami Maida
. I had already seen her on Family, The Facts of

and that ABC Afterschool

Special, Desperate Lives, where she

jumps out the window while on angel dust. But in Quarterback Princess,

she played some football and crusaded for the rights of girl athletes

everywhere. Of course, she also made a point of how straight she was.

And how she didn’t like other boy things, like logging. But still, both

Helen Hunt and the real Tami Maida were pretty cool.

2. Molly McGrath —

Wildcats (1986)


was the

girls’ track coach who longed to take over the J.V. football team. (She

was brought up on football.) The sexist varsity coach arranges for her

to get a chance coaching a team in the slums. Against all odds,

she wins over her team of ne’er-do-wells, grows closer to her daughters

and stands up to her bullying (in a nerdy kind of way) ex-husband. Oh,

and wins the big game against the sexist coach’s team. Also, Swoosie Kurtz is in the movie. And Goldie Hawn raps

(à la “The Super Bowl Shuffle”) with her players over the closing

credits. “It’s the sport of kings/Better than diamond rings./Football.”

The only problem was that her football proficiency was not convincing.

3. Annabelle Farrell — The Replacements (2000)

Brooke Langton

plays Annabelle, the cheerleader/bar owner who is Keanu Reeves

support and inspiration in The Replacements.

There’s a little bit of Susan Sarandon/Bull Durham to her character,

but mainly I just included her here because she’s hot.

And that’s pretty much it for

movies I’ve seen. A friend told me that Kathy Ireland played

a replacement kicker in Necessary Roughness, and Cameron Diaz

was important in Any Given Sunday, but I haven’t seen those movies

and therefore cannot comment.

I can, however, comment on

a couple of TV characters who strut their football stuff.

1. Rudy “Sweet Feet” Huxtable

The Cosby


Rudy Suits Up

Back when Rudy was still little

and cute, she joined a peewee football team. Claire (played by the lovely

Phylicia Rashad
) was initially worried, but then, with the rest

of the family, got caught up in the “Sweet Feet” phenomenon when

Rudy turned out to be good.

I liked that there was no big

gender issue to this episode. The kids were all so little that girls

playing wasn’t a big deal. And she stopped playing because she got all

beat up in a game and it wasn’t so fun anymore. (Although quitting at

the first loss is not a great message for kids.) Mostly, it was just

Rudy being insanely cute in a football uniform.

2. Monica, Rachel and Phoebe


“The One With the Football”

Again, the girls got to actually

play football during this episode. The backstory was that Monica and

Ross had not been allowed to play football since they were adolescents

due to a nose-breaking incident in the quest for the “Geller Cup.”

Now, it’s Thanksgiving and

the gang is playing football in between turkey-basting breaks. Monica

is obsessively competing with Ross. Phoebe is discovering herself as

an athlete. And Rachel just wants someone to throw her the ball.

Here’s my favorite quote from the episode:

Rachel: We should definitely

play football more often. Maybe there’s like a league we could join

or something.

Phoebe: Isn’t there a national football league?

Chandler: Yes; yes, there is. They play on Sundays and Monday


Rachel: Oh, shoot! I work Monday nights.

And here’s a clip of all the


Any other football fans out

there? What movies and shows have I missed?

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