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?