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April 23, 2014

Best Football Shows Ever

by Scott Harris, posted Feb 1st 2011 3:00PM
Football ShowsBaseball may be known as our national pastime, but there's no doubt what America's favorite sport really is: football.

Much of football's popularity can be traced to how well football translates to television, with tens of millions of people tuning in every weekend to enjoy the sport on every level from high school and college to the NFL.

So, considering how well suited football is for the small screen, it's a surprise just how few TV shows about football there have been over the decades. Sure, there are plenty of live shows with pundits and former players discussing next week's matchup or breaking down last week's game film, but we mean honest-go-goodness programming -- you know, like dramas, comedies, reality shows. Why haven't there been more about the ol' pigskin?

With that in mind -- and to help you pass the time before Super Bowl Sunday -- we thought we'd take a look back at those few shows that have managed to successfully combine America's two favorite things: football and television. So pass the popcorn, because we're about to redefine the meaning of "big hits":

Friday Night Lights'Friday Night Lights.' For the past five years, critics and savvy TV viewers around the country have been telling everyone who would listen that this drama about the high stakes of high school football was perhaps the best show on television. And now that it's coming to an end, we can finally say that they were absolutely right. The silver lining about season 5 being the show's final go-round? Now we can watch the entire saga on DVD.

Hard Knocks'Hard Knocks': HBO's documentary series about life in an NFL training camp has been around for nearly a decade, but the show gained new life and new pop culture relevance last fall thanks to the New York Jets and their verbose, off-color coach, Rex Ryan. The show may not always be pretty, but like the NFL itself, 'Hard Knocks' makes up for it with an abundance of in-your-face energy.

The Game'The Game': Returning after nearly two years, one cancellation and one network change, 'The Game' -- which began on The CW as a spin-off of 'Girlfriends' and recently found a second life on BET -- shattered ratings records when its fourth season began on Jan. 11. We're not surprised at its success though; the show's unique blend of humor, romance and off-field drama makes it the perfect show for couples to watch together.

Two a Days'Two-a-Days': MTV has had its share of success when it comes to reality shows (see: 'The Real World') but they outdid themselves with 'Two-a-Days,' which for two seasons followed the lives, hopes, successes and failures of a high school football team both on and off the field. The show may be gone now, but it still lives on DVD and makes the perfect reality companion to the scripted excellence of 'Friday Night Lights.'

The League'The League': What would the NFL be without fans? Or, to ask it another way, what would football be without players? Both questions are answered (sort of) on the FX comedy 'The League,' which follows a group of hardcore fantasy football players as they battle to the death through their on-field surrogates. You don't need to be a fantasy player yourself to appreciate the comedy, but let's face it, you probably are anyway.

Playmakers'Playmakers': It may be all but forgotten by everyone except the most hardcore football fans, but back in 2003, ESPN caused a major stir when they debuted their first scripted drama, 'Playmakers.' An unflinching look at the off-field antics of a group of big-shot gridiron pros, 'Playmakers' served up the seedy side of sports -- including everything from drugs and sex to steroids -- in a dramatic style verging on soap opera. It was a guilty pleasure that lasted only one season, apparently due to pressure from a very unamused NFL. The message sent to ESPN: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

'Coach': One of the most popular sitcoms of the 1990s, 'Coach' starred veteran actor Craig T. Nelson (currently headlining the NBC hit 'Parenthood') as the head coach of Minnesota State University's Screaming Eagles. While the show rarely ventured onto the field itself, the series is still fondly remembered for its look at the locker room antics of Coach Fox and his bumbling assistant Luther (Jerry van Dyke). If you're lucky, you can still catch 'Coach' in reruns today.

Football Wives'Football Wives': Think football players have it rough? That's nothing compared the drama their wives have to deal with. That's the premise of VH1's reality hit 'Football Wives,' which shows all the trials and tribulations associated with being the spouse of an NFL star. The show shouldn't be confused, however, with the ABC pilot of the same name that crashed and burned back in 2007 -- again, reportedly due to pressure from the NFL. No wonder there are so few good football shows!




Tell us: What's your favorite football-related show?

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19 Comments

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Daryl

sorry this is the last season of FNL, the way the season is about to end here on directv's 101 airing wed, its over, great season but its done, just liike medium ended, its somthing like that

February 06 2011 at 5:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary Ann & Mike

Who cares about football. This has to be the most over rated male indulgence in history. It promotes sexism, grandizes male brawn and promotes dominance. It is a pathway to fame and fortune exclusive to men and boys, not girls nor woman. It is institutionalized oppression.

February 06 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spongee1969

friday night light is the best to come along in years. football was a small part of the show,most of it was teens growing up plus the problems moms and dads had as far as i'm concerned it will greatly missed PLEASE THINK ABOUT ONE MORE YEAR

February 06 2011 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
I Walk Alone

Let me guess....none of you ever heard of "1st & 10"...OJ SImpson...Deebo....

Not only is it old school....it was 5 times better than ANY of those bullsh*t shows that were mentioned in the topic...I mean seriously...who the hell watches that crap?

February 04 2011 at 12:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crazy ray

As Arnold said in True Lies, "but they was all bad."

February 03 2011 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cubbies42657

What about Rudy?

February 02 2011 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jorgensensteve

Brian's Song and Forrest Gump were movies, not shows, although I would agree that both were great. I would go with Coach, hands down.

February 02 2011 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bcullen609

brians song

February 02 2011 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chicobombico

The best football show of all times that tied with the best colon cleansing of all times. Both are all sh - -

February 02 2011 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cbaufan

The best football show was FOREST GUMP

February 02 2011 at 5:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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