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Necessary Roughness

Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Stan Dragoti
Produced by Howard Koch Jr.
Lis Kern
Mace Neufeld
Robert Rehme
Written by Rick Natkin
David Fuller
Starring Scott Bakula
Hector Elizondo
Robert Loggia
Harley Jane Kozak
Larry Miller
Music by Bill Conti
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) September 27, 1991
Running time 108 min.
Language English
Gross revenue $26,255,594 (USA)[1]

Necessary Roughness (1991) is a comedy starring Scott Bakula and Sinbad. The film was directed by Stan Dragoti, who has also directed the movies Mr. Mom, She's Out of Control, and The Man With One Red Shoe. In addition to Bakula and Sinbad, Necessary Roughness has an additional cast of Hector Elizondo, Robert Loggia, Larry Miller, and Harley Jane Kozak. Appearances are also made in the film by Kathy Ireland, Rob Schneider, and Fred Dalton Thompson.

The film touches on an up and coming season at the fictional higher learning institution of Texas State University and its football team nicknamed the Fightin' Armadillos[2]. (At the time the film was made, there was no Texas State University, but in 2003, Southwest Texas State University changed its name to Texas State University-San Marcos, nicknamed the Bobcats, which not-so-coincidentally was one of the teams that played against the Armadillos. The Bobcats in the film were wearing uniforms similar to those worn by Southwest Texas State.) Texas State's predicament—they are forced to start the season with a host of new coaches and players after the previous staff and players were removed after a scandal—is based on the "death penalty" handed out to the Southern Methodist University football team in 1987.

The film was released in September 1991 and went on to gross over $20 million at the box office. During one scene, when the team takes part in a scrimmage game with a team of convicts, cameos are made by several NFL players. These players included Jerry Rice, Roger Craig, Earl Campbell, Dick Butkus, Ben Davidson, Tony Dorsett, Ed 'Too Tall' Jones, Herschel Walker, Jim Kelly, and Randy White. The film also has some cameo appearances from Chris Berman and Evander Holyfield.

The film was shot at various locations in Texas. Azle, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton were the primary locations used for filming. The University of North Texas in Denton was a major location for filming football and college scenes. Texas State's green and white uniforms in the movie are the exact same colors worn by North Texas.



Due to NCAA sanctions, the Texas State University Fightin' Armadillos must start from scratch to build a new team after a tradition of winning. The previous staff and players violated numerous rules and regulations, resulting in a ban for everyone from returning except Charlie Banks, the only "clean" player, who never got to play despite having "heart".

The new coaching staff has nothing to assist them in building the team as no athletic scholarships are available. They must look for volunteers from the student body. Along with this, they must worry about Dean Elias (Miller), who wants the team to fail so he can scrap it. A number of student volunteers are assembled, and soon the coaches have a makeshift team in place.

There are not enough members of the team to have offense and defense, so they are forced to play iron-man football. The team lacks experience and talent in all areas, especially at Quarterback, placekicker, and the defensive line. Coach "Rig" (Loggia) recruits a former high school star Paul Blake (Bakula), who never attended college due to his father's death. Rig convinces him to enroll and play for the team.

Blake arrives on campus and catches everyone's attention due to his age, especially Professor Carter (Kozak). Paul then recruits a graduate student teaching assistant named Andre Krimm (Sinbad), who is also enrolled at the school and eligible to play for the team. Blake convinces him to join, and he is positioned on the defensive line, where he excelled years earlier. In actuality, Sinbad's character would not have been eligible as he would have gone past his 5 years to play 4 years of collegiate athletics. Even with the new members, the team continues to lose games.

Professor Carter tells Blake that she knows him from years earlier. Carter's ex-boyfriend was a high school football star, but Blake and his team humiliated him and his team in a championship game. This episode actually caused Carter to become infatuated with Blake. Now, years after the fact, the two begin a romantic relationship, which Dean Elias opposes.

Coach Rig makes one more recruiting move to secure a kicker. He shocks everybody by selecting Lucy Draper (Ireland) from the school's soccer team. When she is brought on board, the team has its first taste of success, as Draper kicks a field goal in a driving rainstorm to forge a 3-3 tie with Kansas. After this game, Blake quits the team after arguments with the coaches and Carter, but convinces himself to come back after a teammate, who is also quitting, inadvertently changes his mind. Both come back. With the coaches and players now on the same page, the team plays their last game of the season against the number one ranked team in the country, the Texas Colts.

They head into the game as huge underdogs. After a horrible first half, they come back in the second half to make it a one point game with a few seconds left. The team decides to try and win it all with a two-point conversion. They fake a point after attempt and pass for two. Blake scrambles and finally finds Banks in the end zone. Blake passes, Banks catches, and Texas State wins the game.



The Team

The University


Necessary Roughness had been largely panned by critics. The film earned a "Rotten" rating of 27% at "Rotten Tomatoes" (60% or better earns a film a "Fresh" rating). One film summary had stated "A bad attempt at making a football version of Major League." Sports Illustrated, in a criticism of sports movies in general, stated that "Kathy Ireland is probably the best thing in this laugh-a-quarter film". However, Roger Ebert had written a more positive review, giving the film three stars. Ebert stated the film did do a good job of poking fun at some serious problems within college football, such as recruiting superstar players who lack the academic skills to be college undergraduates, colleges mollycoddling athletes through ridiculously easy classes, i.e. "rocks for jocks", and alumni giving payoffs to college players. Ebert's review claimed it is good to see a college being forced to use genuine students for its football team and anticorruption practices which prevent the aforementioned favoritism and big money.


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  2. ^ Movie/TV helmets

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