Synopsis: A documentary that follows the Manassas Tigers football team, a severely underfunded and underprivileged football team -- who were even hired out as a practice team for more successful schools -- as they reverse their fortunes, thanks to coach Bill Courtney.
Production: The Weinstein Company
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
113 min

Let's see here.

Starting right guard, shot.

No longer in school.

Starting linebacker, shot,

no longer in school.

Two players fighting right

in front of the coach when he's

trying to make things work out.

Starting center, arrested for shooting

somebody in the face with a BB gun.

Most coaches, that

would be pretty much

a career's worth

of crap to deal with.

I think that sums up

the last two weeks for me.

And you know what?

I know damn good and well

what I sign up for every year.

And I keep coming back,

because I love this program,

and I feel very responsible

to make sure that you guys

have a football season

that you can be proud of.

And I will kill myself

to make that happen.

This is our season.

I don't care what happens.

Back in the day,

when the Firestone plant

was up and working, the North Memphis

area used to be a booming place.

There was industry and there

were people in homes.

Since the plant closed, that

neighborhood just went to heck.

I mean the people moved out,

the jobs were gone.

As a result the football

program fell off the map.

When I came, the winning scores

were very, um...

I don't remember winning.

For almost ten to 14 years,

we never won a football game.

We'd play ten games.

And we ended up 0-10.

Oh, you know when you

see Manassas on the schedule,

oh, we gonna beat them.

We don't even gotta

practice hard.

Bookie, come say hello to me!

Are you actually here

to work out today?

- I am!

- I am so proud of you...

What's up?

A freshman... 15 years old.

If it hadn't

been for Coach Courtney,

I don't know where

we would be right now.

He's what got

the kids so excited

about the opportunities...

and the possibilities.

He's the one that's got them

headed in that direction.

The foundation

has got to be a solid platform

that you can stand on and

speak to these kids and say,

"This is the way

you build yourself.

If you build yourself this way

and handle yourself this way

and have character.

You get to play football."

And winning will

take care of itself

because young men of character

and discipline and commitment

end up winning in life.

And they end up

winning in football.

Well, when you flip it,

and the foundation of what

you're doing is football,

and you hope all that

other stuff follows...

Well, then you think

football builds character.

Which it does not.

Football reveals character.

All right,

shut up and listen up.

Where's Big Kenneth?

Has anybody seen Big Kenneth?


All right, listen up.

Everybody imagine the state

of Tennessee on a map. OK?

Way over in the corner, you got

Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Toward the middle

you got Nashville.

And you come on down here.

Everybody outside of Memphis,

do you know what they say

the biggest city

in Mississippi is?


The rest of the state, doesn't even

claim us when it comes to football.

We're viewed by people outside the West

Tennessee area who've played us...


not very well coached,

running around acting

a fool before the game.

About everything other than

football, and about ourselves,

rather than about the team.

You have a responsibility

this year, guys,

just like the teams

that came before you.

You have a responsibility

to play hard.

You have a responsibility to take

care of yourself in the classroom.

And you have a responsibility

to show Memphis

what Manassas

Football is about.

As you all know,

we got work to do today.

Lots of learning.

Everybody's head right.

When I got there...

...there was 17 kids for

a varsity football program.

First team,

offensive line right here.

Joaquin and Robert on defense,

let's go. Let's move!

There are good athletes

in the neighborhood.

But they weren't gonna

play for Manassas.

And do you blame them?

Not only was Manassas one of

the worst programs in the city,

it was arguably one of the worst

programs in the entire state.

Let's go, hustle up.

Tre, you're a safety.

Sills, tight end.

Receiver, down there. Hit it!

Hot Pocket, do you know the

freakin' routes? Go, go, go!

Our first year there,

we won four games. And...

...people were opening

their eyes, saying...

...you know, Manassas isn't the

worst team in the city anymore.

I mean, they're

beating a few people.

There it is, that's what we want.

The next year, there's

this group of 8th graders...

That's O.C., and Julius and

T.O. and JP and all these guys,

that all showed up to

the weight room one day,

and said, "We see y'all getting better,

we hear what you got going on."

and I said guys, all of you,

as a group, come to Manassas.

Just stay here and

let's build this thing.


They were talking

it up in the neighborhood.

We're going to Manassas, we're

going to make Manassas good...

And in their

first year, they're 1-9.

And got hammered.

Instead of laying down,

they continued to try,

and they continued to believe.

And they continued to work.

You better win that ball, Will!

And now this is

their senior year.

And my biggest concern is

that it doesn't end up as

great as it should be for them.

And I don't mean they have

to win a state championship

to be successful.

The one thing that

Manassas has never done

is win a playoff game.

Everybody to

Coach Coleman, let's go!

Let's go!

Let's go! Let's go!

Guys, you're playing

a football game Friday.

We got work to do.

We just gotta keep

getting better.

I like their

chances this year, I do.

And it starts with

that offensive line

and with Mr. Brown.

Come on, O.C., come

on, let's go! Come on, O.C.!

We get just hordes of

film coming into the office

and to be totally honest,

most of the film we get

gets thrown in a pile,

never to be seen again.

So this link came across

my desk, and the first play,

you knew O.C. was special.

From Manassas High

School, number 77, O.C. Brown!

That's what I'm

talking about, O.C.!

O.C. was one of those

kids from Loomis Junior High,

- in that class.

- Hike!

Mike noticed in O.C.,

he said, Bill, this kid is...

for his speed and size,

he's just a big athlete,

he's really good.

We were thinking

this kid can play

some college football somewhere.

But no one had

ever heard of him.

Nobody. So, I pieced together

this grainy YouTube clip...

It had thousands

of hits in the first 48 hours.

And that's where it went nuts.

# Under the bridge

Asleep in the shade #

# All of the terrible... ##

Just to see him

sometimes turn the corner

and nobody'd be there and

he's running with the back,

you think oh my gosh,

this is scary.

That's a big dude

running that fast.

Got some mail.

Auburn, Arkansas,

North Carolina State,

Louisville, Mississippi State,

Southern Miss.

Nah, these ones I got

these in one day, I think.

O.C. is a perfect

picture of North Memphis.

Raised by his grandmother

in a very small house,

mother's deceased,

father's kind of in and out.

If he can have

a good senior year and get

a Division I scholarship.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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