20 Favorite One-Liners from Classic Sports Movies
Not every sports movie is great, but every sports movie that is great has classic one-liners that fans know and love to repeat.
The element almost every one-liner shares is that the subject (or subjects) on the business end of it is getting "zinged."
If a one-liner wasn't funny or clever, or both, then it isn't a one-liner, it's just someone saying something—something easily ignored.
This explains why we love to reenact one-liner moments from our favorite flicks, with varying success: The material is simply superior to our originals.
So, even if someone butchers a classic from Caddyshack, the odds are that the end result remains better than a misguided attempt at inventing an original "Ted" or "Bristine" (and never discount the entertainment value of a terrible impression).
While the genre has an impressive collection of one-liners suitable for any role—whether at the bar or just for sake of the film itself—here are some of our favorites from classic sports comedies.
Varsity Blues’ coach Bud Kilmer is one of the most capable and maniacal villains in sports movie history. While he’s as mean as a honey badger with a leg stuck in a trap, he’s also surprisingly—if not accidentally—funny from time to time.
Second-string quarterback Jonathan Moxon, who comes in to replace godlike Lance Harbor after he seriously injures his knee, really inspires Kilmer’s best one-liner insults. The one above is solid, but the gold-medal winner is yet to come.
Little Big League
Little Big League doesn’t have too many great one-liners, but Billy’s friend Joey delivers with one early in the movie after his beloved grandfather passes away and leaves him the Minnesota Twins.
Joey isn’t making light of anyone’s death—he’s just doing that thing all kids do by drawing the very obvious comparison in the situation.
Although Jimmy Fallon’s ill-fated movie career wasn’t particularly fruitful, Fever Pitch remains the most underrated of his screen credits. While it’s rightly categorized as a romantic comedy, the emphasis should really be on comedy.
Early in the film, Fallon’s character (Ben, a Red Sox fanatic who was gifted his amazing season tickets in his uncle’s will) gathers his friends together for a draft to decide who gets to go to certain games with him. Needless to say, Ben makes them dance for him.
D2: The Mighty Ducks
In The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Lester Averman might not have gotten the guts or the glory or even the girl, but he did get most of the quality one-liners among the original Ducks players.
The above quote is in reference to the mighty Icelandic team in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Averman also had a classic exchange with Coach Bombay earlier in the movie, explaining the team's rust coming back.
Gordon Bombay: Haven’t you guys been training in the offseason?
Lester Averman: You know, I knew we forgot something.
Often overlooked as a sports movie, Kingpin is one of those fantastic cult classics that never found as large of an audience as it deserved because it’s just a little too weird.
Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid as Roy Munson and Ishmael dominate in screen time, but Bill Murray steals every scene as Ernie McCracken.
Although it obviously works as a standalone one-liner, Happy Gilmore’s epic response actually comes in response to a common phrase uttered by his hilarious nemesis, Shooter McGavin.
Shooter: You’re in big trouble though, pal. I eat pieces of s**t like you for breakfast!
Happy: [laughing] You eat pieces of s**t for breakfast?
Shooter: [long pause] No!
Happy’s comeback was so amazing and memorable that it pretty much killed that threat forever. But if it ever comes back, you know we’ll all be ready.
Rookie of the Year
Thanks to the always epic Gary Busey playing Chet “Rocket” Steadman with enough intensity to make Nicolas Cage look understated by comparison, pitching coach Phil Brickma provided Rookie of the Year’s much-needed comic relief.
Nothing he says makes sense, which is fine because he’s nothing more than a glorified babysitter for young Henry Rowengartner. Remember: Without punctuality, time stands still.
One more Fever Pitch one-liner makes the list because it’s guaranteed to make you laugh every time some drunk dude starts shouting it at a game.
Even though the line is a little generic, it provides an added bang to your funny bone because it’s credited to author Stephen King, who makes a cameo in the movie.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is (by far) Will Ferrell’s best sports movie and one of the most quotable movies ever.
Most of the great lines are saved for the titular character, but the Magic Man (now you see him, now you don’t), Cal Naughton Jr., delivers his fair share of gems too:
Cal Naughton Jr.: So when you say psychosomatic, you mean like he could start a fire with his thoughts?
Cal Naughton Jr.: I like to think of Jesus as a mischievous badger.
Cal Naughton Jr.: Please don’t let the invisible fire burn my friend!
He and Ricky Bobby are actually deserving of their own list. Another task for another day.
A League of Their Own
If you haven’t seen it in awhile, A League of Their Own is probably funnier than you remember. Tom Hanks as Peaches manager Jimmy Dugan has most of the zingers in the movie, but comedian Jon Lovitz delivers more than a few as scout Ernie Capadino.
Unfortunately, Capadino is gone before the girls even get to try out, but not without leaving a lasting impression on them and the audience. They get surprisingly attached to him, given that he doesn’t say anything nice to them the entire time.
Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller have built their career on movies that are well-known one-liner goldmines. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is no different, but ironically the best line of the film wasn’t delivered by either of them.
Patches O’Houlihan, played by Rip Torn, exercises some very harsh logic when he demonstrates to the Average Joes that dodging a ball is not entirely unlike dodging a wrench.
Unfortunately for Justin Long, being hit in the face by a wrench is way different than being hit in the face with a ball.
Though he was billed as the star of Caddyshack, Chevy Chase was really outshone by the legendary Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray. That being said, he did have a few memorable one-liners.
Bringing the deadpan delivery and boundless confidence he first displayed on Saturday Night Live, Chase packed more punch into his often uninspired dialogue than it really deserved.
The Sandlot is an all-time classic that remains one of the most beloved movies of an entire generation that came of age in the early '90s. It’s stacked from beginning to end with one-liners, as the kids trade insults on and off the field.
Cutie Benny Rodriguez’s pantywaist gibe definitely stands out among the film’s funnier lines.
The funniest lines in Major League come in short bursts of dialogue between its hilarious cast of characters. Which is why there aren’t too many that stand alone without proper context.
There are a few good lines directed at and about Pedro Cerrano, but Indians announcer Harry Doyle provides the most predictably funny commentary in the film:
Harry Dole: In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there.
Harry Dole: This guy threw at his own son in a father-son game.
Harry Dole: JUST a bit outside!
OK, well a couple of those need a little context—but at long as you’ve seen the movie, you know what he’s talking about.
“Show me the money!” is the most famous line in the Cameron Crowe classic Jerry Maguire—well, either that or “You had me at hello.” Those scenes are both great, but tend to overshadow the rest.
Jerry’s most underrated line of the entire movie is in response to Bob Sugar’s assertion that he doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a black man.
Little Giants is an underrated classic that will (pretty much) forever exist in the sizable shadow of The Sandlot. Much like the latter film, the former’s strength is in its fantastic cast of child actors.
There are a lot of great one-liners in the movie, but the best comes courtesy of Rashid "Hot Hands" Hanon after he blows it big time. Having to give up your dream of playing football to be…ugh…a politician? A fate worse than death.
Varsity Blues coach Bud Kilmer delivers this line with such feverish intensity to Jonathan Moxon that you legitimately believe he thinks Mox doesn’t know the difference between a sneeze and a wet fart.
Kilmer had a number of other seriously memorable one-liners in the movie—some better than the two included on this list—but unfortunately the language is just too salty to include any of them here. They’re funny enough to make the audience laugh and mean enough to make a big man cry.
The Mighty Ducks
Ridiculously overconfident and sarcastic to a fault, in The Mighty Ducks, coach Gordon Bombay is a hilarious one-liner machine at the beginning of the first film.
Bombay delivers some great lines even in his drunken DUI state, but his sharpest barbs are saved for the bumbling kids of District 5. Most are great as standalone lines, but the interactions with the kids make them even better.
Gordon Bombay: Now here’s the long and short of it: I hate hockey and I don’t like kids.
Peter Mark: What’s this supposed to be, a pep talk?
Gordon Bombay: I’m sure this will be a real bonding experience. One day, maybe one of you will write a book about it in jail.
Adam Sandler movies are known for crude jokes and silly one-liners, but never was he more successful in making his brand of comedy work better than in Happy Gilmore.
Every exchange he has with Shooter McGavin is classic, but Happy’s fateful celebrity pairing with The Price is Right host Bob Barker provides the movie with its most repeatable line.
After falling apart on the course and letting Shooter’s heckler get the best of him, Happy and Barker have a very violent falling-out. Barker wins in the end, but Happy’s line is definitely the best of the scene.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby makes the list again, this time with a few epic one-liners courtesy of big, hairy, American winning machine Ricky Bobby.
Ricky Bobby: [TV commercial] Hi, I’m Ricky Bobby. If you don’t chew Big Red, then f**k you!
Ricky Bobby: Here’s the deal. I’m the best there is. Plain and simple. I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence.
Ricky Bobby: Where are you, Pepé Le Bitch?
Ricky Bobby: Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! AAAAAHHH! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!
Ricky Bobby is easily the most quotable sports movie character ever.