Couch Potato: The Fall Sports Edition

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Leaves, commence your turning. Journalists everywhere are staggering out of the August news desert like Peter O'Toole in a white turban. So with corn chips in one hand and a six of cheap beer in th' other, nudge aside your newspaper one last time and scream at the screen for Burt in The Longest Yard (1974). It's the good Burt, pre-hairpiece, in a true kickoff classic about torn jerseys, broken bones and an end run toward redemption in a down-south Florida pen. Sporting Ray Nitschke for authenticity and Richard Kiel for spectacle, it's quite simply the best football movie (with the most football) you'll ever see.

More Burt? Try 1978's semi-good Semi-Tough, with a full load of semi-talents, from Brian Dennehy to Jill Clayburgh to Carl Weathers, with Paul Hornung and sport scribe Dick Schaap as themselves. Throw in 1979's winning North Dallas Forty, and you've got pro football and the disco decade covered like a wideout with a bad hammy.

Fall is nigh. Plop down in the recliner, pop a Pabst and repeat after me, in your best "frozen-tundra-of-Lambeau-field" voice: Jerry Maguire was not a football movie. Jerry Maguire was not a football movie.