There comes a time in every man’s life when he learns that the minor heart attack he thought he had was actually indigestion. And how lucky a man should be when he can rejoin his Texas State Armadillos in the last game of the season against the Texas Colts. This man is Coach Ed Gennero (Hector Elizondo), the movie Necessary Roughness. Yes, I finished watching it today.
I had stopped watching the film after Paul Drake (Scott Bakula) gets into a fight at Billy Bob’s. I thought that an amount of narrative momentum would be lost, but it wasn’t the case. A couple of scenes after I picked up where I left off, Kathy Ireland made her appearance and all was well. She plays Lucy Draper, TSU futboler-turned-gridiron-kicker; and she looks wonderful in uniform. Out of five game sequences and as many practice scenes, the last game was most memorable not only because of plot significance but also because it reminded me of NFL Films style footage sans slow-motion.
Necessary Roughness isn’t as cohesive as Wild Cats but it’s more fun to watch for some reason. Maybe it’s the two-liners (“We’re consenting adults,” “So were Bonnie and Clyde”), the random liners (“Your Texas State Marching Band presents their tribute to gun racks and open beverage containers, which is only legal in Texas”), or that Paul Drake’s journalism assignment reads like Cliffnotes of the sports film:
“For those who only read the stat sheets, Ed Gennero’s return to coaching with the Texas State Fighting Armadillos was marred by a 65-to-0 shellacking by the visiting Southwest Texas Bobcats at the TSU Stadium on Saturday. But this…wasn’t about one football game. It was a test of one man’s ideals. The Armadillos did the school proud and they did that man proud. Ed Gennero. He won because they played.”
There’s a romance storyline between Drake and the journalism teacher (Harley Jane Kozak) that I found more entertaining than the football half of the film.
Per the ending credits, Allan Graf–football coordinator extraordinaire–was the second unit director, the stunt coordinator, and the bartender in Billy Bob’s. Vince Costello was the football technical advisor. The producers thanked the University of North Texas (and Chancellor Alfred F. Hurley), NFL Films, the University of Kansas, and Southwest Texas State University.
Click here to see images from the film.
Did Atlanta Magazine always have a yearly football edition? Hmmm. Their August issue this year includes a story about GSU’s debut football program, Cross Keys football, Herschel Walker, and Conan O’Brien on TBS. Be sure to get it from your local bookseller or download it for the price of an itunes song.