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If I hurry, I can still make it to the BIG GAME!
The Big Game is the end all and be all of existence. The Opposing Sports Team is prepared to win, and everything is riding on the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. There's some bet riding on the game where the orphanage/family restaurant/park/camp can only be saved by winning the Big Game. Alternatively, winning the Big Game may inspire the Littlest Cancer Patient to live.
Typical formula for a Big Game:
- The first half of the game consists of the Opposing Sports Team ripping our heroes to shreds, building up a huge lead.
- At the halftime break, the rest of the team has just about given up when the coach or team captain comes in with a heroic speech inspiring his team to greater heights against the unstoppable juggernaut. That, or they put in the one player who can make the difference.
- The second half is the Miracle Rally; the fired-up underdogs close the gap to tie the game, usually with the help of a montage.
- Finally, it comes down to the last play; the game is tied, or the Opposing Sports Team is just slightly ahead. There's just enough time for one more play, shot, or run. The entire game rides on this one. I'm sure we can all guess what happens next; the game is won in the most spectacular fashion possible.
Not to be confused with a football game played by a couple California universities.
- The Longest Yard (both versions, as well as Mean Machine)
- The don't win in Lucas. Lucas doesn't catch the ball (though it was ruled a fumble apparently since the play was not whistled over.) and we never see the ending, though it is implied that they lose.
- The Match
- Mystery, Alaska, although the protagonists ultimately lose the game by one goal.
- Not Another Teen Movie parodies this, specifically parodying both Varsity Blues and Lucas.
- The Replacements
- Varsity Blues
- The Mighty Ducks and its sequels.
- The Big Green
- Remember the Titans
- Subverted in Whip It; the teams are tied pretty much all the way through, and the Hurl Scouts lose.
- Leatherheads, although the protagonists ultimately win by cheating. Although since the real antagonists are those attempting to add and enforce rules in football, this is treated as a good thing.
- The Bad News Bears and its remake famously subverted this by having the team of the title lose in the end as they realized the game was more about fun and self-respect than winning.
- The Waterboy
- Rookie of the Year
- Angels in the Outfield and all of its remakes/sequels/spin-offs.
- Major League and sequels. The first puts a memorable spin on the typical Down to the Last Play ending.
- Bend It Like Beckham
- The team was not a bunch of ragtags. They were one of the best teams in the league and if not the favorite to win that game, they certainly weren't a huge underdog.
- Both in the film of Friday Night Lights and several in the TV series as well Friday Night Lights.
- High School Musical, climax of the first movie and beginning of the third.
- A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever. It's parodied, like all other tropes in it.
- The Freshman
- Slap Shot, although it skips the Miracle Rally part. The Chiefs win when the other team is disqualified after one of their players punches the referee.
- A very unusual example in the 1998 indie film Possums. The protagonist team is totally thrashed by the rivals, but scores their first touchdown in over ten years and leaves the field, cheering and holding the scoring player aloft like a hero, leading the opposing coach to ask the referee if his team had actually won.