NFL Guru

September 1, 2009 2:37 AM

Let's Go To The Movies!

Whether it was "Any Given Sunday," "The Last Boy Scout," "North Dallas Forty," or "The Longest Yard," football movies have a special place in the action, comedy and drama genre, but have you wondered what movies football players like to watch?

A recent survey of Miami Dolphins players shed some light on the matter as the majority chose the action-packed "Transformers 2" as their favorite movie of the summer. Cornerback Will Allen was a fan of the Liam Neeson thriller, "Taken," and second-year defensive end Phillip Merling proved to be somewhat clairvoyant when he picked "G.I. Joe" just days before it opened in theaters.

Head coach Tony Sparano treated the entire team to a matinee showing of "G.I. Joe" this afternoon as a reward for their hard work through 33 practices and three preseason games, although he would have preferred a football flick like the one he took the team to last year, "The Express," based on the true story of 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. But without a comparable movie out there, Sparano opted to cater to the primal instincts of his players.

"This thing here I just figured there'd be a lot of things blowing up and all those things so I thought it was pretty good," he said. "It had a nice looking woman in it too for them so I think all of those things probably helped."

Of course Sparano is more comfortable in his office watching film of practice and the preseason games than sitting in a crowded movie theater with a tub of popcorn on his lap, and he is going to be pulling a lot of late-night film sessions between now and Saturday afternoon. That's when Miami and the 31 other NFL teams have to submit their opening day 53-man roster, and the Dolphins currently sit at 66, so 13 more moves have to be made. Thursday night's preseason finale at New Orleans against the Saints will help Sparano make some of those final decisions.

Switching gears but staying on theme, I just got my fill for sappy and syrupy romantic comedies after watching the Monday Night Football preseason game between the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans. Fortunately I missed the first 30 minutes, but I need someone to tell me that it wasn't even more of a Brett Favre love fest than I suffered through for two-and-a-half hours. Knowing Jon Gruden as well as I do after covering him his first three seasons in Tampa Bay, I shouldn't have been surprised at the amount of praise he was going to lavish on the QB he picked up at the airport when he was an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers, But Ron Jaworski, Mike Tirico and now the guys in the Sportscenter studio continued to blow him virtual kisses.

As for the rest of the news around the league, here are my four downs:

1. Tedy Bruschi retiring signals the end of an era defensively for the New England Patriots as it comes on the heels of safety Rodney Harrison's retirement. Bruschi was a throwback player who made an inspiring recovery from a serious health scare and will make an excellent coach.

2. Tom Brady's shoulder injury, Matt Cassel's leg injury and Matt Schaub's sprained ankle tonight should serve as a serious warning to the owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that they better think long and hard about this proposal to extend the regular season to 18 games.

3. Wasn't it less than two years ago that the New York Giants were on top of the world after upsetting the previously unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and touting their closeness as an organization and ability to get along as the reason behind their success? Try reminding two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who reportedly got into a spat with new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan before this morning's practice and stormed out of the facility. Maybe the old Tom Coughlin needs to get into his grill and make it clear that won't be tolerated.

4. Imagine how Vince Lombardi or George Halas would have dealt with the current Twitter phenomenon and use of other social media by their players. As opposed to the perceived hard line approach taken by the league today in allowing the use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media by players, coaches and football operations staff only up to 90 minutes before kickoff and after the game following traditional media interviews, I could just see a pile of smashed Blackberries and cell phones next to the showers. "You tweeted what?" Lombardi would yell. "Now you're just a simple twit without a spot on my roster, pal!"

Until next time, this is the NFL Guru bidding you a wonderful evening.

A Member Of