Raheel Ramzanali: 5 definitive patriotic sports films for the Fouth of July

Baseball and patriotism go hand in hand for two of the top 5 movies. Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Earlier this week as I was browsing the internet, I came across a list of the most patriotic films to watch on the 4th. Now, I went over the list with a few other diehard Americans and we weren’t down with it so I wanted to create the definitive list for sports fans featuring the most patriotic sports themed movies for Independence Day. Essentially, you want to fire up all of these movies throughout the day - of course taking a break for the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest - and celebrate your freedom and love for sports.

5. Field of Dreams

The summer is all about baseball and this is essentially the greatest baseball movie ever according to everyone but me. More on my pick later. This movie has all the big themes you want not only in a movie, but a patriotic movie. A farmer from Iowa - CHECK. Baseball - CHECK. Father/Son problems - CHECK. Hearing voices in your head and causing your family financial pain - CHECK. This movie is a major downer for me, but I don’t want old baseball guy getting mad at me for leaving it off the list.

4. Rocky Franchise

Take your pick on this all-time American classic. Obviously the diehards will take IV because of the Mother Russia vs American story lines, but you should also pick it because it was the highest grossing movie of the franchise and nothing says America like financial success. This success did come at the cost of Rocky V being greenlit and the entire world being subjected to Rocky’s son wearing a dangling earring, but that’s another discussion. Me personally? I take Rocky Balboa because it’s so painful to watch that it might force you to go outside and actually enjoy your day off.

3. Miracle

If this doesn’t make you want to shoot off fireworks because you love the USA then just stop reading and move.

2. The Sandlot

The only people that don’t think The Sandlot isn’t that greatest baseball movie ever are the ones that didn’t have friends growing up. The backbone of most friendships is sports and no movie captures that love for your buddy like The Sandlot. Few scenes are more patriotic than the annual night game with fireworks so this automatically beats Field of Dreams.

1. American Anthem

 This 1986 American classic is often overlooked by many when it comes to great sports movies, but I will not be one of those foolish writers. American Anthem features failure, redemption, banging songs from the 80’s and super tight leather clothing. In fact, you could show this movie to a history class and it will perfectly capture all of our American ideals from an entire decade. I dare you to find me a more American movie than this classic gymnastics film celebrating our country.


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Nick Caserio's history of drafting injury prone players has become a problem. Composite Getty Image.

Nick Caserio was hired to serve as the general manager (GM) of the Texans on January 7, 2021. Some saw it as another nod to the organization's obsession with the Patriots. Others saw it as the team finally getting their guy after pursuing him previously. They were even hit with a tampering charge while trying to talk to him about the job. Since he's been on the job, there have been highs and lows.

Recently, the news about Kenyon Green and Derek Stingley Jr put a stain on his tenure. Green was placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR) and Stingley Jr is expected to be placed on IR, likely missing six to eight weeks, per Aaron Wilson. Both guys were Caserio's 2022 first rounders. Both guys are starting to look like busts and have fans a little more than just upset.

Green's case was curious because he was said to have needed surgery before he tore his labrum during the Saints preseason game. He had knee surgery this past offseason. There were knee injury concerns when he was coming out of A&M. Adding to his injuries, Green has played poorly. To make matters worse, the Chargers drafted fellow guard Zion Johnson two picks later. Johnson played all 17 games last season as a rookie at right guard and has moved to left guard this season. The pick used to draft Green was part of a trade back with the Eagles. They used the 13th overall pick to take Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a guy at a position this team could desperately use.

Stingley Jr was a highly touted recruit coming into LSU as a freshman. He played as well as any corner in the country that year. Oh, and they won a national title with arguably one of the best teams in college football history. His net two years in Baton Rouge were marred with injuries. Some believed his junior year was more him holding back to stay healthy for the draft. It worked because he was taken third overall, one spot ahead of Sauce Gardner. Gardner went on to be an All Pro as a rookie. While he's surrounded by more talent on the Jets' defense, people will forever link them because Stingley Jr hasn't lived up to expectations. He missed six games last season and is set to miss at least that many this season. When he has played, he's looked okay. “Okay” isn't what you want from a guy drafted third overall ahead of the other guy who was widely considered better than him.

For the 2021 draft, Caserio was handcuffed. He had no first or second rounders, and made a few trades that lessened his draft pool from eight to five picks. Of the five guys drafted that year, only Nico Collins seems to be a player. The 2022 draft was more productive. Although Green and Stingley Jr were the headliners and haven't played up to the hype, the others are carrying the load. Jalen Pitre and Dameon PIerce alone make that draft class dope. This past draft was seen as the one to save the franchise so to speak. Getting C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr got the team a franchise quarterback and edge rusher with picks two and three overall. The price paid to move back up to three was hefty and puts more scrutiny on Anderson Jr. They appear, so far, to have also found a couple other nice players. Tank Dell being the hidden gem of this class.

While people can't, and shouldn't, base Caserio's performance strictly off of the guys he's drafted, one must call it into question. The '21 draft was a wash. The '22 draft looks suspect, but has some redeeming qualities. The '23 draft will most likely be his saving grace. But should it? Former Texans GM Rick Smith nailed almost every first rounder he drafted. Even he was almost run out of town because folks didn't like what he did. Why should Caserio be any different? So what if he cleaned up the mess by the previous regime! That's what he was hired to do!

“Keep that same energy!” That phrase is used when people try to hold others to different standards. Where's that energy everyone had for Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, David Culley, and Lovie Smith? When others weren't performing well, their heads were called for. I see some people holding Caserio accountable. For the most part, it appears as if he's getting a bit of a pass. I'll be interested to see if this continues should the team has another subpar season. If that pick they traded to the Cardinals is another top 10 pick and the Browns pick the Texans own isn't...if Green can't come back and/or Stingley Jr doesn't show any signs of being a lockdown corner...then what? Let's hope none of this comes to fruition. If it does, we'll have to revisit this conversation.

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