The Giants have lost three straight and are currently last in the NFC East, and rookie head coach Ben McAdoo took an unorthodox approach to getting his players focused and motivated. On Thursday, he showed the team a scene from the Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly classic Step Brothers to get them prepared to take on the Ravens this week, according to Steve Serby of the New York Post.
McAdoo showed players the scene where Ferrell’s character, Brennan, and Reilly’s character, Dale — the titular step brothers — have to choose between taking a route home that will take them by schoolyard bullies or a more circuitous, but safer, way.
The message was intended to be that the Ravens are going to come into MetLife Stadium this week and try to bully the Giants, but New York can’t back down.
“Basically he said was, ‘They’re gonna try to come in and try to bully us,’” wide receiver Dwayne Harris said, via Serby. “We’re at our house, and we gotta come out and just play like it’s our house.”
It’s unclear how that relates to the scene from the film, since Brennan and Dale are actually adults and the bullies are adolescent children who still manage to torment them, even forcing Brennan to eat white dog crap. Whatever you think will get your team off the schneid, McAdoo.
But if McAdoo really wanted to motivate the Giants, the scene he should have gone with is the Catalina Wine Mixer, where Dale and Brennan overcome their fear to perform a beautiful rendition of “Por Ti Volare” with Brennan on vocals and Dale on the drums.
Maybe there is something to this idea of using Will Ferrell films to motivate slumping teams. We have a few recommendations.
Carolina Panthers: Stranger than Fiction
In the film, Ferrell is Harold Crick, an IRS auditor who hears constant narration in his head that nobody else can hear. In real life, the Panthers are 1-4 after going 15-1 and earning a Super Bowl bid last season.
Ron Rivera: "I know people wish we were 4-1. (Expletive) I wish we were 4-1."— Joe Person (@josephperson) October 13, 2016
The fact that the Panthers are 1-4 and almost certainly facing being left out of the postseason is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
Quote: “You're asking me to knowingly face my death?” - Harold Crick
San Diego Chargers: Anchorman
Both the film Anchorman and the tragic start to the Chargers’ season are set in the same place — sunny San Diego.
The Chargers’ tendency to blow leads late in games has been difficult to watch this season. San Diego has a 10-game losing streak against AFC West opponents that they’re hoping to snap against the Broncos, but things have a tendency to snowball for the Chargers.
Quote: “Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.” - Ron Burgundy
Cleveland Browns - Semi-Pro
The film Semi-Pro is set in Flint, Mich., not too far from Cleveland. It centers around Ferrell’s character, Jackie Moon, the owner of a last-place American Basketball Association team, the Flint Tropics.
Moon continues to dream big about a merger with the NBA even though his team is absolutely terrible. The Browns are also pretty bad, and they remain the last winless team through five weeks of the 2016 season.
Also, there are plenty of lines in Semi-Pro that could relate to the Tropics or the fact that the Browns have been forced to trot five different quarterbacks (including wide receiver Terrelle Pryor) out onto the field this season as injuries have piled up.
Quote: “Everybody panic! It's just like the Titanic but it's full of bears!” - Jackie Moon
San Francisco 49ers - Old School
Old School is a film about Ferrell’s character, Frank the Tank Ricard, and his friends who want to revisit their college glory days. The 49ers will start Colin Kaepernick this Sunday, and Kaepernick will also look to return to his glory days, in this case from 2012.
The Niners haven’t been winning this season, but San Francisco is historically a great team. They’ve won five Super Bowls over the course of the team’s history -- just one fewer than the all-time leader, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Perhaps they have a chance to turn things around and begin a return to their former glory with Kaepernick behind center.
For now, though, turning things around from a 1-4 start is a tall order.
Quote: “Oh, my God. Is this bad? Is this bad?” - Frank the Tank