Based on a the true story of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and when he is suspended from the NFL spends the season coaching his son’s middle school football team.
Three years after Sean Payton was the Super Bowl winning coaching with the New Orleans Saints he was then suspended for his involvement in the Bountygate scandal. Struggling with what his life would be without the NFL he returns to his hometown in Texas and looks to reconnect with his 12 year old son Connor who is very distant to begin with.
Sean was hoping to only be in town for a few weeks until the appeal against his suspension was sorted out, however that doesn’t go the way he was expecting and that it is kept in place. A full year he then spends out of professional football and he very quickly ends up helping out Troy Lambert who coaches the young team. He is nice enough but his football knowledge doesn’t really seem to be up to much and cannot help the boys out in the same way as Sean can.
Something I actually really enjoyed about the film was how it very easily captured how parents of players behave during training/games and then before/after if the coach makes a chance to a playing position when it involves their child. Even when a professional NFL coach comes in and they still doubt he has any idea what he is doing. It really does highlight just how difficult it is to work as a sports coach, although not even just working but being a coach whether you get paid or not.
It was also very good to see the way the players then behave during sessions and how Sean approaches different issues and problems that they come across being 12 years old and approaching those difficult teenage years. As the team begin to improve and winning more games, having previously been the worst in the league even Sean gets carried away for a moment and forgets how young they are and learning the game but more importantly enjoying to play!
It certainly has plenty going for it in the sporting context and I therefore enjoyed it a lot more than it has been widely received as it seems to have very low ratings everywhere which is a shame really. Quite amazing that it is based on a true story as well, making me think about how amusing it would be for this to happen to a manager in the Premier League in England and how I am sure parents would still be telling them how to coach a team in grassroots!
Kevin James was very good in the leading role and really was believable in his comedown from an amazing job and being suspended. He always comes across likeable and to begin with here we weren’t really too fussed on him given the way he actually was treating people he was working with. Rob Schneider was a rather ridiculous character and I don’t really have a whole lot of words to add to that statement about him! The young actors for the team were all pretty impressive and worked together well, Maxwell Simkins must have found some good casting opportunities in sports based films/tv given that he is also in the reboot of The Mighty Ducks.