Film Review — destiny belongs to the “American Underdog”

“You don’t have what it takes…So why in the world would I give you this shot?”

Who’s never heard a line like that before at some point in their lives?

A teacher, who challenges a student why she shouldn’t flunk her for a poorly-written assignment.

A father, who asks his son why he deserves another chance after wrecking the family car.

A boss, who seriously doubts the employee sitting before him deserves a promotion.

Or an American football coach who demands to know why an over-the-hill rookie — who’s not even a bona fide US National Football League (NFL) pro — should be given the lead quarterback position in an upcoming major championship game.

That last one was the turning point in a film I recently came across on Netflix.

And it made me wonder:

Have we each a pre-ordained time to come into “our own”? And if so, will we be ready when the time comes?

Film Synopsis — football movie “American Underdog” [2021]

Source: irishfilmcritic

When it comes to movies, there are two things you need to know about me.

Firstly, I’m rarely random. I typically know what I want to see and am pretty specific in my selection.

Secondly, I usually don’t pick movies involving sports cos it’s not my thang. Especially if it involves boxing or football, be it the World Cup which coincidentally kicked off this week (though I’ve been known once in a blue moon to “Bend it like Beckham“), or the NFL.

Two nights ago, however, I decided to throw caution to the wind and browse randomly on Netflix for my next fix.

That was how I found what I believe to be my movie of the month — American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story. And now my second movie review post of November, after the one I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Father Stu (which, coincidentally, was about a former boxer).

Just like Father Stu, American Underdog is based on a true story.

The “underdog” in question here is Kurt Warner, the Hall of Fame quarterback who guided the St. Louis Rams to a US Super Bowl victory in 2000.

Warner didn’t start off promising though.

After playing college football from 1990 to 1993, he spent another four years waiting to join the pinnacle of American football fame, the NFL. Unfortunately, his moment never came, making Warner the quintessential underdog.

Which of course is the perfect setup for a modern Cinderella tale!

What I liked about this football film

asian kid in american football player outfit taking off helmet
Photo by Amina Filkins on

There were so many moments in this show, this story, that brought me to tears.

For one thing, an essential narrative arc was his romance with Brenda Carney Meoni. Brenda was older than him and didn’t like football. She also had trust issues with men, being a divorcee with two kids, one of whom was legally blind due to her ex’s negligent caregiving.

Talk about obstacles right?

Thankfully for this parent reviewer, the movie gave reasonable air time to develop the love, family and even spiritual angles. How Warner won over the girl and her parents, not to mention the kids.

And how he and the family prayed and depended on God at critical junctures on Warner’s rocky road to success. Which included 12 successive seasons for him in the NFL, and winning the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award more than once, not to mention a Super Bowl MVP too. The action sequences in the movie were well choreographed as well, winning over even this non-sporty reviewer.

But as wonderful as both the story arc of his love life and career were (and they were), what really got to me were the recurring spiritual themes in the movie about how special everyone is, and how we are each just waiting for our “moment”

“This is my time. I’m ready!”

variety of sport trophies
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

All my life growing up, I’ve wondered about my place in this world. If there was a reason for my being here.

And when I will “come into my own”.

And in every one of the five decades, that’s now come and gone for me, I’ve watched others come into their own seemingly without even an atom of doubt or effort.

Let me come clean. Academically, I was a dud throughout my student life. In sports, I was a non-starter. And career-wise, hah don’t even get me started!

When eventually I got my undergraduate degree at 25, I thought that was it. Then the pursuit to make a living began in earnest, with several job changes that hardly made for a stellar resume.

But when I got married at 30, I thought well that’s it. I’m safe now. Surely I’ve “arrived”. Surely this is it. And when the kids come, then my life will finally be complete.

Except no one told me the kids would come, not one or two, but nine years later. And no one told me that another nine years later, I’ll be out of work and a stay home dad.

Where’s my time? Where’s my moment?

God, I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but many times I’ve wondered if you will reveal my “moment” for me, let alone a “football playbook” (a gameplan every NFL team has) for me!

Warner the Rookie.

Warner the Underdog.

Well, how about yours truly the rookie AND underdog?!

“Why in the world would I give you this shot?”

pink scrabble tiles on white background
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on

Then again, perhaps it was for this very moment as I doubt that I stumbled upon this gem of a movie. This very moment for God to remind me that He’s still very much in play when it comes to a plan for my life. So long as I trust (Proverbs 3:5).

And to witness that memorable scene in the movie where the coach asked Warner that pivotal question:

“You don’t have what it takes…So why in the world would I give you this shot?”

Their star quarterback had just been knocked flat and now his team, the St. Louis Rams, had to decide if Warner was ready to take over.

His reply to that question that’s haunted every level of confidence known to man was simple but dead-on sure:

“Because this is my time. I know who I am. And I know why I’m here. Because…I’ve waited for it”.

As yet another Christmas draws near and an old year is about to pack up and leave, I am still waiting for my moment. For the answer to come at just the right, God-ordained moment.

And when it comes, I just hope I have the sense to see it, seize it and reply with as much conviction as Warner did:

“I’m ready. Because this is my time. I know who I am. And I know why I’m here. Because…I’ve waited for it. For destiny belongs to the underdogs.”

Leave a Reply