’s Top 10 Sports Movie Pep Talks put together a ranking of the top 10 sports movie pep talks of all-time.

Here are the site’s top 3:

1. Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in “Miracle”

2. Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato in “Any Given Sunday”

3. Gene Hackman as Norman Dale in “Hoosiers”

I love Russell’s speech in “Miracle” for the obvious reasons, but something about Pacino’s monologue in “Any Given Sunday” hits me hard every time I watch it. Maybe it’s because of the movie or because Pacino is one of the greatest actors to ever grace the big screen, but that “inches speech” is the best in my opinion. No actor can say the word “f**king” better than Pacino.

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Ladies and gentlemen, your…Toronto Tarantulas?

A city’s reaction to becoming the permanent home of a professional sports expansion franchise isn’t all that different than that of a married couple that learns of an impending pregnancy – nervous excitement.

At the press conference, political leaders will slap each other on their back for their efforts in securing the franchise and take on the role of grandparents to the city’s newest acquisition. Oh, they promise to be there every step in the development of the franchise, but in reality, they will only show up at events covered by the media (i.e. opening night, first playoff appearance, and the celebration ceremony of a championship, etc.). And they will remind everyone within an ear’s distance about their role in giving the franchise life and an opportunity to succeed.

The owner and the fans take on the role of the expecting parents. Each will have a significant role in choosing team colors, mascot, and most importantly – the team’s nickname. A great article posted on list the top ten runner-up names of existing franchises.

Here is an example of a team’s name that fans almost cheered for:
The Toronto Tarantulas
Few team names seem quite as dated as the Toronto Raptors’. The team started play in 1995 with a mascot that was obviously a nod to Jurassic Park, which had destroyed box-office records a couple of years earlier. However, looking at the list of names the Toronto franchise could have chosen, the Raptors seems like a terrific choice. The other nine finalists were the Tarantulas, Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Scorpions, T-Rex, and Terriers. “The Hogs” makes sense since Toronto’s historic nickname is Hogtown, but it lacks a certain menace and would have been catastrophic when the team picked Oliver Miller in the expansion draft. The rest of the finalists, however, look largely like they were culled from a list of things 13-year-old boys think are awesome, so kudos on picking the Raptors name. (This decision might mark the last time a franchise under Isiah Thomas’ direction made a wise choice.)

The article reminded me of a time when my brother and I attended the NFL Experience at the 2003 Super Bowl in San Diego. A booth was selling t-shirts used in the football movie Any Given Sunday starring Al Pacino and Cameron Diaz. One shirt that caught my eye had George Washington as the mascot of the fictitious D.C. team. He had an intense, crazed look on his face that would have made Junior Seau cringe on the field. Well a purchase had to be made, and a revelation came to me after wearing the shirt in public a few times…a team’s name and their mascot must be attractive to the public for a franchise to be successful. People went ga-ga over my shirt even though it was completely fictitious and ridiculous, but it’s still better than wearing a tarantula on your chest.

Bobby Bowden is no Al Pacino

This might be the most uninspiring pregame speech of all-time:

That’s certainly a step down from Al Pacino’s “Inches” speech from Any Given Sunday:

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