With the Oscars ready to be bestowed, Jet X looks back at the stories and athletes that have made the move from Florham Park to Hollywood.
As welcome normalcy starts to inch its way back in our lives, one staple of pre-pandemic life slowly gaining momentum is a trip to the cinema.
Big budget releases, such as Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong, have seen their box office grosses steadily rise while likewise catering to the increased popularity of streaming. The best films of 2020 will have their moment in the spotlight tonight, as the 93rd Academy Awards will be held in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET, ABC).
In celebration, Jet X looks back on some New York Jets representatives and stories that have moved from Florham Park to Hollywood …
C.C. & Company (1970)
Armed with an endless supply of charisma and a larger-than-life personality, an acting career was probably inevitable for Joe Namath. His most prominent big-screen role came in this 1970 biker movie, which was released in the middle of the 1970 NFL season.
Namath portrays the titular and not-so-subtly-named C.C. Ryder who must rescue his love interest Ann (Ann-Margaret) from a biker gang. The film received mostly negative reviews. Although, to Namath’s credit, Vincent Canby of the New York Times offered a friendly remark by saying Namath and his character have “an easy wit, and the unruffled manner of a guy who’ll try anything twice, which means that he’s a perfect match for Ann-Margret.”
Watch It On: Amazon Prime
Flash Gordon (1980)
Namath may have won a Super Bowl, but we’ll never know how he’d fare against Ming the Merciless. The titular character (portrayed by Sam J. Jones) was a polo player in the original syndicated comic strips, but the film adaptation instead made him a Jets quarterback called upon to save the world through the power of football to the tune of a soundtrack provided by Queen.
Despite a lukewarm reception at the time of release, the film has gained a significant cult following.
Watch It On: Amazon Prime
Rise and Walk: The Dennis Byrd Story (1994)
This TV movie, originally aired on Fox, detailed the inspirational story of Dennis Byrd and was based on the defensive lineman’s 1993 memoir. Peter Berg, the future creator of the Friday Night Lights franchise, earned positive reviews for his portrayal of Byrd.
John J. O’Connor of the New York Times noted that Berg “may lack some of Mr. Byrd’s physical heft but vividly captures the sweet decency of the man.” A pre-Seinfeld Patrick Warburton co-starred as Scott Mersereau, Byrd’s Jets teammate who was also involved in his infamous injury.
Watch It On: Xfinity
That’s My Boy (2012)
Adam Sandler’s love of the Jets has never been a secret, but it was perhaps at its most prevalent in this irreverent slapstick comedy co-starring Rex Ryan. The New England-set film features the then-Jets head coach as the lawyer to Sandler’s character, one whose office bears a Tom Brady poster and a Bill Bellichick bobblehead.
Ryan’s not the only New York sports star to appear in the film, as former Knick Baron Davis also appears briefly.
Watch It On: Hulu
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Lineback Josh Mauga’s story could be a movie on its own, as he rose from the depths of undrafted free agency and numerous injuries to build a five-year NFL career, the first three seasons of which were spent with the Jets.
Mauga joined the never-ending Fast & Furious franchise in its most recent entry, portraying a brother of Dwayne Johnson’s titular character in the series’ first spin-off.
Watch It On: HBO Max
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags