Gary Gaines (Billy Bob Thornton) accepts the position of head coach at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas, unaware of the pressure and expectations that comes with the job. The town take pride in their team - and demand success. After a few easy wins, disaster strikes Coach Gaines when his star player Boobie Miles suffers a career-threatening injury ... and the team start losing. Can Gaines turn the team around to make it all the way to State?
Our Rating: 7/10 - Can't beat a good grid-iron movie!
Watchability: 6/10 - not as good as the TV series
Tagline: Hope comes alive on Friday nights
- Country: Germany, USA
- Language: English
- Runtime: 158
- Budget: $30,000,000
- Revenue: $61,188,085
- Production: Universal Pictures
The team narrowly lose in the final game of the divisionals, missing the chance to be champions and ending the season in a three-way tie with two other teams on equal points. The coaches of each team meet in a secret diner location for a televised coin-toss - where only two can progress to the play-offs. The Panthers make it through.
They easily beat other teams on their way until they reach the finals - against the formidable team from Dallas, where most of the starting line-up look like they've been kept back 7 or 8 years.
The first half is a disaster, and Dallas Carter are walking it. Coach Gaines rallies his men in his pep talk - the usual 'seize the moment' and 'don't let each other down' type stuff. After a shut-out in the 3rd, the Panthers start to play and claw back within a touchdown of victory.
There's a turnover, and the Panthers have a minute and a half to push 70yards towards the goal line.
They make it within a few yards, with seconds remaining, but a flag is thrown on the field. They quickly reset as the timer ticks down. Mike, QB1, takes the snap and runs with it but is dragged down just before he can reach the line.
Dallas Carter celebrate as Mike and his team lie on the turf, defeated. The kid with the bad dad meets his old man on the field, where his dad gives him his State Championship ring.
Back in Odessa the boys go their separate ways. We're quickly told what happens to the main players (which is hard to keep up!). Mike played football for a year in college, the rest of them went to college but never really left the area or did something that special. That's probably why it rattles through the title cards too quick to make much sense of them!
Next year, Coach Gaines took his team on a perfect run - all the way to the State Championship.