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Long before became the pastimes that kept most people entertained most of the time, sports satiated spectators' hunger for excitement. With its inherent drama, thrills and surprises, sport is at least as much fun to watch as it is to participate in, and the dramatic characteristics of sport translate easily into dramatic stories. Filmmakers have long recognized the potential for engaging stories based on sports-related subjects, and the history of sports movies stretches back nearly all the way to the beginning of cinematic history.

Just about any sport is a suitable subject for a sports movie, and just about all of them have been featured in at least one film. Fast-paced team sports, such as soccer or hockey, or highly dramatic sports, such as boxing or mountain climbing, are obvious choices for the film spotlight, but whatever the sport, if it's got an element of competition about it, it's fair game. Competitive cheerleading, surfing, golf, billiards, ping pong - they've all hit the big screen at one time or another.

American football, though, is arguably the most popular subject of sports movies. The game is extremely complex and action-packed at the same time, and its stories often fall into the inspirational underdog-makes-good mold.