8 Most Popular Football Stereotypes

By Victoria Robertson on September 22, 2015

Football is the great American pastime that’s been around seemingly forever. There are countless movies made yearly involving the sport, from classics such as “Rudy” and “Remember the Titans,” all the way to recent hits such as “The Blind Side” and this year’s coming sports drama, “Concussion.”

Of course, with all these different takes on the sport, there are bound to come stereotypes along with them. So to pay homage to these somewhat false, mostly true stereotypes, here are the 8 most popular football stereotypes that make films what they are today.

1. The Dumb Jock

The dumb jock stereotype is present in nearly every movie – from sports movies all the way to romantic comedies. This stereotype is all over the place.

Stupid football players that can’t pass a class with more than a D line cinemas everywhere – and there are even still debates about whether or not the stereotype is in any way accurate.

Whether it’s true or not, it’s everywhere.

2. The Prodigy

Another popular trope, the prodigy is used in some of the greatest football films, such as the star player, Carter Rutherford, John Krasinski portrays in “Leatherheads.”

The prodigy is a player that it just seems was born to play, and that is easily the standout player of the team that somehow singlehandedly wins almost every game for his team.

Is it accurate? Usually, no. Is it fun to watch on the big screen? Absolutely.

3. The Bully

Yet another unrelenting football stereotype, the portrayal of players as bullies is a caricature seen throughout multiple movies.

The bully is a football player that picks on non-football players, namely nerdy guys. While again, this isn’t exactly founded in evidence, it’s still one that you’ll see time and again in cinema.

4. The Pushy Dad

Of course, players aren’t the only ones that get stereotypes. Nope, their fathers are portrayed just as negatively in films. Take “A Cinderella Story” for instance. Even if his son doesn’t want to play the sport, he pushes him to play anyway.

This is also touched upon in songs, such as Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl.”

5. The Womanizer

Football players only date cheerleaders, and they usually end up cheating on them. At least, that’s what the movies tell us.

Think of “Bring It On,” for instance. While it is a spoof on ridiculous (and somewhat accurate) stereotypes of cheerleaders, the film also touches upon the football players as well.

Not only are most of them portrayed as stupid, they are portrayed as cheaters, liars and womanizers.

6. The Humble, Stand-Up Guy

Of course, this isn’t to say that all football player stereotypes are bad. For every jerk that takes the field, there’s a film about a humble, stand-up guy that just likes to play the sport as well.

Take above-mentioned “Rudy” for instance; he’s just a dedicated player that wants to play the game for his favorite college team. This is probably the most accurate of stereotypes, and why it should probably be used more often.

7. The Narcissist

There’s also the narcissist, who is present in nearly every football flick. The narcissist is a football player that cares only about himself, and while he is usually a great athlete, he doesn’t let anyone forget it.

Think of The Rock in “The Game Plan,” before he goes through his change-of-heart, as per usual.

While the stereotype is typically used in the above-mentioned manner, it’s still definitely one of the go-to stereotypes of the sport.

8. The Coach

While there have been many takes on coaches throughout the years, one outlook seems to stand out among the rest: the coach that, quite simply, lives to coach.

In almost every football film, the coach is a guy that only wants to see his team win. Whether that’s taken negatively or positively is up for interpretation, but the coach is a character that typically falls under some sort of stereotype as well either way.

While stereotyping typically has negative connotations (especially since many are caricatures), football stereotypes are usually light-hearted and fun. Plus, almost everyone is familiar with the sport, which gives people a good laugh when films such as “Leatherheads” and “The Longest Yard” are released.

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