I’ve made no secret about my affection for the game of football. But my love of the game has less to do with the actual game and more to do with the dramas that unfold on the sidelines. Careers can be made and broken over one play and the results often bring men to tears over a little thing called a football game. Rivalries are truly the best part of the experience and it’s what keeps me glued to my television every Sunday.
Pennsylvania filmmakers Alex Weinress and Tim Murray were lucky enough to discover perhaps one of the great rivalries in game between Mike Pettine, the winningest coach in Pennsylvania Big School history, with 15 undefeated seasons, and Mike Pettine Jr., his only son. Both coaches, father and son, prepare to collide in the regional high school football playoffs that may well end as the highlight of their collective careers. Caught in the middle of the drama is mom – where does she stand? Who does she root for? Her husband or son? Tensions run high as the star running back of the high school team feels the pressure to carry the team to victory on his legs. For anyone who has every participated or watched high school sports, this intimate portrait delves deep into the dedication, commitment and the pressure these young athletes endure.
Filmmakers Weinress and Murray were allowed unprecedented access to coach Pettine’s life both at home and in the locker room. It’s perhaps one of the best sports documentaries I have ever seen spanning years in the life of a hard hearted yet humble and caring man. This is not just a movie for anyone who loves the game of football. This is a movie for lovers of human drama.