March Madness:  Hollywood Style (Part 1 in the series)

Arizona Sports News online

March Madness is upon us and so will be our obsession with seedings, bubble teams, bracket busters and Cinderella teams.  So, I thought it would be fun to create a different kinds of March Madness, one based upon all-time sports movies.  The best part about it is that the entire “tournament” is completely subjective and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

The selection committee, comprised solely of me, has scoured film history over the past 50 years and has come up with the seeds and regions. The Championship Game will be shown a Radio City Music Hall in NYC.  As we move along the road to the Final Four, results will be posted and the match-up analysis will be included.  So let’s begin with the announcement of the field of 64.  

First, the East Region.  This region has some of the all-time classics, and is loaded with films involving the fight game.  These films will be battered and bruised during regional play.

Raging Bull (Boxing, 1980)    # 1 Seed

Cinderella Man (Boxing, (2005)   #16 Seed


Rocky (Boxing, 1976)  # 2 Seed

Eddie (Basketball, 1996)  #15 Seed


Miracle (Hockey, 2004) # 3 Seed

Invictus (Rugby, 2009)  #14 Seed


For Love of the Game (Baseball, 1999) #4 Seed

Paper Lion (Football, 1968) #13 Seed 


Chariots of Fire (Track, 1981)  #5 Seed

42 (Baseball, 2013)  #12 Seed


The Replacements (Football, 2000)  #6 Seed

Little Giants (Football, 1994) #11 Seed


The Hurricane (Boxing, 1999) #7 Seed

The Fighter (Boxing, 2010)  #10 Seed


He Got Game (Basketball, 1998) #8 Seed

Downhill Racer (Skiing, 1969)  #9 Seed

We turn to the Mid-West Region, which many are calling the most stacked region of them all.  Even the runner-up from this region would seriously challenge the champions of the other regions.

Hoosiers (Basketball, 1986)  # 1 Seed

Breaking Away (Cycling 1979)  #16 Seed


Rudy (Football, 1993)  #2 Seed

Blue Chips (Basketball, 1994) # 15 Seed


The Natural (Baseball, 1984) #3 Seed

Space Jam (Basketball, 1996)   #14 Seed


Field of Dreams (Baseball, 1989) #4 Seed

Eight Men Out (baseball, 1988) #13 Seed


Rookie of the Year (Baseball, 1993)   #5 Seed

Little Big League (Baseball, 1994)  #12 Seed


A League of Their Own (Baseball, 1992)  #6 Seed

The Rookie (Baseball, 2002)  #11 Seed


Brian’s Song (Football, 1971)  #7 Seed

Mighty Ducks (Hockey, 1992)  #10 Seed


Major League (Baseball, 1989)  #8 Seed

Slap Shot (Hockey, 1977)  #9 Seed

We turn to the South Region, which has a combination of comedy and drama, and should have some interesting match-ups:

Remember The Titans (Football, 2000)  #1 Seed

One on One (Basketball 1977) #16 Seed


Bull Durham (Baseball, 1988)  #2 Seed

Vision Quest (Wrestling, 1985)  #15 Seed


Tin Cup (Golf, 1996)  #3 Seed

All The Right Moves (Football, 1983)  #13 Seed


Friday Night Lights (Football, 2004)  #4 Seed

Varsity Blues (Football, 1999)  #13 Seed


Ali (Boxing, 2001)  #5 Seed

Cool Runnings (Bobsledding, 1993)  #12 Seed


Bang The Drum Slowly (Baseball, 1973) #6 Seed

The Wrestler (Wrestling, 2008)  #11 Seed


Days of Thunder (Auto Racing, 1990) #7 Seed

Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby (Auto Racing, 2006)  # 10 Seed


We Are Marshall (Football, 2006) #8 Seed

Glory Road (College Basketball, 2006)  #9 Seed

And lastly, the West Region.  There are no real powerhouses but there is depth from top to bottom.

Jerry Maguire (Football, 1996)  #1 Seed

Mystery, Alaska (Hockey, 1999)  # 16 Seed


Happy Gilmore (Golf, 1996)  #2 Seed

Any Given Sunday (Football, 1999)  #15 Seed


Karate Kid (Karate, 1984)  #3 Seed

Bad News Bears (Baseball, 1976)  #14 Seed


Moneyball (Baseball, 2011)  #4 Seed

Seabiscuit (Horse Racing 2003)   #13 Seed


Longest Yard (Football, 1974)  #5 Seed

Million Dollar Baby (Boxing, 2004)   #12 Seed


Coach Carter (Basketball, 2005)  #6 Seed

White Men Can’t Jump (Basketball, 1992)  #11 Seed


The Blind Side (Football 2009)  #7 Seed

The Sandlot (Baseball. 1983)  #10 Seed


Caddyshack (Golf, 1980) #8 Seed

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (Dodgeball, 2004)  #9 Seed

Bubble Misses

The following films were on the bubble but are on the outside looking in:  

“61”- the story of Roger Maris, which just was not that good a film; 

“Cobb”, starring Tommy Lee Jones in the title role and would have appeared to be a shoe-in with a big star and a colorful baseball character but just missed the mark;

“Leatherheads”- a film about the early days of football starring George Clooney, which did not take itself serious enough for us to take it seriously;

“Radio”- starring Cuba “Show Me The Money” Gooding, Jr, largely because he already qualifies for another football movie; 

 “Invincible”- from 2006 starring Mark Walhberg as former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, which just couldn’t finds its place in the field of 64;

“Foxcatcher”- a wrestling movie starring Steve Carrell as the murderous John DuPont, which misses the tournament only because it has not yet been around long enough to build its body of work and stand the test of time; 

 “North Dallas Forty”- a 1979 football film that missed the cut because I can’t stand the Cowboys; and

“Blades of Glory”- starring Will Ferrell as an figure skating star, largely because figure skating is hard to consider in an all-time sports category.

So, there you have it.  Our Field of 64, dominated by football and basketball, but including a wide variety of sports genres.   Over the coming weeks, round by round analysis and results will be posted until we can arrive at the top of this impressive field.  Grab your popcorn and let the viewings begin.