James Mangold, the man who directed the 2013 superhero movie “The Wolverine,” is in talks to direct a biopic about NFL football legend Joe Namath. Of course, Broadway Joe remains known to this day as the man who brazenly guaranteed that his AFC football team, the New York Jets, would become the first AFC team to win the Super Bowl back in 1969. It made him a huge celebrity and a beloved New York icon in the world of professional sports.
This isn’t the first time that Mangold has taken on a biopic, as he also directed the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line.” That movie received critical acclaim and an impressive five Oscar nominations, winning two. It proves that Mangold knows how to bring a real life story to the big screen in an entertaining manner. Here is a look at some other true life football stories that this new Joe Namath biopic might be compared.
Joe Namath started playing football professionally in 1965, the exact same year that Gale Sayers started playing. Sayers retired from the game early due to a mixture of injuries and the devastating death of his close friend and teammate Brian Piccolo from cancer. “Brian’s Song” came out the year of Sayers’ retirement and tells the story of the friendship between Piccolo and Sayers and how Poccolo’s death affected his friends and teammates. It remains one of the most heartbreaking guy movies ever made.
While often dismissed because of historical inaccuracies, “Rudy” remains a movie listed on many people’s list of favorite sports movies of all time. Sean Astin stars as Rudy Ruettiger, an undersized defensive back who chooses to try to play for his favorite team at Notre Dame. While he was successful in high school, he wasn’t big enough to make the team at Notre Dame but convinces them to give him a chance on the practice team. When his teammates stand up for him, the coach finally allows Rudy to dress for the Irish’s final game and Rudy finally realizes his dream.
Just like “Rudy,” the story in “Invincible” features a player setting out to realize his dream of playing football against all odds. In this movie, Mark Wahlberg stars as Vince Papale, a 30-year-old bartender. When the Philadelphia Eagles pulls a publicity stunt to allow a local talent to win a spot on the roster through an open tryout, Papale sets out to try to make the team. He ends up impressing the Eagles and makes the roster, fulfilling his dreams and played for two seasons with the Eagles.