Sign In

Get Pumped for the Super Bowl With 7 Streaming Football Movies & Shows

If you already have Hulu or Netflix, your pregame entertainment won't add to your party budget.
Updated

You don't have to be from the Northeast or the Northwest to be excited about Super Bowl XLIX. Gathering to watch the Patriots and the Seahawks face off is about so much more than football: it's about gathering together with friends, celebrating athletics, and eating obscene amounts of bratwurst. And don't forget the commercials!

If you're not planning on tailgating at University of Phoenix Stadium, you might need some other pre-game activities. Consider throwing one of these classic gridiron films or TV shows onto the big screen to get yourself and your guests in the mood for the big game. The benefit: If you already pay for Netflix and/or Hulu, it won't cost you a cent.

buy it once

Undefeated

Best For: Those who want a real-life Friday Night Lights story (and don't want to read the FNL book!).

A paternal coach turns around a team of fatherless, poverty-stricken teens at a small-town school. These and other tropes are well-worn, but this Oscar-winning documentary does them better than most. When coach Bill Courtney took over the program in Manassas, TN in 2003, the 17-man team was the laughing stock of the area. But the team was looking at the unthinkable — a playoff appearance — by the time a camera crew arrived in 2009. But this is more a story about hope than about football, as Courtney, who himself grew up without a father, tries to help three central senior players get a shot at a better life. Get the tissues ready.

Available On: Netflix


Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights

Best For: Those looking for an inspirational high school football show.

A paternal coach turns around a team of (sometimes) fatherless, poverty-stricken teens at a small-town school. Seeing a pattern here? Based on the movie based on the non-fiction book about big football in Texas, the much-loved and little-viewed television series is epic in its depictions of life, love, and loss in a small town.

Available On: Netflix


The League

The League

Best For: Those who want the exact opposite of sentimental and inspirational.

Had enough of inspirational sentiment in your football-themed entertainment? FX's (and now FXX's) The League is about as far on the other end of the spectrum as you can go. This hilarious and foul series follows the frenemy members of a fantasy football league as they stop at nothing for a win. You won't be rooting for the underdog here — these are the kind of people you will love to hate (and will secretly identify with).

Available On: Netflix


Rudy
al.com

Rudy

Best For: Those who want a tearjerker set in college football.

OK, back to heart-warming and inspirational. You know the based-on-truth story of Rudy Ruettiger: an undersized defensive end (Sean Astin) refuses to take "no" for an answer as he struggles to get on the legendary Notre Dame football squad. Don't pretend you don't cry every time at the jersey scene and at the final game.

Available On: Netflix


Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues

Best For: People feeling nostalgic.

This staple of late 90's teen culture still holds up. This is another portrayal of hope, desperation, and football-as-religion in small-town Texas. But there's no loving, supportive coach here, just Jon Voight as an unethical tyrant and James Van Der Beek as the second-string QB with a real chance at a future who stands up to him. More importantly, this film introduced the world to Ali Larter in a whipped cream bikini.

Available On: Netflix


Air Bud

Air Bud: Golden Receiver

Best For: Parents with little football fans who want in on the fun.

Thankfully, the only football-themed film in the Air Bud franchise appeared before the series devolved into antics silly even for films about sports-playing dogs. (Space Buddies? Santa Paws?) OK, even this sequel isn't winning any awards, but it's one of the few family football films we found streaming.

Available On: Netflix


Harvard Yale

Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29

Best For: Anyone reliving past glories with a sense of humor.

The game of 1968 remains one of the greatest in the 131-year Harvard-Yale football rivalry: underdog Harvard scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds to end in a tie. This documentary not only shows how one day can cast a lifelong shadow on its participants, but also contains commentary from such notable persons as Yale QB Brian Dowling, future NFLer and inspiration for B.D. in the comic "Doonesbury"; and Tommy Lee Jones, a Harvard offensive guard who went on to have an acting career. (I hear his roommate, Al Gore, became some sort of internet pioneer.)

Available On: Hulu


Did we miss any great football TV shows or movies that are available free or cheap online? Let us know in the comments below.


Features Editor

Originally from the Hudson Valley, Ben now lives in Brooklyn. He has an English degree from Harvard, and loves movies, theater, and cooking. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenDealNews and @BKGlaser.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
You might also like
Leave a comment!

or Register
Enter to win $2,000