Jeff Labrecque
October 10, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The best football movie pep talks

From ”Win one for the Gipper” in Knute Rockne: All American to Dennis Quaid’s halftime speech in The Express, gridiron oration is a film staple. Who had all the right moves?

1. GALE SAYERS (Billy Dee Williams) in Brian’s Song
Sayers dedicates the Bears’ game to cancer-stricken teammate Brian Piccolo (James Caan). Moving, but…they lose. A 25-yard gain.

2. COACH DEVINE (Chelcie Ross) in Rudy
Devine reminds the Notre Dame squad that no one defeats the Fighting Irish in ”our house.” But this is the same grouch who didn’t want Rudy to play. Unsportsmanlike conduct: Lose 15 yards.

3. PAUL CREWE (Burt Reynolds) in The Longest Yard
The imprisoned quarterback reminds his team of rogues about their fallen inmates. Simple. Heartfelt. Inspiring. A 30-yard gain.

4. COACH D’AMATO (Al Pacino) in Any Given Sunday
The embattled coach’s ”life’s a game of inches” soliloquy melds the best of Hemingway and Lombardi. A touchdown (from 40 yards).

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