I recently watched The Longest Yard (2005) with Adam Sandler, Burt Reynolds, Chris Rock, Nelly, and several other A-list performers. I enjoyed the film, and found myself relating it to our class readings and discussions on team dynamics. If you have not seen the movie, in a nut shell, a washed up NFL quarterback, Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), is thrown in prison after breaking parole. He is forced by Warden Hazen (James Cromwell) to organize a football team of his own inmates. The catch is that the team will be going up against the prison guards that abuse and torment them on a daily basis. Most prisoners, including Crewe, have no interest in joining the team. They simply want to do their time and get out. When the men find out they will be playing against the guards, the inmates slowly come around to joining in on a common goal. In other words, if you can’t get out, get even!
The characters are, without a doubt, diverse and likeable. As a viewer, I got sucked into their mission and passion towards getting even with these guards. From a team performance viewpoint, these guys were committed and even made it through “The GRIND”. When their assistant coach, Caretaker (Chris Rock), is accidentally murdered by another inmate, the team comes together and recognizes the tragedy. They then decide that they have even more of a reason to kick ass in this upcoming game. The team pushed through wanting to quit, and in return, delivered a prime performance when it was show time. Something to note about Sandler’s character is that he started the game just playin’ football like the old days; by the end, he was playing to win for his teammates.