Monday, October 15, 2007

A Robert Redford Guide To Football's Unbeatens

For many sports fans, Robert Redford is best remembered as mysterious baseball slugger Roy Hobbs in The Natural. However, the screen legend currently has a stronger connection to football - specifically to the remaining unbeaten college and NFL teams. In All the President’s Men, his Bob Woodward turned Washington on its ear, whereas Ohio State and Arizona State have knocked Washington on its rear. ASU has Sun Devils, while Redford has Sundance. New England and Indianapolis are reminding the AFC of The Way We Were – competing for last year’s Super Bowl berth. And for whatever reason, the NCAA still regards a top-division football playoff as an Indecent Proposal.

Redford’s films share additional connections to each of the thus-far perfect teams. Here’s a rundown.


New England Patriots: Spy Game
. This one was almost too easy. The movie was released on November 21, 2001, and the Pats went undefeated the rest of the way that season. Conspiracy theorists are checking the film to see if Brad Pitt taped the Rams’ sideline.

Indianapolis Colts: The Electric Horseman. Peyton Manning is a Colt who generates lots of electricity.

Division I-A (or whatever they’re calling it these days):

Ohio State: Lions for Lambs. The Buckeyes have mostly faced lambs in their run to #1, but they’ll be tested by the Nittany Lions on October 27.

South Florida: The Candidate. In the national championship chase, the Bulls were like Redford’s Bill McKay on the political scene: a complete unknown who was given no chance in hell by the establishment.

Boston College: Legal Eagles. These Eagles are working on the field, not in court. With a road win at Georgia Tech, they avoided The Sting by the Yellow Jackets.

Arizona State: Jeremiah Johnson. The Sun Devils’ November 3 showdown in Eugene could be impacted by a knee injury to Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson. Cal visits Tempe the previous week, so like Redford’s character Jeremiah Johnson, ASU will have to survive in the midst of Bears.

Kansas: The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was named Jay, and was a newcomer to high society who took road trips to Manhattan. KU is named the Jayhawks, and is a newcomer to high society after a winning road trip to Manhattan. I’m pretty sure Redford looked better in a tux than Mark Mangino.

Hawaii: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Sundance Kid was a great Western gunslinger. Colt Brennan is a great Western Athletic Conference gunslinger.