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Uncle Rico and the other greatest movie quarterbacks of all time

There are a slew of fictional quarterbacks that have graced the silver screen, but which ones are the best? You’re about to find out.

Screening Of Lionsgate Films' 'John Wick' - Red Carpet Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

I’ve watched many a movie in my time. Heck, I’ve lived vicariously through them while just kind of avoiding going outside or seeing any kind of sunlight. So what does that make me? Yes, yes... it does make me an introvert and shut-in, but it also makes me pretty much an expert on movies. Even more than you. Yes, really.

So because I’m a movie expert (and because they sometimes forget to lock up the keyboards and I sneak in an article here and there), I’ve decided to write a post about the 10 greatest fictional movie quarterbacks of all time (plus one obvious honorable mention).

I didn’t include any high school quarterbacks from Friday Night Lights or Varsity Blues or the like. I played high school football. I knew high school quarterbacks. I coach them now. Comparing them to collegiate and professional quarterbacks is literally comparing boys to men.

So let’s get this rolling, starting from the bottom:

Honorable Mention: Uncle Rico, Napoleon Dynamite

Come on, you knew this was coming. He has the greatest arm in the history of quarterbacks, even if he was overlooked by both the collegiate and professional scouts. The guy can throw a football OVER A MOUNTAIN. Even John Elway couldn’t do that and he had thin air to throw a ball in his whole career. But Rico? He could just wind up and chuck that baby a quarter-mile without even breaking a sweat. He’s so great that there are times on the football team I coach that we tell the quarterbacks to “Just Uncle Rico it” when we want them to throw it deep for a receiver to run under. Who needs accuracy? Overrated.

10. Paul Blake, Necessary Roughness
You don’t have to be young to be great, as Paul Blake showed all of us when he returned to Texas State University at the tender age of 36 to lead those Fightin’ Armadillos. And the end result? They win a game. That’s right — a solitary game! But it was against the best team in the country! And did you see the way Blake handled himself on that two-point conversion? That’s some coolness under very stressful conditions. That’s when age pays off over youth and athletic talent.

9. Joe Kingman, The Game Plan
What does Kingman bring to the game that’s so darn impressive? Well, he’s built like a linebacker with moves like Jagger. Er... I mean moves like Michael Vick (when he was still Michael Vick). So what does that make him? Pretty much Cam Newton, complete with a winning smile and a love for kids. And he’s a winner! Both on the field and in our hearts!

8. Joe Kaine, The Program
So it’s possible that an alcoholic collegiate quarterback who has a bit of a death wish isn’t going to go on to have the most prolific career, but Kaine, as they say, is able. The guy was in the running for the Heisman Trophy and took his team to a bowl game against all odds. Kaine knows how to get the job done. It doesn’t matter who is standing in his way. Let’s put the women and children to bed and go looking for dinner.

7. Paul Crewe, The Longest Yard
There are too many Paul Crewes to pick from! So they are combined here. The old one with that man sporting a mustache was far more of a bad-ass than the new one with that Waterboy guy, but both of them are highly capable, determined and making the most out of their prison time. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t play football if I were in prison. I would sit in my cell, sobbing, rocking back and forth as I hugged my crappy pillow to my chest. And then I would probably get knifed. But, that’s a different story for a different time in my life. I’m impressed with how well Crewe can play, as well as his ability to keep some pretty intense and criminal people focused on the same goal.

6. Seth Maxwell, North Dallas Forty
I used to be an assistant coach under a guy who would channel Rocky and tell the guys on the team that “Women make the legs weak.” In the case of Maxwell, it was all the groupies that must have made his hands weak because he sure fumbled away a pretty clean snap and lost his team the game. But a quarterback can’t be ranked by one bad play. The rest of the time, Maxwell is everything that makes professional quarterbacks the rock stars of the sporting world as he is tough, talented and famous.

5. Willie Beaman, Any Given Sunday
Has anyone mentioned Michael Vick in this post yet? Oh, yeah, I guess that was me. Well, Beaman is pretty much the Vick of the fictional football world. He’s quick. He’s cocky. Oh, and he’s talented. But what makes him one of the top-five quarterbacks on my expert list? That guy is one heck of a competitor who doesn’t back down from a fight, a tough situation or a chance at victory.

4. Shane Falco, The Replacements
So Footsteps Falco is on the list, hey? You bet. Here’s a guy who might have had a rough time in college and never quite recovered well enough to get the call from a professional team, but when the league absolutely needed someone to come in and save them during a strike, he was the one they turned to. And Falco got the job done, getting over his fear of people’s feet and leading his team like the professional quarterback he was always meant to be. Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever. Especially on reruns.

3. Johnny Utah, Point Break
Wait a minute... Johnny Utah looks suspiciously like a young Shane Falco, doesn’t he? And they both went to Ohio State? And one lives on a boat and the other likes to surf? Hmmmm... Conspiracy theories aside, Utah is the better quarterback most likely. He blew out his knee in the Rose Bowl, ending his football career during a time when he looked to be a likely first-round draft pick. His team played in the Rose Bowl, which means they had to work their way through the Big Ten and won it. The not-as-good version only made the Sugar Bowl... Yeah, you get the picture.

2. Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon
While we never actually get to see Flash Gordon play football in the movie, we do know that he is a standout quarterback for the New York Jets, he’s good enough to make the cover of magazines and — oh yeah — he goes out and saves the entire universe. That takes a whole lot more ability than winning a Super Bowl, and you have to be one heck of a cool cucumber in the tightest, most dangerous situations. Taking on a middle linebacker on a quarterback draw is nothing compared to what Gordon did during his intergalactic career.

1. Cap Rooney, Any Given Sunday
Three-time MVP in the league. More than 30,000 passing yards. Two league championships. He doesn’t need flashy moves or a constantly running mouth to get the job done. He’s blue collar. He takes the snap and he does the job. It doesn’t matter if he’s giving the ball on a run or firing it down field. When we come into the movie, Rooney is in the twilight of his career, and he’s pretty much still quite capable of being a team’s starter. Just imagine how darn good he was in his prime?

So let’s hear it from the cheap seats. No doubt at least a few of you (yeah, I’m looking at you) have opinions about quarterbacks that are better than the ones listed here. So let’s hear it down in the comments section with a valid reason or two.