David S. Ward and Aaron Latham
REVISED BLUE 10/26/92
REVISED PINK 11/2/92
REVISED YELLOW 11/5/92
REVISED GREEN 11/6/92
REVISED GOLDEN ROD 11/11/92
REVISED TAN 11/23/92
ON BLACK SCREEN
SPORTSCASTER'S VOICE (V.O.)
Allright, bowl bid ridin' here for
E.S.U. Fourth down on the Georgia
Tech 18. 4 ticks left. Kane sets 'em
INSTANT CUT TO:
LINE OF TAPED KNUCKLES - NIGHT
smashing into the mud, as a football OFFENSIVE LINE comes
set, frosted breath steaming across to:
The DEFENSIVE LINE digging in, ready to explode.
CLOSE ON JOE KANE
E.S.U. quarterback, barking signals. The ball is snapped,
and we go to SLOW MOTION as the lines crash together in the
Joe rolls to the right, looking downfield. A huge DEFENSIVE
END bears down on him. Joe jukes. The end whips on by,
grabbing for jersey, slipping off. But big NUMBER 75 is
closing the gap. On the run, Joe releases a desperation pass
toward the end zone, just as 75 catches him and buries him
face-down in the swamp.
We FOLLOW THE BALL, spiraling through the slanting rain. RAY
GRIFFEN, black running back, glances back for it, two
DEFENSIVE BACKS with him. All three leap in unison, climbing
as high as they can, clutching, clawing for the ball. The
ball floats down, kisses off the tangle of fingers, splashes
to the ground, and rolls to a stop in the mud. Incomplete.
The BANG of the final gun snaps us back to LIVE ACTION.
Joe on his knees in the muck, stares at the goal line, then
drops his head in defeat.
ANGLE ON SAM WINTERS
Betraying little emotion, Coach SAM WINTERS, wiry, intense,
early 50's, takes off his headset, lets it drop, heads across
REPORTER #1 (V.O.)
Coach, this is the second year in a
row you've failed to go to a bowl
game. Do you feel your program's in
INT. LOCKER ROOM - NIGHT
Coach Winters stands outside his office surrounded by
reporters, a bouquet of microphones stuck in his face.
(keeping his cool)
No, we're just a young team on the
verge. We'll be back in a major bowl
Elsewhere in the locker room, we pick up a weary, mud-
splattered Joe Kane taking off his pads in front of his
locker. ALVIN MACK, black linebacker, comes by. Alvin exudes
danger; big, fast and hostile on the field, slightly surly,
a sense of repressed anger off it.
Good throw, Joe. It was there.
So was half their team.
Shit, another Christmas at home.
Next year, man. Next year we sell
out. Next year we dominate.
ON COACH WINTERS AGAIN
still fielding questions.
You still need a deep threat or a
breakaway back to go with Joe Kane.
What are you gonna do to address
(a little edgy)
Stop wastin' my time talkin' to you
guys for a start.
As Winters gets up to go, we hear:
I'm not gonna lead you into the fog
INT. CHANCELLOR WILSON'S OFFICE - DAY
CHANCELLOR GRANT WILSON, 60, grey-haired eminence, sits behind
his desk. Seated across from him are Coach Winters and GALEN
HOWARD, 50, the Athletic Director.
I'm concerned about our Program.
It's always been a source of pride
to our students and alumni, but two
straight so-so seasons are having a
damaging effect on our fund-raising,
both public and private.
Then stop raising the entrance
requirements on me. We never could
have gotten Alvin Mack in here under
the new guidelines.
As Chancellor, my first responsibility
is to the academic interests of this
Wilson points to a representation of a football field affixed
to the wall. A football rests on the 40 yard line, which is
marked 160 million. The end zone (60 yards away) is
At a time when we're committed to a
400 million dollar building program,
alumni donations are down 15% the
last two years. Because they've also
voiced their displeasure to their
legislators, we can expect a
corresponding drop in state funds.
The Athletic Fund is suffering too.
Season tickets sales are off,
You layin' all this at my door?
There's been a recession on.
Yes, but the heaviest drop has been
from the big donors, the 100,000
dollar club. These people are
recession proof. They sit in my box
every game, and they're much more
generous when we're ranked and going
to bowl games. Two of them, as you
know, are on the Board of Regents,
including the Chairman.
What are you trying to say to me,
Grant? After 12 years, my job's in
I'm not prepared to discuss your job
right now; I just want you to be
aware of the situation. The alumni
and the legislature are unhappy and
they vote with their checkbooks. I
don't pretend to be an expert on
football, Sam, and I'll deny that
this conversation ever took place,
but I do know we need to win next
INT. STADIUM TUNNEL - LATE AFTERNOON
Coach Winters flanked by two assistant coaches, HUMES and
CLAYTON, walks down a cavernous tunnel beneath the stands to
a waiting car. At the end of the tunnel, a scarecrow EFFIGY
of Coach Winters hangs from an overhead pipe.
(ignoring the effigy)
Tickets are in your coat. Itinerary
and player profiles are in your
briefcase. We got a 9:00am tomorrow
in Philly with this kid Darnell
Coach Winters stops, looks up at the effigy. Humes and Clayton
fear an outburst, a display of rage.
Looks like I've lost weight.
That's it. He strides on. Humes and Clayton race to catch
This kid's the gamebreaker we've
been lookin' for.
MUSIC STARTS. TITLES BEGIN.
EXT. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - EVENING
A Boeing 737 roars into the night sky.
COACH CLAYTON (V.O.)
Had a 108 yard kickoff return against
Taft. Michigan's been down to see
INT. ST. LUKE'S HOME FOR BOYS - MORNING
Winters, Humes, Clayton and Joe Kane sit across from DARNELL
JEFFERSON and REVEREND WALLACE in a tattered parlor room.
Other boys of various ages and color look in from the
adjoining door. Darnell is black, good-looking, street-hip,
the letters D.J. shaved in block letters into his fade.
Darnell, you have the potential to
start for us as a freshman. That 108
yard kickoff return you made against
Taft? One of the greatest runs I've
ever seen a high school player make.
Now, Michigan is set at tailback for
two years. You won't play till you're
a junior. With Joe here gettin' you
the ball, runnin' 28 Thunder right,
you'll be All-American with us as a
Yes, but I'm really more concerned
with Darnell's education. He came
here late. He's got some catching up
Believe me, education is the first
priority in our program. That's why
all the players are smarter than me.
After all, a football coach is smart
enough to understand the game, but
dumb enough to think it's important.
This gets a little chuckle from the Reverend. It was intended
EXT. RURAL SOUTH CAROLINA TENANT FARM - DAY
We see a run-down tenant SHACK on the edge of a large cotton
INT. TENANT SHACK - DAY
Two rooms. Dirt floor. Two-foot Christmas tree on an apple
cart. Alvin Mack's MOTHER opens a Christmas present as Alvin
and his TWO SISTERS look on. It's an ENGRAVED LIONSHEAD
DOORKNOCKER, the kind you'de find on the door of an affluent
home. The inscription reads THE MACK'S. Alvin's mother thinks
it's beautiful, but isn't sure what to do with it.
It's real pretty, Alvin.
When I turn pro, I'll get you the
house to go with it.
INT. COACH WINTERS' HOUSE - DAY
Winters' daughter LOUANNE, 20, is on the phone with her
father. Louanne is sexy, clothes too tight, but good-natured,
somewhat needy and loyal as a labrador. She holds a hopelessly
out-of-style sweater her dad's given her for Christmas.
It's real nice, Dad.
INT. ROADSIDE MOTEL - DAY
Winters sits on the bed, eating Chinese take-out, the phone
cradled in his neck, talking to Louanne.
I knew you'de like it, Lou. Merry
Christmas. Put some fresh flowers on
your Mom's grave for me. I'll be
home in a couple days.
EXT. SMALL BRICK HOUSE - DAY
Battered and old, in a declining Pennsylvania neighborhood,
hard by a STEEL WORKS.
INT. SMALL BRICK HOUSE - DAY
Joe sits on the couch with his older brother, FRANK, watching
the bowl game he would have been in, had E.S.U. won their
last game. His FATHER, a grizzled man in his fifties, nods
in and out in a tattered armchair. All three have been
drinking beer, their empties scattered around. Frank tosses
Joe an Iron City beer.
Have another Vitamin I, Joey. Didn't
think we'de see you here this
Christmas, little brother.
You won't next year.
Yeh, well we won't rent your place
on the couch.
As Joe's father heads for the kitchen, he hangs his empty
beer can, by the pull tab, on a branch of the Christmas tree.
We see that the whole tree is covered with cans.
INT. PHILADELPHIA BOY'S HOME - NIGHT
Darnell talks on a pay phone in the hall.
You're from E.S.U?
Yeh. I was just sittin' here by the
fire doin' my homework, and decided
to give you a call. See how you're
INT. OFFICE IN E.S.U. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT - NIGHT
We see who Darnell is talking to: AUTUMN HALEY, beautiful
black girl, stylish, long straight hair, definitely not
Coach Winters has been telling me
about you. I'm looking forward to
seeing you when you come to visit.
I'll be your guide. You are coming
to visit aren't you?
We PULL BACK and REVEAL Autumn in an office with 15 other
telephones, a coed on every one. ASST. COACH MYERS supervises
with a clipboard of names and numbers.
EXT. TUNNEL OF WOLFDEN STADIUM - DAY
Joe leads Darnell down to the end of the tunnel, where Autumn
is waiting. He introduces them. She's even more attractive
than Darnell thought she'd be.
She takes Darnell's hand and leads him out onto the field
where he's greeted by the E.S.U. BAND playing the school
fight song. The CHEERLEADERS whip into action, legs kicking,
The band parts and Darnell walks out into the 90,000 seat
stadium, an awesome sight for any young man. Autumn points
to the giant DIAMOND VISION SCOREBOARD. Darnell's name and
picture appear. The stadium P.A. ANNOUNCER cuts in.
Now for the starting line-up for the
E.S.U. Timber Wolves. At tailback,
number 20, Darnell Jefferson!!
You got that right.
Darnell, in his excitement, does a little end-zone dance.
Slaps hands with Joe.
EXT. PICTURESQUE CAMPUS WALK - NIGHT
Romantic, Ivy-League look, lit by soft-glo footlights. Darnell
and Autumn walk, side by side, stopping outside Autumn's
Thanks for showin' me around, Autumn.
I don't meet too many females like
you. You got a lotta class. Real
efficacious. Maybe I'll check you
out in the fall.
I hope so, Darnell.
He leans down to kiss her. She hesitates, not sure about
this, then comes forward, kisses him on the lips, starts to
let it deepen, then breaks it off.
As he watches her go up the steps, we go to:
EXT. THE BOYS HOME - DAY
Early February: It's National Decision Day and Darnell's
home is under seige. Reporters. Microphones. Television
cameras. Darnell steps out onto the porch wearing an ESU
jersey with #1 emblazoned on it.
Now you know where I'm going and
what we're indubitably going to be.
MUSIC and TITLES END.
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS - DAY
A hot, late summer day. Over the deserted Quad, we see the
title: 6 MONTHS LATER.
It fades and we MOVE TO REVEAL a city BUS pulling up at a
curb adjacent to the Quad. Off steps Darnell, carrying one
battered suitcase. Joe Kane and BUD LITE KAMINSKY, offensive
line tackle, are there to greet him.
Hey, Darnell, Welcome to E.S.U.
Yeh, good to see you guys. What
happened to the band and the dancin'
Regular students don't come back for
two weeks yet. Not that they woulda
been here. Now that you've enrolled,
you're just another wormshit freshman.
INT. BROWNING ATHLETIC DORM - DAY
A dorm devoted exclusively to football players. Luxurious
lounges, study halls, saunas, recreation and media rooms.
Spacious living quarters. A world unto itself.
Joe and Bud usher Darnell into his room.
Here's your room. If you need anything
call the hall manager.
Darnell looks around, taking it all in. He tries to be cool,
but this is easily the nicest room he's ever had.
See ya later. Freshman Placement
test tomorrow at nine. McKinnley
Joe and Bud start down the hall. Darnell turns back into his
room, then starts to pace off it's dimensions, heel to toe.
EXT. THE 911 - NIGHT
College hang-out, bar, catering to athletes and their
admirers. A black HARLEY DAVIDSON, driven by Joe Kane with
Darnell on the back, pulls up at the curb. They get off,
INT. THE 911 - NIGHT
Joe and Darnell pass a table of three girls, conspicuous
among them is Louanne Winters. Joe and Darnell give her a
nod and proceed on to a table where three fellow players
wait: Bud Lite, BOBBY COLLINS, good-looking, silver-tongued
ladies man and 2nd string quarterback, and STEVE LATTIMER,
heavily muscled, surf-punk defensive end. Between them is a
large pitcher of beer.
Uh, oh, the Lead Dog is back. There
goes my cover of the media guide.
Hey, Bobby, Lats, how ya doin? This
is Darnell Jefferson, freshman
How ya' doin'?
I was hopin' you'de have rolled your
bike or somethin'. Nothin' serious,
just enough to keep you out for the
(pouring himself some
No such luck, Backup Man. But I'll
try to engineer a few blowouts. Get
you get some mop-up time.
Shit, Lats, you look buffed, man.
You put on some weight?
35 lbs. Spent the summer in the gym.
I'm tired of watchin' you guys play.
I intend to start this year.
You get any bigger, you can play
Yeh, but don't I have to get dumber
Bud takes a good-natured swipe at him. Lattimer deflects it.
Joe notices Bobby looking over at Louanne. She gives Bobby a
surreptitious little wave to come over and sit with her. He
gives her the "just a minute" sign.
You still seein' Louanne?
Yeh. Now and then, when the tide
rises. Don't want her to think this
is some kind've exclusive deal.
Coach finds out you're nailin' his
daughter, you'll be playin' dorm
I'll bail before that. Besides, this
is what he gets for not startin' me.
Bobby laughs and heads over to Louanne's table, as Joe pours
himself another beer.
Alvin enters the bar, goes to Joe's table, plops a copy of
Sports Illustrated down in front of Joe.
Hey, man, you seen this?
On the cover is a picture of Joe and ONE OTHER QUARTERBACK,
TIM WAYMEN. The coverline reads, HEISMAN HOPEFULS: THE YEAR
OF THE QUARTERBACK.
You must be some very bad-ass
Joe stares at the cover. He's more stunned than elated.
What? You didn't know?
I knew there was gonna be an article.
I didn't know it was gonna be on the
Shit, we do all the work. You get
all the pub. Too bad we're not allowed
to hit you in practice. Be fun to
kick the shit out of a Heisman Trophy
I guess you'll have to wait till we
get to the pros.
Beer boy, get me some.
Are you serious?
Does it look like I'm serious?
Joe drains his beer, pours another. Lattimer starts to read
form the article.
Listen to this. "E.S.U. has a solid
nucleus returning, but the
Timberwolves, coming off two
disappointing seasons, will only go
as far as the strong right arm of
Heisman Candidate Joe Kane will take
them." That right, Joe? You gonna
lead us to the promised land?
I'm gonna lead... but can you follow?
Muted chuckles, but set faces. The challenge accepted. Joe
chugs his beer, pours another.
EXT. TWO LANE HIGHWAY - NIGHT
The crowd from the 911 (Bud, Alvin, Lattimer, Darnell, Bobby
and Louanne) follow Joe down the hill behind the bar toward
a busy two-lane highway. Joe, a little drunker than the
others, starts HOWLING at the moon like a Timber Wolf. The
others join in.
What are we doin', Joe?
There's something I wanta try. Gotta
wake up our Mojo. Start settin' the
tone for the season.
This is not a good time to be settin'
anything. You're in no shape...
Suddenly Joe makes a dash out onto the highway.
Joe, c'mon Joe, don't be an asshole.
Joe! God-damnit, why's he always
doin' shit like this? Coach'll fuckin'
kill me. Alvin, go get him, will ya?
Hell no, you go get his ass. Crazy
Joe stands on the white line, cars and trucks whizzing by,
then lies down on his back, arms at his side.
JOE'S POINT OF VIEW
Cars and trucks blast toward us, roar on by, right on top of
us, honking, spraying grime, shaking the asphalt.
Bud and the others on the side of the road are increasingly
Fuck this shit.
Pissed off, Bud sprints out to the white line. The draft-
wake of a passing truck almost blows him over.
C'mon, Joe, that's enough. Let's get
the hell outa here. What if somebody
drifts or crosses the line to pass?
What's the matter, Bud? Can't you
Bud hesitates a second, scared, but stung by this dare.
God-damnit, god-damnit. Shit.
Bud can't fight it. He lies down on the line, his head
touching Joe's feet. Joe begins to HOWL again. Bud joins in.
Alvin and the others can't believe it.
Startin' to look like a loaf of Wonder
bread out there.
They're makin' us look like pussies,
ya know. Standin' here suckin' our
Yeh, and there's nobody from the
Defense out there.
Bobby and Lattimer look at each other a beat. Time to ante
up. Both turn to Alvin.
What are you lookin' at? You think
Alvin snorts in disgust and starts out onto the blacktop.
Bobby and Lattimer smile, go to follow. Louanne grabs Bobby,
holds him back.
Bobby, be careful, o.k? Please, be
Bobby smiles, grabs her ass, pulls her to him, gives her a
long, passionate kiss, then sprints out to the white line,
leaving her breathless.
Alvin, Bobby and Lattimer lie down in front of Bud. Now
there's a line of five, a human highway median. Everybody
scared shitless, howling their lungs out.
Louanne and Darnell watch from the side of the road.
This guy do this kinda shit a lot?
They never mentioned this in
Finally, Joe laughing wildly, jumps up and they all scramble
back to safety. Out of breath, but pumped up, they exchange
exhilarated high fives. Alvin just shakes his head.
INT. EXAMINATION ROOM - MORNING
Twenty freshman football players, including Darnell, are
scattered at tables around the room, writing furiously in
test booklets, as a PROCTOR paces the room. Darnell starts
to write an answer, stops, stumped. Worried, he looks at the
clock, goes on to the next page.
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS - MORNING
Darnell and Joe walk across campus. Darnell carries a
gleaming, chromed TROPHY with a football player on top. He's
still thinking about the test.
I don't know... I left a lot of 'em
Don't worry, you'll do all right.
Lotta people don't finish.
What are you doin' with the trophy?
Coach Winters asked me to bring it
to the meeting. I don't know what
Suddenly Darnell sees Autumn walking across the Quad.
I'll see ya at the meeting.
(handing him the trophy)
Take this for me, will ya?
Joe starts to protest, but Darnell is already off, racing
across the Quad, quickly catching up with Autumn.
Hey, Autumn, hold up! What're you
doing here? I thought students didn't
come back for two weeks.
I came back early to see a friend.
You're looking fresh, Autumn. A
package of pulchritudiness. What
about getting together later tonight?
Maybe get a pizza? They got pizza in
this town don't they?
I can't tonight.
How about tomorrow night?
I don't think it's a real good idea
for us to see each other, Darnell.
What's the matter? I'm not good enough
for you all of a sudden? Too young,
is that it? I'm not, ya know. They
held me back a year.
No, it's not that... I've got a
Did you have this boyfriend when you
showed me around?
(reluctant to admit
Yeah, well, it didn't seem to bother
you then. I'm willing to overlook it
I was mad at him.
I caught him with another girl. A
And you're still with this nigger?
She nods, slightly embarrassed.
Look, I got to get going, Darnell.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to lead you
on. I'm glad you came here.
She starts walking away.
Wait a minute. I can at least walk
with you, can't I? Nothin' wrong
She speeds up. He speeds up.
I'm in a hurry.
I can keep up. I run the forty in
She's just about to say something when RAY GRIFFEN arrives.
Ray's the starting tailback, black, handsome, clean-cut,
well-spoken, middle class.
Hey, Autumn --
This is exactly what Autumn didn't want to happen. Ray and
Darnell eye each other like a couple of roosters.
Hi, Ray. This is...
(cutting in, offering
(just as pointedly)
I know. That's why they recruited
Autumn can't believe he said this. She starts to interject
something to break the tension, but never gets the chance.
The two guys they recruited before
you are handing out Gatorade now.
(making the jerkoff
Better start strengthening your wrist.
(departing, to Ray)
Give my best to Miss Lilly.
Autumn's mortification is complete.
What the hell is that supposed to
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS - DAY
Establish the new, modern KELLER CENTER, home of the E.S.U.
INT. KELLER CENTER - DAY
The football meeting room. A quarter amphitheatre. The
Freshman, including Darnell, down in front. Nervous, talking
very little, eyes playing over the pictures of former E.S.U.
greats arranged on the Wall of Honor.
Behind them, the Upperclassmen, bantering, conversation
punctuated with laughter.
A door opens. The Assistant Coaches file in. The room hushes
immediately. Coach Winters walks in. The Upperclassmen break
into applause; the Freshmen quickly take their cue and join
Good to see you again, gentlemen.
(catching sight of
Jefferson, either take off the earring
or put on a dress.
The upperclassmen hoot, as Darnell, embarrassed, takes off
I wanna talk a little about what
we're trying to do here. There are
many highly respected people who
feel football is about preparation
The players nod reverentially at this established axiom of
the football cannon.
These people are full of shit. You
see, football is not like life.
It's better. More exciting, more
intense, more fun. In life, people
are always wondering how they measure
up; whether they're getting ahead or
fallin' behind. In football, you
know. Every week you get a chance to
show what you're made of, a chance
to demonstrate the physical and
personal qualities that all those
poor bastards who can't play this
game are left to agonize about.
Spreading smiles all around. It's good to be a football
Last year we didn't make enough of
those chances. Last year everyone
felt we let the school down. Fuck
the school. We let ourselves down.
(pointing to the Wall
We let down a great tradition, a 120-
year-old Line of Champions.
The smiles are gone. Lots of set faces now. Shame. anger,
Any football program worth the name
is a special brotherhood, an elite
corps of warriors, a select group of
knights. That first time our starting
unit takes the field, the first time
we huddle up; that's our inner circle,
that's our Round Table. If I were an
upperclassman, I'd be real nervous
about my seat, cause we got some
very talented new-comers this year.
Guys who want a place at the Table.
trophy from behind
This is the trophy one of our
freshman, Darnell Jefferson, won as
a Pennsylvania State High School
First Team All-American. You know
what this says to me?
The freshmen are hanging on every word.
Not a god-damn thing.
He smashes the trophy on the podium, breaking it in half,
shattering the base. Darnell and the other freshmen are agog.
The upperclassmen stifle laughs, particularly Ray Griffen.
(to the freshmen)
Everybody here was a high school All-
(to all the players)
Whatever any of you have done before
is out the window. We're startin'
over. Ground zero. The Table is empty.
Are you ready?
The upperclassmen nod, steely, purposeful. We go to the
freshmen. They're not so sure.
SMASH CUT TO:
EXT. E.S.U. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY
Passing drills. Joe Kane takes a snap, fades to pass, throws
an out. The ball sails two feet over the receiver's head.
Joe's angry with himself.
He's too pumped up. Tryin' to win
the damn Heisman on every throw. I'm
not sure he's ready for all this
Little late to be worryin' about
that. If we don't follow up the Sports
Illustrated cover with something,
it'll look like we didn't believe in
our own player.
Don't worry, Joe's a tough kid. He'll
EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY
Scrimmage. Joe hands off to Darnell. He sweeps right, cuts
it up, blows past the end. In a spectacular display of broken
field running, Darnell breaks to the sideline, cuts back,
eluding the corner back, and stiffarms the safety. Alvin,
pursuing the play, finally tackles him from behind, stripping
the ball at the same time. There's a wild scramble for the
fumble. Darnell is crushed under the pile, as the defense
recovers it, ruining an otherwise brilliant run.
The players unpile to reveal Darnell, writhing on the ground,
the wind knocked out of him. Ray Griffen runs by to take his
Hey, nice writhing, Jefferson. You
got all the moves.
(shouting to the team)
Allright, move it up. Let's go, 15
yards, run the next play.
The scrimmage moves up 15 yards leaving Darnell behind.
Winters sprints over to Lattimer, grabs him by the face mask.
Cut the necktie tackle horseshit.
You think you're in some kinda
highlight reel? He left you huggin'
air. Target his guts. Drive right
through his abdomen. I wanta see
snot bubbles in his nose. I wanta
see shit in his underwear.
Lattimer nods chastised. Winters moves over to check on
You injured, Jefferson, or just hurt?
What do you mean?
If you're hurt, you can still play.
If you're injured you can't. Are you
hurt or are you injured?
I think I'm just hurt.
O.k., then get up.
Winters extends a hand. Darnell grabs it, struggles shakily
to his feet
Nice run. Think what it coulda done
for us if we still had the ball.
(handing him the ball)
This is a football. I want you to
carry it with you wherever you go.
Never let it out of your sight.
(to the rest of the
Any of you see him on campus, take a
swipe at the ball. Try to knock it
out of his hands. Recover it.
(to Darnell again)
If anybody, but you, returns this
ball to me, you'll wish you'de never
Winters wheels off leaving a wobbly Darnell alone with his
This isn't gonna get it, goddamnit.
INT. WINTER'S OFFICE, LOCKER ROOM - DAY
Winters, mad as hell, is berating his assistant coaches who
are sitting, cowed in his office.
I see tackling, but I don't see
hitting. I see effort, but I don't
see ferocity. What do you think,
they're gonna motivate themselves?
Football's just a game to most of
these kids. This is our program, our
livelihood. It's our job to make
them care as much about it as we do.
Make them hate me if you have to.
It'll bring them together, give them
a focus. So get off your butts and
put the fear of God in these guys.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - LATER AFTERNOON
Dead tired players toweling off, dressing. The trainer's
room is crowded with aching, cramped-up, contused players.
Across the way, Lattimer lifts weights, alone in the weight
room. Clayton and Humes consider this from outside Winters'
Shit, Lattimer's an animal all of a
sudden. Benchin' 450. He's gotta be
What, steroids? Why do you always
think my guys are juicin'?
I don't know... he's on the punt
team for three years, then gains 35
pounds of rip in one summer and an
attitude to go with it.
Winters, who's heard all this, comes by.
We're not doctors, gentlemen. The
NCAA has testing programs for this.
Let's let them worry about it.
Besides, it's not that hard to put
on 35 pounds in a summer, if you
really hit the gym.
Winters walks on into his office. Clayton nods, realizing
this subject is now closed.
INT. DARNELL'S ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
Darnell walks in, wrung out from the day's practice, stumbles
to the bed where he sees something that stops him - lying
there is his PENNSYLVANIA STATE ALL AMERICAN TROPHY. Coach
Winters actually smashed a replica. A smile appears on
Darnell's tired face.
INT. TRAINING TABLE DINING ROOM - NIGHT
For football players only. Bud Lite moves through the
What you got tonight?
Choice of three entrees. Shrimp,
lasagna, T-bone steak.
Tough choice. I'll take all three.
What a surprise.
ANGLE ON DARNELL
at another table with Alvin and several other black players.
Lattimer is the only white.
When do they give ya the scores on
that Placement Test?
Who cares? I flunked it three times,
before I got in.
Long as you're in the program, they'll
get you through. Maybe not with a
degree, but they'll keep you eligible.
Just don't do nothin' embarrassing
they can't cover you for.
Hell, they even give Alvin copies of
his tests in advance. He sells 'em
for a hundred bucks a pop to people
in his class. 'Course he's gotta
have somebody read 'em to him.
Fuck you, doughboy. I can read. See
(points to his shoes)
That says Nike.
I still don't wanna flunk that test.
I wanta get a degree.
What do you think, nigger? You're
gonna be on the Supreme Court? All
you need to know is how to sign an
Darnell's stung by this. He'd like to think of himself as
capable of more.
Suddenly, Coach Winters appears at the door, a surprise
visitor to the training table. All the players wearing
baseball caps, quickly doff them. Winters is angry.
What's the matter with you guys?
You're supposed to be a team. Winning
depends on thinking and acting and
going to war together. But you don't
even eat like a team. You eat like
two teams. A white one and a black
one. What do I have to do? Make out
a seating chart? Now get up. Move
around. Mix it up. Now!
The players all look at each other, then reluctantly get up
and change tables. Darnell sits next to Joe.
Hi there. Darnell Jefferson. I'm a
young black man.
Hey, glad to meet ya. Joe Kane,
Caucasian. So what doya think a that
new Garth Brooks album?
I love that motherfucker.
Coach Winters surveys the scene, sees that all the tables
are integrated now.
That's more like it.
He turns and walks on out. Immediately, the players begin to
drift back to their old tables.
INT. WEIGHT ROOM - NIGHT
Joe, Bud Lite and Bobby Collins, all suffering from various
aches and pains are getting Naperson and analgesic balm out
of the non-prescription drug cabinet. Joe pops a Nap and
looks across to the weight room where a stunning co-ed CAMILLE
SCHAEFFER works a knee lift. Camille's the perfect marriage
of Southern patrician beauty and athletic confirmation. Joe
leaves the others, heads over, pokes his head in.
How ya' doin'?
Little late to be workin' out, isn't
(with a little edge)
Only time I could get in here when
the football team wasn't usin' it.
(trying to get a rise
out of her)
Well, if it wasn't for the football
team, might not be a weight room to
use. You tryin' to firm up a little,
Don't need to firm up. I'm
strengthening my knee. Had
Had my knee scoped once too. When
you're finished here, maybe we could
get a yogurt, compare scars.
Sorry, I don't date football players.
They're all full of themselves. I
saw you on the cover of Sports
Illustrated, so you're probably worse
That's real open minded of you. So
you won't consider doin' anything
Well at least tell me what happened
to your knee. What'd you do? Fall
outa your convertible?
Camille stops her knee lift, turns to Joe. We think she's
going to fire on him. Wrong.
You know, there's maybe one thing
I'd do with you.
Tennis. I'll play tennis with you.
Camille starts to walk away.
Tennis. You mean now? It's raining.
SMASH CUT TO:
CAMILLE - TENNIS COURTS - NIGHT
smashing a two-fisted forehand right at us, grunting with
the exertion. Joe scrambles to get it back, but Camille's a
world-class player. She attacks with a vengeance, blasting
every shot ala Jimmy Connors, as Bud Lite and Bobby Collins
We begin a SERIES OF CUTS detailing Camille's relentless
dismantling of Joe: Camille drilling a backhand down the
line, Joe barely getting it back to the net. Camille hitting
a powerhouse service ace, Joe lunging and whiffing the return.
Camille crushing another forehand. Joe crushes it back, sends
it over the fence and into the parking lot. Camille serving
again at match point. Joe pops up a weak return. Camille
puts it away with a powerhouse overhead, the ball almost
knocking Joe down. He flings his racket against the fence.
Camille comes to the net to shake hands, but Joe hangs back.
Thanks for the game, Heisman. You
took it really well.
And she walks away along to the net. Joe goes after her,
What's this Heisman crap?
Camille's taken aback, not realizing she'd struck a nerve.
I didn't say anything about being a
Heisman candidate. I don't go around
strokin' myself about it. So what's
this shit you're givin' me?
I... I'm sorry... I just figured you
were probably kissin' yourself in
the mirror every morning.
You figured wrong.
Now Joe walks away and Camille goes after him.
So what do you want, an apology? I
just gave you one.
I want a rematch.
Some other sport. I took my beating.
You owe me one. Either that or we go
Camille considers, tries to figure out what she'd dislike
least, knowing it'd be cheap to choose neither.
I'll think about it.
Camille walks off, disappearing through the gate. Joe walks
off in the other direction. Bud Lite and Bobby follow.
Real good date, Joe. Remind me to
take her out.
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS - MORNING
Opening day of school. We take CUTS of students arriving,
football players checking out the new girls from atop the
wall of the athletic dorm, Louanne and Autumn greeting
returning sisters at the sorority, students registering for
INT. ACADEMIC ADVISOR'S OFFICE - MORNING
Darnell sits across from WILLIAM SMITH, Academic Advisor.
Darnell, I've reviewed your placement
test and I'm afraid you failed to
meet our entrance requirements in
What does that mean? I can't play
No. It means you're going to have to
take some remedial classes, what we
call "zero level" courses.
Specifically Math 0 and English 0.
Darnell is clearly deflated by this painful indication of
his academic standing.
You won't get college credit for
them, but they will help you prepare
to take the Placement Test again at
the end of the quarter. If you pass
at that time you'll be able to
officially enter the university and
take college level courses. You'll
still be able to take an American
History survey course, but it won't
count on your record until you pass
the Placement Test. But first things
first. To start, I'm approving a
tutor for you.
A tutor? I don't need no tutor.
Any tutor. And yes you do.
INT. ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
A meeting of the football brain trust; Coach Winters, Athletic
Director, GALEN HOWARD, a publicist, SHARON BRAVER, and the
Sports Information Director (S.I.D.) LARRY NICHOLS. Also
present is Joe Kane, somewhat discomfited at being the center
of all this attention.
I think both Joe and the university
are best served by a straightforward
Heisman campaign. Nothing too
We've compiled a mailing list of
around 1300 opinion makers;
newspapers, football writers, and
sports anchors. First we send them a
packet on Joe and his achievements.
Bio, stats, plus human interest stuff;
commitment to academics, charity
work, etc. Then we update it each
week with a postcard. Heisman voters
hate opening envelopes.
Joe is increasingly uneasy with all this.
I haven't really done any charity
You're gonna start. We've got some
things lined up.
Unfortunately, because we weren't in
the top 20 last year, we only have
one network T.V. game to give Joe
national exposure. Although it's a
good one; Michigan. But we'll also
be taping all our other games and
buying satellite time. That way we
can produce our own highlight package
and interview pieces and send them
out to T.V. stations all over the
country for their sportscasts.
Any questions, Joe?
If Joe was uneasy before, he's overwhelmed now. He tries not
to show it. After all, who could turn down a Heisman campaign?
Still it's a megaton of pressure.
Ah, no... I just... you really think
I got a shot to win this?
Hell, yes. Plus it's a good thing
for the program. Publicizes the
school, gives a boost to recruiting,
and it's a great thing for you. Jumps
up your draft position, the size of
your first contract, everything.
It's a hell of an opportunity.
All you gotta do is back it up on
the field, and we have no doubts
about that, cause we know "Kane is
Nichols holds up a black CAMPAIGN BUTTON with the phrase
"Kane is Able" enblazoned on it in gold letters. This gets a
rise out of everyone except Joe, who's still not sure about
INT. JOE KANE'S BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT
Joe lies on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, unable to
get to sleep.
INT. CAMILLE'S BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT
The phone rings. Camille, who's been asleep, rolls over and
This is Joe Kane. What did you decide?
(looking at the clock)
It's 3:00 in the morning.
I wanta know what you decided.
I don't know... I couldn't think of
any other sports I could beat you
Then I'll pick you up tonight at
He hangs up.
INT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - DAY
Autumn sits at a tutorial table, looking at her notes. She
becomes aware of someone approaching. She looks up to see
Hi, Darnell. What are you doin here?
My advisor says I need a tutor. Ya
know, just to get me over a couple
(showing her a paper)
I saw your name on this list. I
figured if you couldn't keep my
attention, nobody could.
I'm sorry, Darnell, but I've already
been assigned. You're gonna have to
find somebody else. I'm tutoring
Not anymore. I asked Coach Winters
to switch us.
Coach Winters wouldn't do that.
Yeh he would. I'm a bigger prospect
(pointing across the
He's a lineman on the scout team.
Autumn looks back to where Darnell is pointing. Sure enough,
SCOTT SHERMAN is hard at work with another Tutor. Autumn
can't believe it. She tries to compose herself.
Darnell sits down across the table from her.
C'mon Autumn, you could teach me
some real erudition.
(trying to whisper,
Will you stop using those big words.
It sounds ridiculous.
(serious about this)
What doya mean? I'm improvin' myself.
I learn a new word out of the
dictionary every day. Mendacious,
And you don't ever use them right.
Pretending to be smart is not the
same as being educated. Or erudite.
It's just a con. And it makes you
sound stupid, no matter how big a
prospect you are.
Darnell is genuinely hurt by this dose of reality. His
customary bravado melts away.
O.K... even more reason for you to
be my tutor. You already taught me
Autumn, disarmed by his sudden humility, has no real rebuttal.
She would have had to tutor him anyway, but now she's having
trouble being angry about it.
At another table, looking distracted and bored as his TUTOR
reads his history assignment to him. Alvin takes out a walkman
and puts the headphones on. WE HEAR A HORN BEEP.
EXT. CAMILLE'S DORM - LATE AFTERNOON
Camille comes out the front door, summoned by the horn. She
stops at the sight of something. We REVERSE TO REVEAL Joe on
We goin' on that?
Yeh. I thought we might take a ride.
I promised my dad I'd never get on
one of those.
What are you, one of these trust-
fund princesses? It's fine for me to
play a game I don't know, but I ask
you to try somethin' different and
you hide behind your daddy.
He holds out a motorcycle helmet toward her, daring her. She
burns, but her competitiveness makes it impossible for her
to decline this challenge.
(snatching the helmet)
All right. But we go slow. No cowboy
Joe smiles and kicks the starter. Camille climbs on and they
EXT. TWO LANE HIGHWAY - NIGHT
Just outside town. Joe and Camille come down the highway at
moderate speed. Camille's hanging on for dear life, but we
can tell she's enjoying it.
This speed, o.k.?
Joe immediately accelerates, throwing Camille's head back.
Her SHRIEK is lost in the whine of the engine, as they speed
away from camera.
Slow down, damnit. Joe... Joe!
They approach a high-banked turn, beyond which appears to be
a long, sheer dropoff. Joe looks back at Camille, smiles
devilishly, not looking where he's going. Camille sees they're
heading straight for the edge.
Joe, look out!!!
Too late. Joe brakes, fishtails, but goes over the top of
the bank, off the edge, flying out into oblivion, Camille
ANGLE ON HARLEY
As it plops down onto a wide LEDGE not visible from the road,
three feet below the top of the bank. Joe lands it, skids to
a professional stop, breaks into raucous laughter. Camille
jumps off the bike, scared stiff and livid with anger.
How could you do that, you stupid
punk? It isn't funny, god-dammit,
you coulda killed us! You're crazy,
you know that...
Take it easy. I've done that a hundred
times. No big deal.
Oh, yeh? Then why are you shaking?
I don't know... I guess cause I've
never done it with someone else on
You just wanted to scare me. Are you
Yeh, pretty much. And the scream was
even better than I thought it'd be.
Every dog within hearing distance
wants to mate with you now.
Camille's ready to throttle him, then something catches her
ear. Sure enough, there are SEVERAL DOGS BARKING in the
distance. Joe smiles at her. She looks away, still angry,
but amused in spite of herself.
INT. ROADSIDE BAR - NIGHT
Working class, sawdust floor, George Thoroughgood's "Who Do
You Love" on the jukebox. Camille and Joe are sitting in a
booth. Joe putting away the beers.
You come here a lot?
Now and then. Why?
It's not exactly a campus favorite.
This is almost like hidin' out.
I like places where nobody knows me.
This too low-rent for you?
No, my dad owned a place like this.
Your dad? You mean he owned a chain
Not everybody with a Southern accent
has their own plantation. My dad
could never afford to send me here.
I learned to play tennis on public
courts. Mighta been able to play pro
someday, if I hadn't hurt my knee.
So you're just a scholarship jock
Yeh. You disappointed?
No, I've just never been out with a
Is that what we're doin' here? Goin'
I don't know. What doya think?
Joe gets up, takes Camille's hand and pulls her to her feet.
They dance to a slow song.
I think you're crazy for jeopardizing
your scholarship and a pro future by
jumping motorcycles off of highways.
Just tryin' to keep my edge, Camille.
The other guys look to me cause they
think I'll do anything. I lose that,
I'm just another guy, and we all get
our ass kicked.
I don't know, Joe. You scare me.
INT. ATHLETIC DORM GARAGE - NIGHT
Joe roars in on his motorcycle. Parks. Starts inside. Finds
himself face to face with a very unhappy Coach Winters.
Winters holds out his hand.
Joe hesitates a second, then reluctantly hands over his
I told you, as long as you're in
this program, you don't take
unnecessary risks off the field. A
man in contention for the Heisman
Trophy should be able to remember
Joe nods, contrite. Winters just walks on off.
INT. STUDY HALL - CAMPUS LIBRARY - DAY
Autumn is tutoring Darnell, checking her lesson notes.
O.K., using the things we worked on
yesterday, I want you to write a two
or three page essay on some aspect
of your life. Something other than
Your father, maybe. You could write
about your dad.
Don't know that much about him. He
was off in Detroit workin' in a car
plant when I was born. Got laid off,
tried to rob a jewelry store to get
us some money. He died in prison.
Some kinda heart problem.
Autumn wasn't ready for this level of hardship. She tries to
press on gamely.
How about your mother?
She was always workin'. Usually two
jobs. Comin' home one night she
stopped to get us some root beer.
Got caught in a gang crossfire. Shot
three times... died on the way to
the hospital. You want me to write
Good, 'cause none of it's true.
Autumn jumps up.
(raising her voice)
Jesus Christ, Darnell what a terrible
thing to do to somebody. That's not
funny. That's sick.
Autumn realizes she's in the library and sits back down.
Had ya goin', didn't I?
(soft library voice)
No you didn't. You just... How could
you make up somethin' like that?
Sounded more interesting than the
truth. My mom took a vacation to
Chicago when I was 12. Never came
back. Don't know who my dad was.
Autumn's anger melts away in the face of this painful truth.
Who took care of you?
I started hangin' with the J.B.M.,
gang-bangin'... Did some time in the
Hall. Reverand Wallace saw me playin'
football on a juvenile probation
team. Took me in, got me into high
school. Only reason they accepted me
was 'cause I could play football.
Sorta like here. Football saved my
life. I'd be nowhere without football.
Autumn just nods, still trying to take this all in.
Well, then... maybe you could write
about football this once.
Yeh, o.k... thanks.
I've seen a lotta shitty things in
my life, Autumn. That's why I know
when I see somethin' good.
Autumn knows this is no line. He means it. She's seeing him
with new eyes. Moved by his pain, engaged by his sincerity,
and more than a little taken by his regard for her.
across the room with his tutor.
Let's review the chapter I read you
yesterday. Which two city states
fought in the Punic Wars?
I dunno. Detroit and Buffalo.
C'mon, Alvin. You're gonna be tested
INT. FOOTBALL MEETING - AFTERNOON
A video projector projects various football formations on
Okay, Alvin, this is Mississippi
State's offensive set. 2nd and 2 on
our 24. What defense are you in?
Eagle. Zipper. Hero. Unless the set
back shifts into the I.
How about here? 3rd and 7.
Okie. Thunder. Lion.
What's your assignment?
Kill the Quarterback.
Hit the tight end so hard his
MUSIC UP - MONTAGE SEQUENCE BEGINS
EXT. JOE'S ROOM - EVENING
Joe watches Bud Lite, Darnell, Alvin and Lattimer file in
and unveil a life-size CARDBOARD STAND-UP of Joe's Sports
Illustrated cover pose. They whoop it up, as Joe tries to
muster some enthusiasm.
INT. STUDY HALL - NIGHT
Autumn's pointing out a figure on a graph in Darnell's math
book. As she explains, Darnell leans close to kiss her. Autumn
quickly leans away, glances around to see if anyone saw
Darnell's attempt. Darnell laughs.
INT. AMERICAN HISTORY CLASSROOM - DAY
A group of football players sits in the back of the class.
As the HISTORY PROFESSOR lectures at the board, Darnell
furiously takes notes. Scott Sherman, seizing the opportunity,
leans forward from the desk behind him and pokes the football
out of Darnell's left hand. Darnell, Scott and two other
FRESHMAN FOOTBALL PLAYERS spring out of their seats,
scrambling after the loose ball. The prof and the other
students watch appalled as Darnell and the others dive under
chairs and overturn desks in pursuit of the elusive ball.
Finally, Darnell, winded and disheveled, comes up with it.
He and the others quickly return to their seats. The prof
looks at Darnell aghast.
Sorry... I lost my football.
INT. RAQUETBALL COURT - DAY
Joe and Camille are locked up in a furious game of raquetball.
Joe makes a wicked kill shot on the last point, and pumps a
fist in triumph. Camille, pissed at losing, throws her racket
and stomps around.
EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
Darnell and Autumn are having a daytime tutoring session on
a secluded patch of lawn. Darnell holds his football. As he
begins to read aloud from East of Eden, Autumn pokes the
ball out of his hand. They both scramble for it, Darnell
winding up slightly on top of her. They eye each other a
beat. Darnell bends down to kiss her. She lets herself kiss
him for a second, then gets up and starts to collect her
INT. ATHLETIC CENTER - DAY
Several of the players are gathered around a bulletin board
in the hall. The starting lineup for the first game has been
posted. Darnell traces his finger from the designation
TAILBACK over to the name RAY GRIFFEN. He drops his eyes,
Lattimer, meanwhile, is checking the defensive board. He
finds his name posted as a starting defensive end. Punching
the air, he dashes out of the building.
Yes!! Starting defense. Place at the
table. Whooo!! Yes!!
EXT. PARKING LOT - DAY
Lattimer, in his euphoria, races out into the lot, and begins
head-butting car windows. He breaks out three in a row, and
yells in triumph, his forehead dripping blood.
Winters, walking with the TEAM TRAINER, has seen this from
across the street. He knows there's something dark at work
N.C.A.A. is gonna test half the team
before the game Saturday. Make sure
Lattimer knows about it.
MUSIC AND MONTAGE END
INT. FOOTBALL MEETING ROOM - NIGHT
The chairs are arranged in several circles, ten players to a
circle, like a bunch of formalized huddles. Coach Winters
addresses the assembly.
As the veteran players know, we have
Pride Night every year before our
opening game. It's a chance to get
to know each other better, share
some thoughts, and bring us closer
together as a team. So to start off,
I'd like each player to tell the
others in his group what he likes
best about football and then what
he's most proud of off the field.
I've asked some of the seniors to
lead it off. Gentlemen.
ANGLE ON LATTIMER IN HIS CIRCLE
I don't know... It's the battle. The
goin' to war with the other guys.
INT. CAMPUS BALLROOM - GAME DAY
The team walks through several plays. They wear coats and
ties, but no socks. Their ankles are taped.
Bein' different from everybody else.
Havin' our own dorm, stayin' in hotels
the night before games. Settin'
INT. LOCKER ROOM - GAME DAY
Before the game. An NCAA OFFICIAL gives Lattimer a little
test tube to urinate in for his drug test. Lattimer goes
into one of the restroom stalls, reaches around to the back
of the tank, where a VIAL OF CLEAN URINE is taped. He pours
it in the test vial.
Havin' a chance to be somebody. To
do somethin' that people look up to
you for. Your strength and your
courage. Not everybody can play
football. We're the lucky ones.
INT. FOOTBALL MEETING ROOM - THE NIGHT BEFORE AGAIN
The thing I'm most proud of myself
INT. LOCKER ROOM - GAME DAY
Darnell listening to a Walkman, is going through a pregame
ritual by his locker; pivoting from leg to leg, switching
the ball from arm to arm.
Just that I'm here. That I'm not
dead or in jail.
INT. FOOTBALL MEETING ROOM - THE NIGHT BEFORE AGAIN
The great thing about football is
you can lose yourself in it.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - GAME DAY
Joe sits off in a corner by himself, his head back against
the wall, staring out into space, the only movement the
rhythmic tapping of his feet.
There's no time to think, to worry,
to have doubts. Everything else fades
away. You just move and react.
INT. FOOTBALL MEETING ROOM - THE NIGHT BEFORE
The best thing is when you dominate.
That feeling when you hit a guy real
good, really stick him, and you hear
that little moan.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - GAME DAY
Alvin, his ass-kicking game face on, walks over to where
Lattimer is finishing decorating his face with Indian war
paint. They chuck each other's pads, then Lattimer opens his
mouth. Alvin spits into it. Then Lattimer spits into Alvin's.
Darnell can't believe this shit.
You know it's killin' him, but you
feel great. It's just him and you,
and he's the one that's hurtin'.
We move in on the burning ferocity of Alvin's eyes and
SMASH CUT TO:
INT. STADIUM TUNNEL - GAME DAY
The Players are bunched together in the tunnel, slapping
pads, yelling encouragement. Winters waves them forward.
They start to run down the tunnel.
CAMERA runs with the players as the light at the end of the
tunnel becomes larger and brighter. Crowd NOISE becomes louder
until finally the camera emerges into the stadium and the
light and 95,000 VOICES ROAR. AND ROAR! AND ROAR! This is
Big Time College Football.
INT. RADIO BROADCAST BOOTH
E.S.U. announcer BRAD HARVEY and colorman, HARMON SLOAN are
Welcome everybody to the Wolf Den
where the E.S.U. Timberwolves, led
by Heisman candidate Joe Kane, open
their season against the tough
Mississippi State Bulldogs under
head coach Jackie Sherrill.
EXT. THE FIELD - DAY
The crowd stands, waving banners, as the E.S.U. kicker comes
forward and kicks the ball high into the fall sky. The
MISSISSIPPI STATE RETURN MAN fields the ball at the four
yard line and returns it to the 22 where he's buried. The
defense trots out and huddles up.
All right, let's get evil. 60 minutes,
balls out. Let's open a can of kick-
ass. Kill 'em all. Let the paramedics
sort 'em out.
The Mississippi State offense breaks it's huddle, comes to
the line of scrimmage. Alvin, prowling behind the line, locks
eyes with the tailback, No.23.
Hey, 23, don't think I don't recognize
you, you little fuck.
The tailback looks away.
Hey, pay attention when I'm talkin'
to you, nigger. You're the guy that
shot my mother aren't you?
You were tryin' to steal her fuckin'
car weren't you, cocksucker.
Shut up. I never heard of your mother.
On the sidelines, Darnell is watching this exchange.
What's Alvin saying to that guy?
Just gettin' himself pumped up.
He wasn't pumped up already?
ANGLE ON ALVIN AGAIN
Thought I'd never find you didn't
ya? But I got you now nigger, and
I'm gonna kill you motherfucker. I'm
gonna bust your guts open and watch
The ball is snapped. The quarterback pitches to the tailback
as Alvin charges into the hole, screaming at the top of his
lungs. The tailback, eyes wide with fear, cuts back, away
from Alvin, where he's promptly crunched by Lattimer. The
ball flies loose, there's a scramble, Alvin comes up with
it. E.S.U. ball.
The bench and stands erupt as Lattimer and Alvin but heads
and trot off the field.
Atta baby, Alvin, heads up. Big pop,
Steve, way to stick 'em.
(turning to Joe)
O.K. Joe, let's go up top. Take it
to 'em right away.
Joe leads the offense on. A disappointed Darnell stands on
O.K. let's put the women and children
to bed, and go lookin' for dinner.
Don't let em up. 51 Strike, Orange
left. On 4.
Joe begins to howl like a wolf. The others join in. A pack
of Timberwolves. They break the huddle, come to the line of
scrimmage. Bud Lite begins to sing.
Bali Hi, will call you, anytime, any
day. Here am I, your special island...
Bud lines up opposite a big, black DEFENSIVE TACKLE.
Shut up, snowflake. You think you're
in the school play?
No, Bali Hi, the endzone is calling.
And the highway runs right over your
Bullshit, you're gonna be my bitch,
baby. You gonna be my punk bitch.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen,
good night, I hate to go and leave
this pretty sight.
Joe hits the 4 count, and the ball is snapped. Bud Lite and
the Big Tackle fire out. Bud drives a forearm into the stomach
of the Black Tackle, doubling him over. The Black Tackle
comes back, slamming a forearm up under Bud's chin, snapping
his neck back.
Joe, meanwhile, fades to pass, pump fakes, steps up. Bud
Lite, chicken fighting the Black Tackle, sticks his fingers
in the Tackle's eyes, then cut-blocks him to the ground. The
Tackle falls on Bud, and smashes a fist into his ribs. Bud
rolls him over.
Joe spots his flanker back, MAURICE WARD, on a flag pattern.
Lofts a perfect spiral to him in the corner of the endzone.
The crowd goes wild, as Bud Lite pushes off the Black Tackle's
throat getting up from the pile. Joe pumps a fist in the
air, hugs Ward, as the team celebrates. MUSIC BEGINS.
FADE THROUGH TO:
ANGLE ON SCOREBOARD
It reads E.S.U. 28, Mississippi State 20. 4th Quarter.
Jefferson! In for Griffen.
Darnell jazzed at his first chance to see action, buttons
his chinstrap, races onto the field.
2:05 left. Kane hands to Jefferson...
ANGLE ON DARNELL
He takes a handoff, runs a trap up the middle, is hit by
THREE TACKLERS, clawing at the ball. They bring him down,
but Darnell doesn't fumble. He gets up, still clutching the
ball, and starts back to the huddle with it. The REFEREE
hustles after him.
Excuse me, son, but we're gonna need
that football for another couple
Darnell, suddenly realizing, gives it up. Even Winters has
to laugh. We go to:
ANGLE ON LATTIMER
Lattimer, sacking the quarterback, tackling him high, ripping
his helmet off. Lattimer runs off the field, holding it up
like a trophy.
The gun sounds, the game is over.
ANGLE ON COACH WINTERS
Accepting congratulations from his staff.
Guess we'll be on the payroll for
ANGLE ON BUD LITE AND THE BLACK TACKLE
walking off the field together, both their jerseys blood-
Good game, man. Really enjoyed it.
Yeh, you're a strong motherfucker.
Shitty singer though.
INT. PENTHOUSE HOTEL SUITE - AFTERNOON
A reception of some sort for the players is in progress.
Darnell, looking a little lost, fills his cup from a punch
bowl. A FAT CAT ALUMNUS approaches him.
Good to see ya in there, Darnell.
Way to hold on to that pigskin.
As he walks by, he slips an ENVELOPE into Darnell's coat
pocket. Darnell opens it to find a 50 dollar bill. Surprised,
he goes over to Alvin.
Hey, some guy just gave me a 50 dollar
Don't worry, you'll get 5 or 6 hundred
once you're startin', depending on
how you play.
But we're not supposed to get any
Hey, man, you can't live on $500 a
month scholarship money. And the NC
double assholes won't let us have
jobs, so you take your money where
you can get it.
I'll keep it for you, till you see
the light. Shit, they oughta be payin'
us anyway. Athletic Department gets
3 million just for goin' to a bowl
INT. JOE'S ROOM - EVENING
Joe sits alone on his bed watching T.V. He's being interviewed
in the locker room, a bouquet of microphones in his face.
This performance today -- two
touchdown passes, another you ran
in. Where do you think this puts you
in the Heisman race?
Joe hates this question. We go to the screen.
I really have no idea. That's up to
ANGLE ON SCREEN
The image changes to ESPN anchor CHRIS BERMAN in the studio.
Now let's turn to our Heisman watch.
(does the pose while
We begin with Sports Illustrated
cover boy Joe Kane of E.S.U. who led
his team to an impressive victory
this afternoon. Well, if Joe continues
to raise Kane, he may well be Able
to dust off a large space on his
trophy shelf. Although the real test
will come in four weeks against
Michigan and their Heisman hopeful,
EXT. CAMPUS - EVENING
Joe walks across campus, headed for Camille's dorm.
Michigan also won big today. Timothy,
"He Could Go All The Way Men", will
be looking to do so against the
Timberwolves. And of course the able
Kane will be looking to also. I can't
INT. CAMILLE'S DORM - NIGHT
Joe comes down the hall, knocks on Camille's door. No answer.
Knocks again. Nothing. Disappointed, he turns and walks away.
INT. FRATERNITY HOUSE - NIGHT
The post-game victory party is in full swing. All the players,
their girls and various groupies, dancing, drinking,
celebrating. Bud Lite and Joe stand drinking beer, watching
I don't know, I never seem to make
out at things like this.
Bobby, who's overheard this, walks by with Louanne.
You don't make out anywhere. Or did
you finally break the snatch barrier
Fuck you, Bobby.
Excuse me, Louanne.
ANGLE ON DARNELL
sitting across the room with Alvin but his attention is on
Autumn and Ray out on the dance floor. Alvin notices.
Forget it, nigger. No chance for you
Griffin's goin' to medical school.
She likes that light-skinned
respectable shit. You're just her
Darnell challenged by this, gets up and goes over to where
Ray and Autumn are standing. A slow tune plays.
Can I have this one?
I don't think so.
What are you so worried about? You
haven't lost your starting job yet.
Autumn realizes this could quickly get out of hand.
(turning to Ray)
Ray reluctantly backs off. Darnell and Autumn start to dance.
Several players who've picked up on the tension, watch them
as they move around the floor. They try to pretend they're
just having a nice little chat.
Take it easy, Darnell. This isn't a
good time to push things. You're
putting me in an awkward position.
Yeh, well, I got a little
encouragement along the way.
That kiss... it was just... a kiss.
Bullshit. You meant it. I wouldn't
be standing here now, everybody
thinkin' I'm a stupid asshole, if I
didn't know you meant it. I wanna
see you, Autumn. Not in study hall.
Not like your student. Like somebody
to be taken seriously.
I do take you seriously, Darnell,
but I'm still with Ray. I can't just
go paradin' around town.
I don't need to go paradin'. We'll
go someplace different. Someplace
nobody'll see us.
She looks at him a long beat. She doesn't need this
complication, this conflict, but she can't say no.
God, why am I even considering this?
The song ends. Ray moves in to reclaim her.
All caught up on your arithmetic?
Darnell, pissed, gives Ray a shove.
Yeh, you only gained 37 yards on 12
Ray lunges back at him, but quickly several players, led by
Joe and Bud Lite, step between them. Darnell shrugs them off
and leaves the party.
(to Bud Lite)
Just what we need, a little team
Ray takes Autumn's arm, pulls her out onto the patio.
I'm gettin' a little sick of this
asshole, Autumn. I don't like you
hangin' out with him. It's
I don't hang out with him. I tutor
Then have him get another tutor.
I can't do that. I made a commitment
to help him pass his qualifying exam.
I can't bail out on him now.
What the hell difference does it
makes? They'll grease him through no
matter what he does. Nobody's ever
gonna see his graduation. Don't tell
me you're falling for this guy. He's
just another gang-banger with speed.
I just said I wanted to help him.
What are you more afraid of, losing
your girl or your position?
Maybe you oughta think about what
you're in danger of losing.
Maybe I will.
Autumn rips free of his grip, and walks out of the party
EXT. CAMPUS - NIGHT
Darnell sits alone on a bench under an old Willow, just
staring out at the night. He hears a voice behind him.
So where you wanna go?
He turns. It's Autumn.
INT. FRATERNITY HOUSE - NIGHT
The party's still in full gear. Ray is now chatting up a few
of the groupies. Joe and Bud Lite sit off in a corner. Joe's
knocked back several beers. He's a little tipsy, and lost in
Maybe she's out with some guy.
Who? Camille? I don't think she's
the type to screw around on ya. Shoot
It wouldn't be screwing around. It's
not like we're going together.
Joe's gaze falls on a sultry brunette, SHERI, at a table
across the way. She's eyeing Joe big time. She wants him. He
stares back at her. She doesn't blink.
EXT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - NIGHT
Camille, carrying an armload of books, comes down the library
steps, having been studying late. As she heads for her dorm,
she sees Joe and Sheri going across the Quad; Sheri draped
around Joe, nuzzling him.
Joe looks over, spots Camille, stops; surprised, embarrassed
to see her. They exchange a look. Camille, upset, turns and
wheels off. Joe wants to say something to her, but can't get
ON DARNELL AND AUTUMN
We don't know where yet, but they seem to be slipping and
sliding, clutching on to each other.
You're right, nobody would ever see
PULL BACK TO REVEAL
INT. ICE SKATING RINK - NIGHT
Near closing time. Darnell and Autumn lurch and stumble around
the ice, collapsing against the boards now and then. There
are few other skaters at this hour.
Yes, I figure the key is to go places
only white people go. Next time we'll
Autumn laughs, as the house lights start to blink, indicating
it's closing time.
Plus I saw this in Rocky. I never
believed a guy who was supposed to
be an athlete would skate that bad,
but now I know.
They make their way to an opening in the boards, stumble
over to a bench, begin to unlace.
Thanks, that was fun, sort of.
You were pretty good for the first
Well, it's not really my first time.
My dad took me skating once.
He used to play ball for E.S.U.,
Yeah, how'd you know that?
I saw his picture on the Wall of
Fame. You got his eyes. Luckily, you
didn't get his thighs.
She laughs, looks at him a beat, starts to come forward to
kiss him. He puts a finger to her lips.
Make sure you mean it this time.
She hesitates a beat, then comes forward again. They fall
into a deep kiss. We PULL BACK to LONGSHOT. Two people alone
in the expanse of the ice rink. The lights flicker and go
INT. WEIGHT ROOM - LATE NIGHT
Camille, unable to sleep, enters in her workout clothes.
Languid, melancholy, she goes to the treadmill, as Joe comes
out of the steam room with nothing but a towel around his
waist. Both are surprised to see the other.
What are you doin' here?
I was just sweatin' out some of the
Camille just nods. Long, silent pause.
I didn't go home with her. I thought
about it... but I didn't.
You drink too much.
He turns, starts toward the door.
Why didn't you?
Why didn't I what?
Go home with her?
I don't know... I guess I figured
maybe there was somethin' goin' on
between you and me.
Camille hesitates, not sure whether to believe him, then
gets off the bike and walks toward him.
Then why'd you pick her up in the
I was drunk... I needed some company.
Company? Yeh, I can see you havin' a
real far-ranging discussion with
I mean, ya know, physical company...
I was... I just needed to pounce on
somebody I guess.
Camille, really steamed now, snatches the towel from around
Joe's waist, leaving him naked.
Why can't you pounce on me? Aren't I
good enough to pounce on?
Camille snaps the towel at him, driving him back. Joe's
totally thrown by this reaction in her.
Well, you're more conservative...
classier... you're not that kinda
She snaps the towel again, backing him against the training
How do you know? You've never slept
She pounds on his chest, pushing him back on the table.
What makes you think she's such a
(climbing up on top
I'm prettier, my legs are longer...
(pulling down her
I've got better tits.
Why would you go to her, when you
I didn't know I had you.
(softer, leaning close)
Well you do.
He looks at her a beat, then pulls her mouth down to his.
They fall into a long, white-hot kiss.
INT. THE TRAINING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT
Joe and Camille are making love passionately, energetically.
Camille, still worked up, rolls up on top.
You shoulda looked for me at the
library, or don't you ever go there?
(rolling back on top)
I go there. I got a 3.2 in Political
Science. I just don't go there on
(rolling back on top
I have a paper due Monday. What'de
she do? Sit on your lap or just give
you the nail-me stare?
Shut up, Camille.
Joe rolls back on top, the momentum carrying both of them
off the table and out of sight.
INT. HUGE LECTURE HALL - MORNING
Some 100 students are taking a history test in blue books. A
T.A., checking attendance, walks up to Louanne. She's uneasy
as the T.A. checks his chart.
What's your name?
Can I see your I.D.?
Louanne knows she's in deep trouble.
INT. COACH'S VIDEO ROOM - DAY
A high-tech room full of video machines and monitors used to
run simultaneous views of different positions during the
same play. A grim-looking group of assistant coaches
approaches Winters as he runs through and reprograms the
images on the screen.
Coach, we, ah... got a problem with
He talked... a friend... into taking
a test for him and got caught. They
had a new T.A. in there...
What's the penalty?
Well, the rules say automatic
expulsion for both of them.
Fortunately, we've got friends on
the Board of Regents. I think we can
beat this if we really go to bat for
him. We got Mack off when he turned
in that other guys term paper.
(shaking his head)
But what kinda idiot would do
something like that?
Well, I guess Bobby figured he was
I don't mean Bobby. I mean what kinda
guy would be dumb enough to take a
test for him?
Uh, well... it wasn't a guy.
A girl? Typical Collins. He must
have banged her until she couldn't
think straight. Who was it?
(barely able to get
It was... Louanne.
Winters' face goes dead.
INT. COACH WINTERS' DEN - DAY
Winters, enraged, is venting his spleen at Louanne.
Jesus, Louanne, how could you be so
I... he was behind, he needed help.
I'm sorry. I just...
Sorry! You're sorry! You've destroyed
my credibility at the University, my
authority with the players... Christ,
it looks like I'm running a dirty
program. And Collins of all people!
What the hell's the matter with you,
I don't know... I thought he... loved
Loved you? He loves anything that
winks back, the little rat bastard.
And what are you gonna do for school
now? I use my influence to get you
back in, it'll stink to high hell.
The press'll crucify me.
I'll get in someplace.
God, Louanne, I told you to stay
away from my players. That was my
cardinal rule, stay away from the
They've always been good enough for
you. Good enough to devote your life
to. Why aren't they good enough for
me? Or are they too good?
You're changing the subject, Louanne.
We're talkin' about you breakin' the
Didn't you ever break the rules just
a little? Didn't you tell me once
that 90 per cent of the schools obey
the NCAA rules, and the other 10 per
cent go to bowl games? Was that just
She gets up and walks out of the room. Winters closes his
eyes and slumps down on the couch.
INT. STUDY HALL - NIGHT
Darnell sits at his table waiting for Autumn. Autumn storms
in, obviously upset about something. She slaps a corrected
test down in front of him.
You seen this? You got a D on your
Yeh, I kinda figured that. I had
some trouble on this last part...
We went over that last week, Darnell.
What is this time we spend in here?
Just a joke to you? I don't even
think you've been listening to me.
I've been listening to you, baby...
Don't call me baby. I thought you
wanted to learn. But if all you wanta
do is fake your way through, then
get another tutor to waste time with.
C'mon, Autumn, we just had a good
time, and now you're gettin' all
nuts behind this. It's just one test.
So far, it's the only test. I want
you to study this whole chapter. By
yourself, without me here. When I
come back, we'll discuss it. Be ready
to do problems based on it.
Whatever you say, Teach.
I don't wish to be cast in a
pejorative light, so I'm dedicating
myself to achieving on a level more
commensurate with my abilities.
She shakes her head and walks away. Darnell's grin fades. He
looks at his test, a hint of tears in his eyes. He's
embarrassed and deeply worried.
INT. FOOTBALL LOCKER ROOM - DAY
The players are dressing for Monday practice, but it's
strangely subdued. Bobby Collins opens his locker to find a
BULLET-RIDDLED PRACTICE JERSEY hanging inside. Immediately
the rest of the players burst into raucous laughter.
Coach'd probably shoot ya lower.
Suddenly the room goes silent. Standing in the doorway is
He says nothing, looks around the room, the players avoiding
his gaze. His eyes come to rest on Bobby. Bobby tries to
hide the shirt, but Winters has seen. Winters just stares at
Bobby a beat, then.
You all played a fine game on
Saturday. Take the day off.
With that, he turns and walks out the door. The players remain
silent. Bobby throws the shirt in the trash.
INT. LOUANNE'S SORORITY HOUSE - DAY
Winters walks in the front door, past the desk, up the stairs
and down the hall to his daughter's room. She's packing her
things. He goes over to her, takes her in his arms and hugs
her tight. Neither speak. A tear rolls down Louanne's cheek.
Hits the floor.
EXT. HALL OF ATHLETIC BUILDING - DAY
A very nervous Bobby Collins comes down the hall and knocks
on Coach Winter's door.
C'mon in, Collins.
INT. COACH WINTER'S OFFICE
Bobby enters and stands across from Winters' desk. Winters
doesn't invite him to sit.
Listen, Coach, I just want you to
know I'm really sorry about this
whole thing with Louanne. I was real
glad to hear she's gonna be goin' to
junior college here...
(cutting him off)
Bobby does. Instantly.
I could easily take your case to the
Board of Regents. You've had no prior
infractions and I could argue that
you were under abnormal pressure.
But I won't. You embarrassed me, you
embarrassed my family, you embarrassed
the program. As of now, you are no
longer a member of this university
or it's football team. Clean out
Bobby just stands there a beat, in confusion and disbelief.
There is no wavering, no sympathy in Winters' eyes. Finally,
dazed and disoriented, Bobby turns and walks out.
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS LIBRARY - DAY
Joe is posed in front of the school library, one of it's
more photogenic buildings. T.V. sportscaster LYNN SWANN and
his video crew wait to interview him as a MAKEUP GIRL finishes
applying makeup to Joe's face. Publicist Sharon Braver watches
like a hawk.
(to his cameraman)
We ready, Jerry? O.K., let's mark
An assistant marks the take, and Swann turns to Joe.
Joe, this game is being billed as a
potential "Heisman Shootout". Did
you feel any added pressure this
EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY
A phalanx of photographers crowd around, snapping away as
Joe goes through passing drills.
...knowing that you're going head to
head with Heisman rival, Tim Waymen?
EXT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - DAY, THE PRESENT AGAIN
Well, ya know, you try to block it
out, but it's basically impossible...
Everybody seems to be talkin' about
it, all the newspapers, the
INT. T.V. STUDIO - NIGHT
Joe is being interviewed by DALLAS PERRY on a local television
The hype on T.V., tryin' to get
EXT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - THE PRESENT AGAIN
Sharon Braver steps directly in front of the video camera,
waves off the take.
Hold it! Hold it!
What?! What's the problem?
Braver takes Joe aside, talks to him confidentially.
What you're saying is true, of course,
but I don't think it's the message
you want to send.
INT. PIZZA PARLOR - NIGHT
Joe and Camille are sharing a pizza, but not alone. A video
spotlight shines on them, as yet another crew rolls tape.
It makes you seem a little nervous.
Like the pressure might be getting
EXT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - THE PRESENT AGAIN
This game is nationally televised,
so most Heisman voters will be
watching. I think a more casual
approach is better. Modest,
Joe nods and heads back in front of the camera.
(to Braver, irritated)
We all set now?
(gets a nod)
Let's mark it.
(the take is marked)
Joe, this game is being billed as a
potential "Heisman Shootout."
EXT. E.S.U. QUAD - NIGHT
A huge bonfire burns, as a large segment of the student body
has gathered in front of the Timberwolf statue. The
cheerleaders, all wearing "KANE IS ABLE" buttons, whip the
crowd up, as Joe is introduced on the podium.
Did you feel any added pressure this
week, knowing that you're going head
to head with Heisman rival, Tim
The cheerleaders begin to chant, "Let's go, Joe." On "Joe",
they assume the Heisman trophy pose. Joe seems slightly
embarrassed by it all.
EXT. CAMPUS LIBRARY - THE PRESENT AGAIN
No, I don't really think too much
about that kinda thing.
Swann shoots Braver a poisonous look.
EXT. EMBANKMENT - NIGHT
Joe and Camille sit on a bank looking down at the railroad
tracks below. Neither says anything. Joe seems strangely
preoccupied. Camille decides to break the silence.
Your parents comin' to the game
My mom's dead. My dad has never seen
Guess he's not that interested in
But you're one of the best players
in the country.
He's just not into it, o.k.?
What's goin' on, Joe? You ask me out
here, like you wanta talk about
somethin', then you don't say
anything. You worried about tomorrow?
No... I'm worried about the days
after that. I just. I don't know...
I feel like tomorrow's gonna be my
last game. I want to stay up, make
the time go slow.
Why would it be your last game? You
afraid of getting hurt?
No, that'd be a relief. Then, at
least, I wouldn't be a failure.
Joe, why are you thinking like this?
Why would you be a failure? You're
having a great year, you're a Heisman
Trophy candidate, you got millions
of dollars waiting for you in the
How do you know what's waiting for
me? You don't know me at all.
I don't know you? How can you say
Because you wouldn't be here now if
you did. You only know the guy that's
supposed to make millions in the
Is that what you think? That I'm
with you for the money?
Infuriated, she slaps him across the face.
Fuck you, Joe.
(starting to cry)
I don't give a shit about your money.
I don't even give a shit about
football. And you know what? Maybe
you're right, maybe I don't know
She turns and storms away up the hill, as we hear a TRAIN
WHISTLE. Joe watches her go, then starts down the hill toward
the tracks as the train comes into view.
Camille stops, turns back, sees Joe headed for the tracks,
starts to worry.
Joe reaches the grade and steps into the middle of the tracks
facing the oncoming train. Horrified, Camille runs down the
embankment toward him.
Joe! Joe! My god, Joe, what are you
doing? No! No!
As the train approaches, it's horn blaring, Joe lies face
down on the tracks, his hands gripping the railroad ties.
Camille arrives at the bottom of the hill in time to see the
train race over him. She falls to her knees screaming.
Under the train, we see Joe desperately hugging the ground,
head down, toes dug in, hands clutching the ties. It's like
a tornado under there, dirt debris flying everywhere, his
clothes flapping wildly.
The train passes. Camille looks up, afraid to breath as Joe
lies motionless on the tracks. Suddenly he stirs, pushes
himself up to his knees. She lets out a scream of joy, races
toward him, as he gets to his feet, stumbles off the grade.
She hugs him to her, tears streaming down her face, helps
him over to the embankment.
God Joe, oh god, are you allright?
Yeh, just got some dirt in my teeth.
Guess you've really seen the dark
side now, huh? You should've gotten
out while you had the chance. Before
it all goes to hell.
I don't wanta get out, damnit. What's
wrong Joe? Why would it all go to
I'm a Kane, Camille. That's all it
takes. We're cut out to be drunks
and fuck-ups. We never live up to
expectations. It's in our blood. My
dad, brothers, uncles -- we all drink
and sooner or later we all fuck up.
My dad went the longest. Waited till
he was playin' triple A ball, before
he hit the wall. Sometimes I feel
like I'm just waiting for my turn.
The better I do, the closer it gets.
You're not like them, you can beat
all that. You can stop drinking, you
can break the chain.
If I gave up that, I wouldn't be
much of a football player. And if I
wasn't a football player, what would
The question hangs in the air.
You'de still be Joe. And I'd still
He pulls her to him, kisses her hair, they slump against
Just don't say I never warned you.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - DAY
STEVE ZABRISKIE and BO SCHEMBECKLER in the foreground, the
jammed to capacity stadium in the background. This shot is
going out on nationwide T.V., the college Game of the Week.
4:29 to go and it's been a great
one. Two undefeated teams goin' after
each other. Michigan up by four, 24-
20, but the lead has changed hands
three times, and you get the feeling
that whoever has the ball last is
gonna win it.
ANGLE ON FIELD
Joe brings the offense to the line of scrimmage. Yells
Well, it was billed as a Heisman
shootout, and it's been all of that.
Both Waymen and Kane moving their
teams up and down the field, having
Joe fades to pass, looks right, looks left, can't find a
receiver, decides to run for it. He sprints up the middle,
15, 10; a SAFETY comes at him at the 5. We see
Joe's P.O.V. through HELMETCAM. He pushes the lunging safety
away, turns back just in time to be blasted by the OTHER
SAFETY he never saw. Joe is knocked down, over the goal line
and out cold. The crowd goes wild.
Kane back to pass, can't find anybody,
gonna run it himself, ten, five, hit
at the goal-line... Touchdown E.S.U.!!
Great run by Kane!
Joe lies motionless as his teamates run over to him.
He's still down. Looks like he's
We go to Winters, worried on the sideline, as the celebration
around him begins to die down.
ANGLE ON JOE
As he's carried off the field, his arms around two linemen's
shoulders, and lowered onto the bench. We go to a BLURRY
IMAGE of a man's face waving something. We REVERSE to REVEAL
a DOCTOR waving smelling salts under Joe's nose. Joe begins
to come around. The doctor holds up two fingers.
How many fingers am I holding up?
EXT. THE FIELD - DAY
Michigan comes to the line of scrimmage. As Tim Waymen gets
under center, Alvin begins to yell at him.
Hey, powderpuff. You're the white
boy that ratted my brother out. Sent
him to jail, cocksucker. Ran off
with the fuckin' money. Left the
blood to do the time, huh?
Waymen begins to call signals.
Yeh, you're the little bastard.
Account of you, my bros' datin' his
cell mate. You hear me, powderpuff?
Gonna make you pay. You gonna be my
cellmate now. You gonna have 250
lbs. of pissed-off nigger up your
E.S.U. in an eight-man line looking
for the run on third and short.
The ball is snapped. Waymen fakes a handoff to his fullback,
hides the ball on his hip, fades to pass. On the sideline,
Coach Winters yells, "Pass! Pass!"
Alvin's not fooled by the run, he shakes his blocker and
takes dead aim on Waymen. Just as Waymen releases the ball,
Alvin blasts him, driving him into the turf.
Waymen fakes to Simms, Mack on the
blitz, Waymen is goin for it all!
Hit as he throws.
The ball, however, flies through the air, a perfect spiral.
The E.S.U. secondary has been fooled by the play fake and is
a step behind. The ball comes down in the hands of the
Michigan tight end, JERRY HUNT.
Hunt has got a step. He's got it!
Winters slams his headphones to the ground.
Great clutch throw under pressure.
Can't do it much better than that.
ANGLE ON JOE
The Doctor examines Joe, shines a light in his eyes, makes
him track his finger, etc.
You're vision's back to normal.
You think you can go?
Yeh, I'm fine. Just a little headache.
(getting up, shouting
to his teamates)
O.K. Offense, let's get it back.
Alvin, meanwhile, plops down on the bench in disgust.
Damn tough to scare that little white
boy. Either his momma dropped him on
his head, or the motherfucker is
Coach Winters goes to Darnell.
Jefferson, in for Griffen.
Griffen slams his helmet to the ground.
EXT. FIELD - DAY
Joe breaks the huddle as the E.S.U. offense comes to the
Ball on the Michigan 47, 1:02 to go,
Kane brings 'em to the line of
Joe fades to pass once again, lets the rush come, then flares
out a screen pass to Darnell. Darnell grabs it and takes
off, slipping tackles, cutting back, juking. Darnell finally
runs out of bounds at the twenty.
Great run by Jefferson, the highly-
touted Freshman, the longest of the
day for the Wolves. And this one is
turning out to be everything we
thought it would be.
ANGLE ON DARNELL
coming back to the huddle, pumped up. Joe kneels in the
O.K., time to put the women and
children to bed, and go looking for
He begins to howl, as do all the others. The Call of the
82 Strike, Eagle, Crown, on 2.
They clap hands, come to the line. Joe looks over the defense,
bends under center and barks signals, The ball is snapped.
Action goes to SLOW MOTION.
Joe fakes to Darnell, fades to pass. The Michigan cornerback
comes on a blitz, locked on Joe. Joe starts to roll, but
knows the corner will catch him. On the run, he launches the
ball toward Darnell. Darnell opens his hands to receive it,
but at the last second, the Michigan SAFETY steps in front
and intercepts it.
Kane looking for Jefferson. It's...
Intercepted! Intercepted by Freeman!
And that should do it.
Joe sinks to his knees in frustration. The blitzing cornerback
does a quick pit-pat on Joe's helmet. Winters looks like
he's been punched.
As Michigan and Tim Waymen celebrate on the sideline, we go
INT. BROADCAST BOOTH - AFTERNOON
Steve Zabriskie is doing the wrap-up, the emptying stadium
Well, it was everything we expected
it to be. Fine performances on both
sides of the field.
INT. E.S.U. LOCKER ROOM - AFTERNOON
Players undress and shower in relative silence. No joy here.
The edge in the much ballyhooed battle
of the quarterbacks would probably
have to go to Michigan's Tim Waymen
who threw for 2 touchdowns, and ran
for another. Joe Kane accounted for
three E.S.U. touchdowns, but had
that crucial interception in the
waning moments. And that proved to
be the difference.
The door of the locker room opens, and a flood of reporters
enter. Joe hides back in the showers, leaning his forehead
against the wall, the water coursing over him.
EXT. TUNNEL BENEATH STADIUM - LATE AFTERNOON
Darnell comes out of the locker room, having showered and
dressed. He's surprised to see Autumn and her father talking
to Coach Humes.
Is this your dad?
How do you do, Mr. Haley. I'm Darnell
Jefferson? Nice run you made on that
screen pass. Another block and you
might have scored.
Thank you. We'll get 'em next year.
How do you and Autumn know each other?
You a friend of Ray's?
Darnell is jolted by this question. It's obvious that Autumn
has never told her dad about him.
(filling the void)
Ah, I tutor him...
Oh really? In what?
Darnell would like to crawl under a rock.
Math and English.
There's a slight tone of condescension in Mr. Haley's voice.
He realizes Darnell hasn't passed his entrance exam. This is
not lost on Darnell.
Well, stay on top of that, Darnell.
I'd have been in real trouble if I
hadn't gotten my degree. I played
ball once. Hurt my knee.
Yeh, I know...
I used to put a copy of my report
card inside the webbing of my helmet
to remind me that college was more
important than football.
Good idea. Well, I gotta get goin'.
Nice to meet you Mr. Haley.
Nice to meet you, Darnell.
See you around, Autumn.
Before Autumn can respond, Ray Griffen approaches from the
Hey, Mr. Haley. Good to see you.
Hey, Ray. You still havin' dinner
with us tonight?
Darnell embarrassed and humiliated, hears all this as he
walks away. Autumn wants to go explain, but can't in front
of her father.
INT. FRAT HOUSE - NIGHT
The post-game party. Not as raucous as after the opening
game victory. A few players are dancing, but most are sitting,
Anybody seen Joe?
Not yet. Probably out with Camille.
Haven't seen Darnell either.
INT. UPSTAIRS BEDROOM - NIGHT
Lattimer's sitting on the bed with a coed named LESLIE.
They're kissing softly, light necking. Lattimer starts to
unbutton her blouse. She begins to demur.
I think we better get back downstairs.
No, Leslie, we're just getting to
know each other.
(starting to get up)
No, I think...
Lattimer grabs her arm roughly, pulls her back to the bed.
She's starting to get a little scared.
C'mon Leslie, you didn't come up
here to stop now.
He tries to kiss her again, she pushes him away, starts for
the door. Angered, that steroid pump in his eyes, he grabs
her again, throws her violently on the bed. She screams.
What were you doin'? Leadin' me on?
He gets on the bed, kneels above her. She starts to struggle.
He slaps her across the face, rips her blouse open. Freaked,
she begins to scream and kick. Enraged, Lattimer slaps her
around, picks her up, shakes her like a rag doll, slaps her
some more, throws her to the floor. Picks her up again, when
suddenly the door BURSTS OPEN and Bud Lite and Alvin race
(throwing Leslie on
the bed again)
Get outa here!
Bud Lite and Alvin charge Lattimer, try to wrestle him down,
but his hormone level is so high, he fights like a bull. Two
other players charge in and finally all four are able to
shackle Lattimer. He continues to struggle a bit, then gives
up, a panting, sweating, shaking hulk.
This is it, man. No more 'roids.
This shit has gotta stop.
Lattimer breaks down and cries.
INT. JOE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Joe lies on his bed, a bottle of vodka next to his coca-cola.
He stares at the larger than life cardboard stand-up of
himself. He takes a drink, then gets up and grabs his jacket.
The phone rings. He looks at it a beat, then walks out of
INT. CAMILLE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Camille's on the phone, waiting, the one calling Joe. She
listens a few more rings, hangs up, concerned.
INT. WINTERS HIGH-TECH VIDEO ROOM - NIGHT
Winters sits at the main console replaying the game-ending
interception over and over. The phone rings.
Hello, yeh... What?!
INT. WINTERS ATHLETIC OFFICE - NIGHT
The rest of the locker room is dark except for the light on
in Winters' office. All the assistant coaches are there.
It looks like this will blow over.
The girl's father is a big booster,
contributed a lotta money. So he
said they won't go to the press.
He said that? The father?
Yeh, he's not exactly happy about
all this, but he doesn't wanta hurt
We're still gonna have to suspend
What for? There aren't any charges.
Nobody outside the program knows
He's outa control, Lyle. We can't
ignore this anymore. I don't know
what pisses me off more -- that he's
juicin' or that he's doin' such a
shitty job of hidin' it.
He's never tested positive. If we
suspend him without proof, he could
sue us for jeopardizing his draft
status, his pro career.
Yeh, but we can't sit and wait till
he kills somebody. I hate to lose
him as much as you do, but we gotta
clean him up before he does somethin'
that lands the whole program on
probation. Plus, we have to take
some action or the girl's dad is
gonna start havin' second thoughts.
I don't care how many checks he's
So what do we do?
All eyes go to Winters.
Bring him down here.
INT. COACH WINTERS LOCKER ROOM OFFICE - 20 MINUTES LATER
Close on a contrite, but shaken Steve Lattimer.
Three games? Why so many?
You oughta be grateful I didn't
suspend you for the whole year.
Lattimer nods, he knows it's true.
What are you gonna give as the reason?
We'll say you've got a hamstring
Thank you, Coach.
Don't thank me. During those three
weeks, you better kick the roids,
cause when you come back I'm gonna
personally test you before every
game. No N.C.A.A. shit either. I'm
gonna watch the piss go into the
bottle. You got that?
(barely audible, shamed)
Start practicing your limp.
INT. LOCAL BAR - NIGHT
Not the 911 we saw earlier. Joe sits at a table in the back,
with Darnell, drinking tequila with a beer chaser. Both are
down in the dumps. At a nearby table there's a group of
TOWNIES and their GIRLFRIENDS.
Coupla real college heroes, huh?
Tearin' up the town.
First time I ever lost a girl and a
game on the same day. Guess I never
really had the girl.
Joe looks up to see one of the townies' girls, DEBBIE, giving
him the once over and a little smile. Joe smiles back, not
really interested. Debbie's BOYFRIEND notices.
You know that guy?
Then why you smilin' at him?
I don't know... he looks like that
E.S.U. quarterback guy. Joe, what's
So what? So you go and smile at him?
The boyfriend, drunk and looking for trouble, goes over to
You been lookin' at my girlfriend?
(a little drunk himself)
I don't know. Which one is she?
Wise guy, huh? Mr. bigtime
quarterback. The one who choked his
ass off today. You got nothin' better
to do then look at my girlfriend?
Joe says nothing.
Hey, Heisman, I'm talkin' to you.
You too good to talk to me?
I'm not even interested in talkin'
You think you're a bad ass? You think
my girl's hot for you? Take your
pads off, you're just another pussy.
Joe gets up to go. The boyfriend grabs him, Joe pushes him
away. The guy charges Joe. The bar owner rushes to the phone
as a full scale brawl begins. Joe takes a blow, knocks the
boyfriend back into a table, knocking beer bottles to the
floor. The boyfriend falls on one, opening a deep gash in
C'mon we gotta get outa here.
EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT
A speeding car goes by us, weaving, crossing the yellow line
on the curves.
INT. SPEEDING CAR - NIGHT
Joe's driving, Darnell's holding on. Suddenly we hear SIRENS.
Joe sees flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.
INT. COACH WINTERS' HOUSE - LATE NIGHT
Winters is asleep. The phone rings. He picks it up.
What is it now?... Oh Jesus...
INT. COACH WINTERS' STADIUM OFFICE - DAY
Joe sits across the desk from Winters, just the two of them.
The guy went for me first. What was
I supposed to do?
Doesn't make any difference. It made
the papers, all the wire services.
The guy had to go to the hospital.
Worst of all they got you on drunk
driving. You had a blood alcohol
level .50 above the legal limit. We
can't smooth that over, Joe. It'd
look like we were sprayin' Pledge on
bird shit. We had to agree to send
you to Rehab.
Rehab? I'll be a god-damn joke. You
can't do this to me.
It was the only way we could get
them to drop the assault and D.W.I.
You go to trial on those, we lose
you for a year, and risk NCAA
investigation. C'mon, lotsa athletes
have been through Rehab.
Not in the middle of the season. Not
in the middle of a Heisman campaign.
You'll only miss four games. You'll
be back in time for the last one,
Georgia Tech, and a Bowl if we get
there. Plus, you've still got your
Yeh, but what will I come back as?
What kinda player?
Don't worry, you'll still be the
Man. You'll still be the leader of
Joe doesn't believe it, but he manages a nod, as he gets up
I'm sorry, Coach.
These things happen.
Joe walks on out, Winters watches him go, then slams the
desk in anger. Drained, he sinks back in his chair.
EXT. CAMPUS - DAY
Darnell's walking across campus toward class. Autumn sees
him, calls out to him.
Darnell, wait. C'mon Darnell, I wanta
talk to you.
Darnell doesn't slow up. Autumn has to run to catch up.
Where you been, I been callin' you?
Darnell, I'm sorry about Saturday.
It was an awkward situation.
It wasn't awkward. It was educational.
I realized how you see me. I'm good
enough to tutor, to go places with,
but not to tell your father about.
That's not it. It's just that my
father expects me to be with somebody
like Ray. He wouldn't understand us.
I don't know... he likes Ray cause...
He's a good student, he acts right...
he doesn't need football. He's class
and I'm not, right?
I didn't say that.
You don't have to, Autumn. I'm
everything your dad used to be and
don't want you fallin' back into.
You were right before, Autumn. I
should have another tutor. Thanks
for everything you did for me.
Darnell walks away. Autumn can only watch him go.
INT. JOE'S ROOM - DAY
Joe finishes packing his bags. He sees a picture of Camille
on the dresser. Picks it up, looks at it a beat, drops it in
the trash. He carries his Heisman cardboard standup into the
shower, pulls out a match and lights it. He watches it catch
fire, then grabs his suitcase and walks out of the room. We
hold on the burning standup, as flames lick at Joe's smile.
INT. REHAB CENTER - AFTERNOON
Joe is shown into his room. Bare. One cot. One dresser. He
drops his bag, sags onto the bed.
Four fuckin' weeks?
INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY
A tired and depressed group of E.S.U. football players undress
after practice. Bud and Alvin sit in their pads, Lattimer
standing in street clothes. Bud softly sings "Don't Cry For
Shit, the defense is gonna have to
pitch shutouts now...
and you're gone for 3. What the hell
did you take that shit for?
Nobody seemed to mind when I was
knockin' people's dicks in the dirt.
I bust chops too. I don't have to
get all fucked up.
Not everybody has the ability you
do, Alvin. You do what you have to
do to play.
Well, you're not playin' much now
are you? Shit, whole fuckin' season
down the drain.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - DAY
Winters and Galen Howard are walking across the field after
practice. The stadium is deserted.
I been talkin' to Chancellor Wilson...
What's he wanta do now, cut practice
down to once a week?
No, he's happy with the way the
season's gone so far. The Alumni
have pretty much stayed off his back,
but with Joe out now, it could all
be up for grabs again.
He thinks he's gonna have trouble
marchin' the ball down the old fund-
raisin' board, huh?
The facts are, all we have left are
freshman quarterbacks, and nothin' I
saw at practice today, convinced me
that any of them are ready to step
What are you sayin?
We gotta get Bobby Collins back.
Wilson say that?
He didn't have to.
Forget it, Galen, Collins is no All-
Yeh, but he's good enough to get us
a split of the next four games.
Look, just because you're Wilson's
boy all of a sudden, doesn't mean
I'm gonna let him make me look like
a fuckin' whore.
Don't give me that high and mighty
shit. There's a lotta people on the
bubble here. Four straight loses and
we're out of bowl contention. How's
that gonna make you look? If you're
too stupid to consider your own
situation, then maybe you oughta
think about your assistant coaches.
They've got families to feed too.
Howard walks away, pissed off, leaving Winters alone in the
middle of the field.
INT. BOARD OF REGENTS HEARING ROOM - DAY
The seven members of the BOARD OF REGENTS sit on one side of
a long rectangular table, the Chairman in the middle. On the
other side are coach Winters, Bobby Collins, the President
of the Faculty Senate, EDWARD LEARNIHAN, Academic Advisor,
ARTHUR SHANE, President of the Student Body, RICHARD FOWLER,
and Galen Howard. Fowler is addressing the board.
Therefore, I respectfully submit
that Bobby Collins should not be
given special treatment just because
he's a football player. Would a
regular student get a reinstatement
hearing if they'de been caught
cheating? Nobody's talking about
letting the girl who took the test
Winters could kill this kid.
I think it's also instructive to
look at some of the courses this
young man has taken. Beginning Golf,
Voice and Speech Improvement...
I'd like to point out that Mr. Collins
was still on schedule to get his
(pointing to Collin's
In what, Swimming Pool Management?
Would you like to respond, Coach
Winters rises, sweating, less from nervousness than from the
odious nature of what he has to do.
I don't know much about all this
other stuff, but I do know the
punishment should fit the crime.
Cheating's bad, but I don't think it
deserves a life sentence. Here's one
of those athletes who takes college
level courses, who wants to graduate.
I think Bobby Collins made a big
mistake, but he's already been
suspended for several weeks. He's
served his time. I think he deserves
a second chance.
Like Alvin Mack? We gave him a second
chance and since he's had 5
incompletes, 4 withdrawals and still
reads at a fourth grade level. You're
using his body to make money for the
Athletic Department -- you, yourself,
are making three times what the
Chancellor is -- but obviously no
one is making an effort to see that
this kid gets an education.
He's helpin' to pay for your physics
lab too. If you're willin' to go
without a new office, maybe I could
hold him out a few games. Save his
Alvin was way behind in school when
he got here. You can't make up for,
in four years, what it took 18 to
Then he should never have been
admitted in the first place. It's
not fair to other students who worked
hard to get here.
Is it fair to exclude kids who come
from inferior schools? You hold
everybody to the same standards,
you're discriminating against the
Most of my players are farm boys,
inner-city kids. Football is their
Deliverance from what? A valid
You throw Bobby Collins and Alvin
out, you take away their futures. In
Alvin's case you probably cost him a
couple million dollars in the pros.
But this is not a football vocational
school. It's an Institute of Higher
Yeh, but when was the last time 80,000
people showed up to watch a kid do a
Gentlemen, please, let's get back to
the business at hand, Bobby Collins.
As you know, I played football here.
And I remember how hard it was to
practice and then study when you're
dead tired. So I have some sympathy
for this young man. But I never
cheated, so the real question is his
character. Since you know him better
than anyone else in this room; and
having talked to him and observed
him over the last several weeks, do
you feel he's learned his lesson? In
other words, can you vouch for his
Winters would rather cut off his own head with a razor blade.
(it's killing him)
Yes, sir, I can.
Bobby Collins breaks into a wide, triumphant smile.
EXT. ADMINISTRATION BUILDING - DAY
Learnihan and Winters come down the steps, their faces set.
As they split off:
Another case like this, I'll take it
all the way up to the Governor.
Don't mess with me, Learnihan. I'll
have you teachin' Study Hall.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY
Bobby Collins walks in prior to practice. His teammates gather
round, slap him on the back, high five etc. Winters watches
from his office, disgusted.
INT. COACH WINTER'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Coach Winters is in his video alcove watching footage of his
upcoming opponent -- it's like he's looking through it though,
his mind elsewhere, something boiling up inside him. Suddenly,
he smashes his fist into the screen, breaking it into pieces.
His hand bleeds. He doesn't care. He just sits there and
INT. CAMILLE'S ROOM - DAY
Camille's on the phone.
Hello, my name is Camille Schaeffer.
I'd like to speak to Joe Kane.
INT. JOE'S ROOM IN REHAB CENTER - DAY
Joe is aimlessly flipping cards toward a wastebasket. A NURSE
knocks on his door.
You've got a phone call. A Camille
Joe says nothing, not wanting to deal with this.
She says she's your girlfriend
I don't want to talk to her.
The nurse leaves. Joe gets up, goes to the wall, and starts
pounding it with his right hand.
INT. CAMILLE'S ROOM - DAY
I'm sorry, he doesn't wish to speak
to you right now.
Crushed and angry, Camille hangs up.
INT. ATHLETIC DORM HALL - DAY
Bud Lite is watching television. Louanne enters on her way
to Bobby Collins' room, carrying an armload of neatly-pressed
laundry. But Lite gets up to bar her way.
Hey, Louanne, how ya' doin?
Fine, Bud, ya know. Goin to J.C.,
hopin' to get back in here next year.
Just came by to give Bobby some
laundry I did for him.
You two seein' each other again?
Yeh, he was even talking about us
gettin' a place off campus together,
until he got reinstated. I don't
know how I woulda told my dad.
Bud just nods blankly. Louanne starts to head for Bobby's
(pained to say it)
I wouldn't go in there right now.
Bud doesn't have the heart to tell her. She finally realizes
Bobby's with another girl.
Ah. Guess I'm pretty stupid when it
comes to men. I never learn, do I?
I think maybe men are just stupid
when it comes to you. If you ever
feel like, ya know, just talkin'
sometime, gettin' a beer -- let me
know. My schedule's pretty open.
(handing him the
Give him these, will ya?
Bud nods. Louanne, fighting back tears, walks back down the
hall with as much dignity as she can muster.
INT. JOE'S REHAB CENTER - DAY
Winters comes to the door, hesitates, walks in and finds Joe
huddled on his bed. Shivering.
Get up. I wanta talk to you.
Joe looks resentful but makes an effort and sits up.
Don't sit up. Stand up. If you can.
Joe gets unsteadily to his feet. He feels sick. Winters
reaches out to shake hands. Joe does not reciprocate. Hides
his right hand behind his body.
What's the matter, Joe? You won't
shake hands with me.
(Joe is silent)
You don't want me to see your hand,
So I guess what I heard was true,
huh? You been poundin' the walls
with your passin' hand, right?
I tell you what, Joe, you want to
hit somethin', hit me.
Joe doesn't move.
I said hit me. I'm the one who put
you in here. Don't hit the damn wall.
It ain't the wall's fault. Hit me!
Go on, hit me right now!
Joe is angry but he doesn't want to do anything about it.
Who else you wanta hit, huh? you're
daddy maybe? Cause he's a no-show
prick? Well, I'm a daddy, too, and
not a very good one at that. So just
hit me instead! I'll take your daddy's
beatin' for him. Go on, you want to.
Hit me, damnit!
Joe shakes his head.
(pushes Joe in the
Hit me! I'm not gonna leave you alone
until you hit me.
(shakes Joe by
The guys'll thank you. They've always
wanted to do it. So do it now, damnit!
Joe sinks to his knees. Winters stares down at him, then
kneels also, his own anger and frustration draining away.
O.K., Joe, it's o.k. I guess I need
it more than you do.
You gotta quit beatin' up on yourself.
Let me see that hand.
Joe reveals his hand. It's barked and cut, but not badly
You can still throw with it, you
Look, the nurses say this is the
toughest time for you right now. I
thought I'd stick around a little,
case you wanta play some cards, pick
a fight with the wall again,
You don't have to.
Yes I do.
INT. STEVE LATTIMER'S ROOM - NIGHT
Lattimer fills a bag with all his steroid paraphernalia. He
carries it to his bathroom where he slowly empties it into
his toilet. Syringes, vials and bottles of pills all tumble
into the water. He flushes.
INT. JOE'S ROOM IN REHAB CENTER - MORNING
The sun shines through the window. Joe wakes up, raises up,
looks over at Winters who is asleep in a chair. Winters
rouses. Joe gives him a little smile, he's allright. Winters
gives him a nod of approval.
MUSIC UP. BEGIN A SERIES OF SHOTS
detailing the Timberwolves progress over the next four games.
1) Players shaking hands at midfield after the game. The
scoreboard reads E.S.U. 14 Boston College 10.
INT. STUDY HALL
2) Darnell in study hall, with his new tutor concentrating
on her explanation, applying himself.
ON SIDELINE - DAY
3) Steve Lattimer, in street clothes, paces the sidelines,
jumping up and down in frustration, his hamstring bandaged
to sell the injury ruse. He catches himself, gets back on
his crutches. A newspaper fades up through the shot. It reads
"Wolves Offense Fires Blanks in 13-0 Loss to Texas."
INT. CAFE - NIGHT
4) Darnell sits in a cafe, drinking coffee and studying. Ray
comes in, his arm around a co-ed, MONICA. They buy a pastry
and leave, not having seen Darnell. Darnell ponders this a
second, goes back to studying.
INT. REHAB CENTER - DAY
5) A group of patients is gathered around a T.V. set in the
Rehab Center, watching a pre-game show. One goes to Joe's
room, where Joe's lying on his cot.
Hey, Joe, don't you wanta watch the
game? It's on cable.
Joe leans back, staring at the ceiling.
ON T.V. SCREEN
6) Sportscaster DALLAS PERRY is holding forth on the local
E.S.U. on the strength of a 62 yard
touchdown run by freshman Darnell
Jefferson, squeaked by the North
Carolina Tarheels today, 14 to 13,
keeping their bowl hopes alive.
EXT. CAMPUS NIGHT
7) Darnell, with his books, on the way to the library, passes
the frat house where the victory party is in progress. He
sees Ray and Autumn walking together. Autumn sees him, her
face lights up. He gives her a slight smile, keeps walking.
She watches him with a certain longing.
INT. LIBRARY - LATE NIGHT
8) Darnell, alone in the library, late at night, studying.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - DAY
9) Lattimer, carrying his gear bag, walks into the locker
room. His teammates come over to shake his hand, slap him on
the back, welcome him back to the team.
INT. JOE'S REHAB CENTER ROOM - NIGHT
Joe sits on his bed listening to the E.S.U. broadcast.
E.S.U. hoping to get past a tough
Iowa Hawkeyes team in their last
game before the return of star
quarterback, Joe Kane.
EXT. KINNICK STADIUM - NIGHT
The E.S.U. defense is on the field. Alvin moves up opposite
the OFFENSIVE GUARD.
I know you, motherfucker. You're the
prick who got my little sister
pregnant. We ain't seen you around
lately. Where you been, huh? Answer
me, motherfucker, or I'm gonna peel
The ball is hiked. Iowa runs a sweep left. Lattimer tries to
get outside to contain, but is blocked by the fullback, who
goes low and cuts his legs out from under him.
Alvin pursues the play as the ballcarrier heads for the
corner, then suddenly cuts back. Alvin has overrun the play
slightly. We go to SLOW MOTION as he turns and is hit with a
wicked CRACK-BACK BLOCK by the guard he taunted. Alvin's leg
flexes at a horrifying angle. We HEAR THE SNAP of bone and
tendon, as Alvin plummets to the ground, writhing in pain,
grabbing his left leg.
The doctor and trainers sprint out to the field.
INT. JOE'S REHAB CENTER ROOM - NIGHT
We move in on Joe's face, as Harvey is heard on the radio in
Oh, boy, this does not look good,
Harmon. They're bringing the
Joe's eyes close. He knows what this means.
EXT. THE FIELD - NIGHT
Alvin is being strapped on the stretcher.
(wailing in pain)
Oh, shit, oh shit, I'll kill that
motherfucker. I'll... Oh shit...
EXT. KINNICK STADIUM - NIGHT
An ambulance carrying Alvin emerges from the stadium. We
hear CHEERING inside, the SIREN outside.
Twelve seconds left, Iowa driving
for the winning touchdown. Fourth
and goal at the one. E.S.U. trying
to hold on without their star middle
linebacker, Alvin Mack.
EXT. THE FIELD AGAIN - NIGHT
The E.S.U. defensive line digs in. Lattimer tries to suck up
his remaining strength.
Iowa runs a blast to Lattimer's side. He fights through one
block, the ballcarrier coming right toward him. They meet in
a titanic collision at the goal line. The back keeps driving,
twisting. Lattimer tries to hold him, but weaker than he was
on steroids, is unable to. The back falls over the goal line.
Touchdown. IOWA 13 E.S.U. 10.
As the Iowa players celebrate all around him, Lattimer sits
where he fell, a beaten and humiliated young man.
Coach, you've lost two of your last
INT. INTERVIEW ROOM UNDER STADIUM - NIGHT
Coach Winters faces the press.
Why do your teams seem to nose dive
at the end of the last couple seasons?
This was a tough loss, but this ain't
any nose dive. We've had some key
players out, but if we win next week,
we'll still win the conference and
go to a major bowl on New Year's
Day. I mean, I know you guys can't
write, but I thought you could at
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - EVENING
Alvin lies on a bed, his leg bandaged and elevated. He's
still a little groggy from anesthetic. Coach Winters stands
You look good, Alvin.
Yeh, I feel o.k.
Any of the guys been down yet?
Hell, you know how football players
are about hospitals and injuries.
Several beats of silence. Then:
I'm never gonna play again, am I?
Doctors aren't always right, Alvin...
but I just want you to know... you're
the best defensive football player I
Alvin nods. Winters comes forward, hugs him around the head,
gives him a smile, walks out. Tears brim in Winters eyes as
he leaves. Alvin's head goes back against the pillow. Tears
aren't brimming here. They're rolling down his cheeks.
EXT. REHAB CENTER - MORNING
Joe walks out with his suitcase. Coach Winters waits for
him. Shakes his hand. They get in the car.
Congratulations. I'm proud of you,
INT. CAR - DAY
I know you had a difficult time.
Michigan is easy, right? Bourbon is
They share a laugh. Winters pulls out two sets of round trip
I got somethin' for ya. Coupla round
trip tickets. Go see your dad. Get
it cleaned up.
Joe takes the tickets, just looks at him.
INT. STEVE LATTIMER'S ROOM - NIGHT
(on the phone)
I'm gonna have to take a test with
the coach right there. You sure you
got somethin' better than blockers?
Much better. This guy is foolproof.
See ya Saturday.
Lattimer hangs up, picks up a HYPODERMIC. Stares at it a
second, sweat beading on his forehead. Then plunges it an
inch deep into his thigh. Pulls it out, sits on the bed a
beat, then picks up a barbell and begins to pump it furiously,
INT. COACH WINTER'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON
The coach is facing Ray and Darnell across his desk.
I wanta do something different for
this game. Try to maximize our speed,
but keep you both in the lineup at
the same time. Ray, I'm moving you
to fullback. Darnell, you're startin'
Ray is stunned, Darnell elated, but neither says a word.
Ray, you'll be carrying the ball
less and blocking more, but they'll
still have to respect your running
and pass-catching ability. Not
everybody can make a transition like
this. You think you can handle it?
Good. We can't afford any hang dogs.
EXT. TENNIS COURTS - DAY
Camille comes off the court, after tennis practice. She's
surprised to find Joe waiting for her.
Hello, Joe. You allright now?
Yeh... yeh, I think so.
Good, I'm happy for you.
She starts to walk away, heading for the bike racks.
Camille, hold on, O.K.? I'm sorry
that I didn't want... that I couldn't
You couldn't even talk to me. What
happened to "there's somethin' goin'
on between you and me"?
Camille gets on her bike...
C'mon, Camille, I was embarrassed. I
and pedals off.
(shouting after her)
I couldn't understand why anybody
would wanta talk to me. Camille!
She just keeps on going.
EXT. PENNSYLVANIA STEEL TOWN - DAY
A bus comes up the hill toward us, on the main street of
Joe's sooty, little home town, the huge stacks of moribund
steel works filling the sky in the background. The bus stops
at a corner. Joe steps off. No bag. He's not planning on
EXT. JOE'S HOUSE - DAY
Joe goes to the front door. Knocks, gets no answer, pushes
the door open, walks through the messy, cluttered house to
the back porch. Seated in a metal folding chair, smoking a
cigarette, looking out at the yard is Joe's DAD. He's got a
couple days growth of beard, and although not drunk now, he
has the look of one.
How ya doin', Dad?
(surprised to see him)
Joe! What's this? They throw you
I heard about your little set-to.
They had it on the news here.
Yeh, they sent me to rehab.
We know what that's worth. Your
brother's been through it three times.
Joe nods sadly.
So what are you doin' here?
I've been thinking about some things,
That's what that damn rehab'll do.
Make you think about a lotta things
you can't do nothing' about.
I kinda been wonderin' why you never
came to any of my games. All those
Oh, I don't know. I guess I didn't
wanta make you nervous. You mighta
tried too hard and screwed up.
Or I mighta done real well. Which
woulda been harder on you, Dad?
(sensing the anger)
What do you mean?
Mighta made you feel bad. Like maybe
it wasn't written someplace that we
all gotta go on our ass. Like maybe
you coulda done somethin' more, if
you'de tried a little harder.
Or maybe I didn't wanta see you
gettin' all excited, all pumped up
with pride, when I knew one day it
would all come crashin' down. Just
like it did.
I think I spent the last couple years
hopin' I'd die before that day. But
you know what Dad? That day came and
I'm still here. And I got one more
game this year. I don't know how
well I'll play or even how much, but
I want you there.
How would you feel introducing your
drunk dad to all your friends? You
think about that?
I could live with it, if you could.
(handing him a ticket)
Here's a ticket. Section 2, Row 6.
Fifty yard line. If you don't come,
I'll never ask you again.
O.K., Joey. And good luck.
They give each other a short, quick hug. Nothing sentimental.
Joe walks back through the house. His dad stares out at the
INT. COLLEGE LIBRARY - NIGHT
Darnell is up late again, studying at one of the tables. He
hears footsteps, becomes aware of the presence of another
person. He looks up to see Autumn.
Hey, Autumn. How's Ray?
Don't know. Haven't seen him since
the night I saw you. He'd been goin'
You knew? Why didn't you tell me?
Didn't wanta win you over that way.
Silence. Darnell looks back at his books.
I just wondered how your studying
was comin'. You ready for tomorrow?
The test? I hope so. I been workin'
I talked to my dad last night.
Oh, yeah? How's he doin?
Fine. We talked about you.
What did you say?
I told him I'd gone out with you...
I told him I wished I could still go
Darnell gets up and pulls her to her feet. He hugs her.
INT. EXAMINATION ROOM - AFTERNOON
Darnell is bent over his test booklet. He writes furiously,
stops to think, starts writing again.
EXT. PRACTICE FIELD - DAY
Joe takes a snap, fades to pass, throws an out. The ball
flutters badly, falling short.
He's rusty. I doubt if we can start
He's worse than that. He's outa shape.
(blowing his whistle)
All right, that's enough for today.
Practice is cancelled. Everybody off
the field, but Kane.
(the players hesitate)
C'mon what the hell are you standin'
around lookin' at? Get outa here.
The players, surprised at this turn of events, begin to file
off. Even the coaches are baffled. Winters walks over to
Joe, who has no idea what this is about.
Didn't do much while you were in
there, did ya?
Well, we didn't exactly have a team...
You could've worked out on your own.
I had some other things to worry
Well, we're gonna make up for lost
time. We'll start by hoppin' the
Hoppin' the steps?! What, you're
gonna punish me now.
Don't talk back to me, Joe. I'll
kick your ass. I went easy on you,
'cause you had to get through detox,
but that's out to sea now. You let
this team down; you let this program
down. Start those steps. Right leg.
ANGLE ON JOE - STADIUM
Hopping up the stadium steps on his right foot, laboring as
he passes Winters, halfway up.
Now the left.
Joe switches to his left foot and continues hopping up the
steps, his quadriceps bursting with pain.
JOE - LATER - STADIUM
hanging by his arms, moving hand over hand along the crossbar
of the goalpost, panting with fatigue, Winters watching from
JOE - AT SUNSET - STADIUM
Bone weary now. Winters has him run 20 yards, get down and
do 10 pushups, run another 20 yards, do 10 more pushups etc.
Joe staggers the 20 yards, drops to do his pushups, can only
do 4. Winters yanks him to his feet, pushes him forward to
70 guys. 70 guys who busted their
butts all year. Because of you they
might not win the conference. Because
of you they might not go to a bowl.
(barely able to stand)
I didn't wanna leave... I just screwed
You dogged on them.
No, no I never dogged. I worked my
ass off. I played hard...
(pushing him forward)
Then you shoulda stayed in shape.
Keep runnin', dammit.
to break down)
I always played hard. I gave my
everything for you. When you came to
the Center, I thought you were really
worried about me. But you don't give
a shit. We're all just a buncha sled
dogs. If you had another guy who
could throw, you'da left me in the
(falling to his knees,
The only thing that matters is the
program, the god-damn program.
Winters pushes Joe down to do his pushups. Joe has to strain
mightily to do two.
Nobody forced you to play football,
Joe. Not me, not the program, nobody.
But when you sign on, you commit
yourself to pay the price, to do
whatever it takes. Well, you haven't
paid the price yet. You still owe
this team. You owe this team big-
Get a shower.
Joe tries to get up, but collapses face down on the turf, as
Winters continues to walk away.
INT. LOW RENT DOCTOR'S OFFICE - MORNING
Lattimer lies on a table, a CATHETER TUBE going into his
side. A DOCTOR'S AIDE supervises. Lattimer's dealer is there.
What's this doin?
Takin' doped urine outa your bladder
and puttin clean back in. Call it an
INT. LOCKER ROOM - BEFORE THE GAME
Coach Winters watches unknowingly as Lattimer pees the
catheterized urine into a cup.
INT. LOCKER ROOM - JUST BEFORE THE GAME
The team is gathered around. Conspicuous among them is
Lattimer, who's painted his face like a skeleton. Coach
Winters is whipping them up with a pre-game rant.
Gotta get it done today, boys. Gotta
ring that bell. 60 minutes. 60 minutes
of mean. No prisoners. No mercy.
Nothin' but snot bubbles. Gotta ring
that bell, gotta ring that
Ding Motherfucking Dong!!
Pumped to the gills, the E.S.U. team explodes in yells and
races out into the tunnel. The YELLING continues OVER and
mixes with the CHEERING OF THE CROWD as:
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Wolves movin' left to right on your
radio dial. Looking to generate some
offense. They've been up and down
the last few weeks.
ANGLE ON BOBBY COLLINS in the huddle.
28 Thunder right. On go.
They break and the E.S.U. offense comes to the line. Collins
calls signals. We go to SLOW MOTION as he fades to pass.
Darnell fakes a block, then rolls out for a screen pass.
Georgia Tech's defensive line comes hard. Bobby flips the
ball over the charging defenders. Darnell catches it, gets a
good block from Bud Lite, then tucks in behind Ray who is
out ahead blocking.
There's only one linebacker to beat and Darnell will be into
the secondary. Figuring Ray will block the guy, Darnell begins
to look for the safeties. Ray, however, barely brushes the
linebacker, who doesn't even break stride. He lowers his
head, and drives into Darnell, his helmet hitting the
football. Fumble! There's a scramble. The Yellow Jackets
free safety comes up with it.
The crowd and the E.S.U. bench, quickly deflated, sit back
down. Darnell gets to his feet, glares at Ray, but says
nothing. He knows Ray tanked the block.
INT. ALVIN MACK'S SHACK - DAY
Alvin sits alone in the "living room", listening to the E.S.U.
game on the radio, his leg propped up on an apple crate. His
mother mends a pair of jeans in the b.g.
So the Wolves defense has held after
the fumble, and the Yellow Jackets
will opt for the field goal. Around
a 34 yarder. Ball is down, it's away,
it's long enough. And good! Georgia
Tech jumps out on top 3-0.
Alvin's mother looks to see if there's any reaction from
Alvin. There's none.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Bobby Collins fades back to pass, is rushed, throws a quick
sideline, but it's a little short. The Yellow Jackets'
CORNERBACK sprints up, intercepts it and runs 30 yards down
the sideline for a touchdown.
Collins back to pass, rushed, now
fires out in the flat. It's picked
off by Hill. Down the sideline. He's
gonna go in untouched. Touchdown,
INT. E.S.U. LOCKER ROOM - AFTERNOON
A discouraged bunch of E.S.U. players drag into the locker
room. Some swear, some bang their lockers.
C'mon guys, we're only down ten.
Let's get our fuckin' shit together.
Darnell marches over to Ray's locker.
You missed that block on purpose,
didn't you, asshole.
You're full of shit. You fumble, you
try to blame me.
It's Autumn isn't it? That's what
this is all about.
The hell with Autumn. You just can't
take a hit.
Infuriated, Darnell goes for Ray, and they start swinging.
Darnell tackles Ray, they roll on the floor, still swinging,
trying to beat the shit out of each other. Finally, several
players manage to pull them apart. Coach Winters charges
Don't tell me who started it. I don't
care. All I care about is this
football team. We win together. We
lose together. So whatever your
problem is, get over it. I don't
want any more of this shit.
DARNELL AND RAY
As for the rest of you guys. Here's
what I think of the way you played.
Winters walks over to a table set up with 75 cups of Orange
Juice and Gatorade. He swipes the cups off the table creating
a small flood on the floor. Then turns the table over. The
players are shocked. They've seldom seen him like this.
(pointing toward the
Yellow Jackets' locker
They're laughin' at you over there.
Makin' plans for the evening. They
never dreamed it'd be this easy. You
guys are nothin' but bugs splattered
on their windshield. You better stock
up on potato chips, 'cause you're
gonna be watching a lotta T.V. on
New Years Day.
Winters walks away, as the players are left to contemplate
their mistakes. Winters goes over to Joe.
Get warm, Joe. You're startin' the
Joe nods, excited but uncertain. Winters moves on to Ray
By the way... don't let me see you
miss anymore blocks.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
The E.S.U. players return to their bench for the start of
the second half, gather in a circle. Joe looks up in the
stands to the seat he reserved for his father. It's empty.
BEGIN A SERIES OF SHOTS:
1) Joe takes the snap from center, fumbles it, falls on it.
2) Joe looks to throw over the middle, waits too long, is
3) Joe underthrows Darnell coming out of the backfield.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Clayton approaches Winters on the sideline.
Joe's too tentative, too cautious
out there. He seems flat. Maybe we
oughta give Collins another shot.
Joe just needs to get the feel back.
He'll be allright.
Sam, we can't afford to wait...
I said he'll be allright.
ANGLE ON JOE
5:51 to go. Georgia Tech up 10 to
nothing. The Wolves are gonna have
to find some offense in a hurry here.
Their defense has been keepin' them
As he starts off the bench for the field, Coach Winters comes
up to him.
Joe, I know that Rehab was good for
you. Got rid of a lotta bad habits.
But what about the rest of you? What
happened to the Joe Kane that used
to take command of this team, the
Joe Kane these guys i'd run through
a bulldozer for? They put him out
with the trash? What are you waitin'
for, somebody to feel sorry for you
cause you've had some problems? Nobody
in this stadium gives a shit. It's
time to step up, Joe. Time to sit at
the head of the Table.
ANGLE ON THE E.S.U. OFFENSIVE HUDDLE
As Joe comes into the huddle. He's all business now.
All right, we've held these guys up
long enough. Give me time back here,
and I'll rip 'em apart. 16 shift,
green, bolt. First sound.
Joe brings the offense to the line of scrimmage, yells "Go!"
The ball is snapped, Joe drops back, hits Darnell on the
sideline. First down. In quick succession, we see Joe:
1) Complete a 15 yarder to Ray over the middle.
2) Fades to pass, is rushed. Forced out of the pocket,
scrambles for his life, manages to get down to the 4 yard
line. He gets up, surveys the distance to pay dirt.
Nice bit of scrambling by Kane to
get it to the four, but it's gonna
bring up fourth and goal. No doubt
about it, with 3:45 they've gotta go
for it here, if they're gonna get
back in this game.
ANGLE ON THE SIDELINE
Winters puts his arm around Ray who will take the play into
Give it to me up the gut, Coach.
They've been ignoring me. I know I
No, we're gonna go with the sweep.
Winters gives Ray a shove and he runs onto the field. Ray is
upset, angry. He swears to himself.
ANGLE ON FIELD
Ray enters the huddle, whispers in Joe's ear.
28 Thunder right. On 2.
The team breaks out, comes to the line. Joe looks over the
defense, screams signals as the CROWD NOISE is building.
We go to SLOW MOTION as the ball is snapped. Ray takes one
step forward then turns right, leading the play. Joe pitches
to Darnell who follows Ray. Georgia Tech's outside linebacker
comes up to stop the play. Ray stumbles before he can make
the block. He drops out of our picture.
Darnell is forced to go wider toward the sideline. The
linebacker and cornerback are closing, both have the angle
on him. Darnell starts to cut back. He lowers his shoulder
to take the linebacker's blow. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Ray
reappears and throws a devastating block on the linebacker,
knocking him back into the cornerback, taking them both out.
Darnell cuts it up and blasts over the safety at the goal
line. Touchdown, E.S.U.
The stands erupt. It's the first thing they've had to cheer
about all day. Winters just looks at the clock, goes over to
talk to his defense.
Darnell foregoes his touchdown dance. He runs over to Ray,
grabs him by the helmet.
Monster block, man. Monster
Ray smiles. They butt heads and run off the field
INT. ALVIN'S SHACK
(softly to himself)
All right, defense. Let's get evil.
Kill 'em all, let the paramedics
sort 'em out.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Georgia Tech has the ball. They break their huddle.
1:11 and counting. Third and one.
The Wolves have got to stop them on
this play if they're gonna get the
ball back. A first down here and
it's all she wrote. E.S.U. is out of
The Georgia Tech quarterback fakes to his fullback, hands
off to his TAILBACK on the countertrap. The tailback runs
behind his big, pulling tackle, both right at Lattimer.
Lattimer takes on the tackle, sheds his block. The back lowers
his head, starts to power into Lattimer. Lattimer lets out a
Smash! Lattimer explodes into the tailback, the collision
lifting the back off the ground, whiplashing his neck,
vibrating his helmet. Lattimer's legs churn, driving the
tailback back and into the ground. We see the back's face.
There are snot bubbles in his nose. No first down. No way.
Lattimer jabs both arms in the air. The crowd goes nuts, as
the defense slaps helmets, and runs off the field, windmilling
their arms, whipping up the crowd.
ANGLE ON SIDELINE
Winters congratulates the defense as it comes off the field.
He meets Lattimer, looks into his eyes. Sees the steroids
there. He knows it's the only way the kid could have done
it. Decides not to bust him. Lattimer knows it. Winters gives
his helmet a little slap, more in sympathy than praise.
ANGLE ON THE YELLOW JACKET PUNTER
He catches the snap, boots the ball away.
Darnell fields it at his 12, starts toward the right sideline,
where hemmed in, he looks like dead meat. Suddenly, he
reverses his field, racing for the opposite sideline, where
a picket line of blockers awaits him, if he can get there.
He turns on the jets, barely beating two tacklers to the
corner, and then turns it up the left sideline, picking up a
wicked series of crack-back blocks, until he's finally run
out of bounds at the Yellow Jacket 35 yard line.
The E.S.U. fans are on their feet. Winters races over to
Time for 2 plays. If it's not open
in the end zone, take the sideline.
As the offense runs onto the field,
Winters checks the scoreboard. 17
seconds left. Georgia Tech 10. E.S.U.
INT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
Joe brings the Wolves up.
Ball on the Yellow Jacket 35. 17
seconds left. Kane barking signals.
Joe takes the snap, drops to pass, finds no one, rolls away
from the rush. Just as he's about to go out of bounds, he
fires a bullet down the sideline. Ray Griffen catches it and
goes out of bounds at the twelve.
ANGLE ON SIDELINE
Joe runs over to Coach Winters, knowing they have no more
time outs, as the refs move the chains.
Field goal here ties it, but a tie
may not get the Wolves into a bowl.
Tough decision for Winters.
You want me to send in the kicking
team or you think you can handle it?
Give me the ball.
O.K., let's do 24 inside slot, left
Joe races back out onto the field and into the huddle, as
the crowd's roar goes off the charts.
O.K., 24 inside slot, left blue
lightning. Let's put the women and
children to bed, and go lookin' for
fuckin' dinner. On 2.
He starts the wolf howl. The others join in, howling for all
they're worth, eleven jacked-up warriors. They clap and break
The crowd is standing, waving fists in unison toward the
Georgia Tech end zone. Joe looks up in the stands again at
the seat he left for his father. It's still empty.
This one's for you, Dad.
Joe starts to call signals as Bud Lite sings "Bali Hi." We
go to SLOW MOTION as the ball is snapped.
The Georgia Tech defense fires off the line, throwing
everything at Joe. Joe drops back five steps. Bud Lite picks
up a blitzing linebacker, knocks him over a fallen player.
Joe looks for Darnell in the corner, but another pass rusher
breaks through, forcing Joe out of the pocket. It's wartime
as tackles and blockers collide, hand-fight, go down, scramble
up, collide again, all in pursuit of Joe.
Darnell, realizing Joe's in trouble, breaks off his pattern
and heads to the center of the end zone. Joe dodges one
tackler, shakes free of another's ankle tackle, heads back
for the center of the field. He spots Darnell breaking between
defensive backs. Just as he's buried by two massive linemen,
Joe fires a rocket down the middle toward the sliver of open
space that Darnell is heading for.
The ball barely clears the hands of a lunging linebacker.
Darnell and two defensive backs, one from each side, close
on the ball as it cuts through the air, a perfect spiral.
Darnell dives. The two defensive backs dive. The ball passes
between their outstretched hands by a fraction of an inch,
landing in Darnell's. He clutches it to his chest, rolls
over, holds the ball up for the ref to see. Touchdown! This
time Darnell does go into his touchdown dance.
ANGLE ON STANDS
Pandemonium. The crowd including Autumn and her dad goes
crazy. Winters just gives a few quick nods, watching almost
wistfully as the players and coaches hug each other, knowing
none of them will hug him. Joe, Bud and the others mob
INT. ALVIN'S SHACK - DAY
Alvin listens to the celebration a few beats, then switches
off the radio, knowing this is an experience he'll never be
a part of again. We leave him staring off into an uncertain
INT. CHANCELLOR'S SKY-BOX - DAY
The Chancellor and his guests are celebrating the victory,
congratulating each other. Conspicuous among them are the
Fat Cat Alumnus who gave Darnell the money, and the Chairman
of the Board of Regents.
Looks like the Timberwolves are back.
Probably brought the library with
(turning to Galen
Give my sincere congratulations to
He'll be delighted.
The Fat Cat Alumnus goes to a replica of the Building Fund
football field and starts advancing the ball.
FAT CAT ALUMNUS
This brings applause all around.
EXT. WOLF DEN STADIUM - AFTERNOON
As Darnell comes off the field, Autumn runs out and hugs
him, leads him to her dad.
Daddy, you remember Darnell.
Yes, I do. Great catch, Darnell.
Thank you, sir. I got somethin' for
Darnell reaches into his helmet and takes out a sweat-stained
piece of paper.
My entrance exam. Got a 92. Coach
Winters said you got an 87. He looked
I'll kill him.
ANGLE ON JOE KANE
walking toward the tunnel, acknowledging the plaudits of the
fans. He looks for Camille, doesn't see her. Coach Winters
comes up next to him.
Hell of a throw, Joe. Good to see
Winters gives him a quick, but firm hug.
And don't worry about the Heisman.
We'll gear up for it next year.
Joe manages a weary smile.
ANGLE ON BUD LITE
coming down the tunnel, Bobby Collins next to him. Both stop
as Louanne walks toward them. Bobby smiles to himself in
anticipation of her fawning over him. She walks right by him
and up to Bud.
You still feel like gettin' a beer?
Bud smiles. Bobby quickly looks around for someone else to
hit on, hails a cheerleader. Bud and Louanne walk off
together. Louanne stops when she sees her father, fearful of
He's not a football player any more.
He's graduating this year.
He's still got a bowl game.
Louanne waits, not sure whether her father's angry or not.
So make sure he doesn't violate
Louanne smiles. Winters returns it, and walks away.
ANGLE ON STEVE LATTIMER
Sitting on the bench, his head in his hands, weeping.
An amazing conclusion to a great
season. We can see Steve Lattimer
down on the bench weeping tears of
joy as E.S.U. goes back to a bowl
for the first time in three years.
These are not tears of joy, but a man/boy who knows he'll
never be able to play pro football without steroids.
EXT. E.S.U. CAMPUS - LATE AFTERNOON
Joe sits on a bench at the intersection of four converging
Quad paths. Camille approaches from the opposite direction,
stops when she sees Joe.
What are you doin' here?
Waitin' for you. I figured you'de
have to come through here on your
way to dinner.
This softens, relaxes her a bit.
Shouldn't you be out celebrating?
You played real well.
I need your help with somethin'. I
know I'm not your favorite guy right
now, but it's all startin' again.
The expectations, the pressure, the
talk about the Heisman next year. I
was wonderin' if you'de like to go
somewhere, maybe share a six-pack
Camille's shocked that he might be drinking again. He pulls
a six pack of 7-Up out from behind his back. She laughs in
spite of herself. They settle again.
I miss you, Camille. I don't like
bein' without you.
I'll think about it.
They look at each other a beat, come forward into a long
kiss and embrace as we pull up and back.
CREDITS BEGIN TO ROLL AS
EXT. STADIUM TUNNEL - DAY
Coach Winters, flanked by Humes and Clayton, walks down the
tunnel to a waiting car. No effigy this time.
Tickets are in your coat. Itinerary
and player profiles in the briefcase.
We got a 9:00am tomorrow in Baltimore
with the kid from Park. Then we're
They continue down the tunnel toward a new recruiting season,
another year in the annals of The Program.
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