'Little Giants': 25 things we love about the classic pee-wee football movie | Sporting News (2024)

Where were you during"The Annexation of Puerto Rico?"

Today marks the 25th anniversary of "Little Giants," the movie that intertwined sibling rivalry, small-town pee-wee football anda lovable of group of misfits led by the “Icebox.” Ed O'Neill and RickMoraniswere the stars of this timeless hit,directed by Duwayne Dunham.

It's been a quarter-century, but here are 25 things we still love about “Little Giants” today:

MORE: 30 things we love about'Major League'

1. Kevin O'Shea

The pride ofUrbania, Ohio, won the Heisman Trophy and returned home to build a pee-wee dynasty complete with Cowboysuniforms. He runs a car dealership and torments his younger brother, Danny, with his personal mantra. “I knew you'd see it my way." At the same time, he plays the role of the self-deprecatinguncle and father.O'Neill is more known for Al Bundy and Jay Pritchett, but thismight behis best work.

2.Danny O'Shea

RickMoranisplays Danny O'Shea to perfection, too. He lives in his brother's shadow until his daughter is cut, and that prompts him to take a chance for the first time with a lovable group of kids who were told they can't play.Moranis'unconventional coaching techniques hit home for anybody who has ever tried to coach their kids.

3. Becky 'Icebox'O'Shea

It would not be an exaggeration to call O'Shea one of the best female sports movie characters of all time. She ditches the cheerleader outfitfor a football uniform and leads the “Little Giants” to a second-half comeback.

4. The 'Little Giants'

Hot Hands.Rad Tad.Zoltek. The Toe. Junior. The scene wherethey put the team togetheris amazing.

5. Junior Floyd

Danny O'Shea might be a gas station owner, but he can still recruit a quarterback.

6.Orville and Wilbur

The old men bet on pee-wee football from the tavern.We would say that's pure fiction, but we've seen it done in real life.

7. 'Briggs, count it off'

O'Shea looks like every over-zealous youth coach ever in this scene.

8.Jake Berman

That's the kid with the snot bubble coming out of his nose who is comic relief for the whole movie. We had to look it up, too.


Hewas Sean McVay in spectacles. He's the offensive mastermind behind the Little Giants.We will get to “The Annexation of Puerto Rico” here in a bit.

10. SpikeHammersmith

'He was bred for football glory.'The bidding war for the services of Spike takes the O'Shea rivalry. He runs a 6.5 40 and can carry a fridge on his back.Spike's dad Mikeis just as intense.

11. 'Power-I'

“Spike's in hell. Spike's in pee-wee hell.” Is there a more-quotable villain?

12. John Madden and friends

The Madden Cruiser shows up with Emmitt Smith, Bruce Smith, SteveEmtmanand Tim Brown. We learn that football is 80 percent mental and 40 percent physical. Seriously, how cool wasthe Madden Cruiser?

13. The bet

Kevin puts his car dealership up against Danny's gas station. Again, this isn't the craziest wager we've seen over a football game.

14. 'Death shrouds'

The Little Giants did not think they had a chance in the big game, and of course the Cowboys jump out to a big lead.

15. 'One time'

This isn't quite as good as Al Pacino in “Any Given Sunday,” but it's better for children:

16. 'That's my niece, and she's pissed.'

Putting Iceboxin the No. 56 jersey puts this over the top.

17.The Giants'comeback

The Giants rally with some creative play-callingwith trick plays the Cowboys aren't ready for. Danny O'Shea knows how to get the ball to his playmakers.

18. 'Hot Hands' TD

It's as easy as catching a roll of toilet paper.

19.Patty Floyd saves the game

When the Cowboys have a chance to put the game away, Patty lets Kevin know the pitch is coming. Great scouting. We, for one, appreciate the ego of Kevin O'Shea to call his own number with kids.

20. 'The Annexation of Puerto Rico'

The Carolina Panthers used this play a few years ago. The design is perfect, and Kevin O'Shea is the only one who sees it coming.Great call byNubie.

21. 'Nomercy!'

"No ball."

22.Danny wins!

This movie is for all the little brothers, underdogs and B teams out there that found a way to win that “one time.” How Kevin handles the loss with class, however, makes it even better.

23. Sportsmanship

The Cowboys show sportsmanship after the game, right down to Spike and Kevin O'Shea. That's why this movie holds up for young football players today.As far as children's sports movies go, this one ranks up there with the best.

24. The water tower

All Danny wanted was his name on the water tower next to his brother.

25.It didn't need a sequel

This was one that could have had a sequel with the teams playing together, but the choice not to make a sequel was the right move. It's the perfect ending.

'Little Giants': 25 things we love about the classic pee-wee football movie | Sporting News (2024)
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