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''Invincible'' isn’t the only football fare this fall -- TV and movies are taking on the game this season

It's 92 degrees in Texas Stadium outside Dallas in late 2005, and the cast and crew of Invincible are watching their team lay down some fierce hits. After a particularly bruising tackle, director Ericson Core wanders over to sports coordinator Mark Ellis. ''Did you hate that or like it?'' Core asks. Ellis' response? ''I got sexually aroused by that hit!''

Hollywood, hoping for a similarly feverish (albeit less graphic) response from fans this fall, is rolling out four pigskin projects in the span of a single NFL season, including Gridiron Gang, We Are Marshall, and NBC's Friday Night Lights series, based on the 2004 movie. First out of the tunnel this weekend is Invincible — the story of a 30-year-old bartender named Vince Papale who walked onto the Philadelphia Eagles squad in 1976. Expect grit: ''We never really did study how to make a football movie,'' says producer Gordon Gray (who's scored in the past with flicks like The Rookie and Miracle) . ''We studied actual football.'' Star Mark Wahlberg — who did almost all of his own stunts — says there's no sense in looking for cinematic comparisons between Invincible and movies ''like Rudy. I mean, that guy played one play because everyone liked him. This guy went in there and earned it.'' Now, if Disney can only tear football geeks away from Madden '07 long enough to get them to theaters...

Originally posted Aug 25, 2006 Published in issue #894 Sep 01, 2006 Order article reprints
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