The Bottom Ten-Ranking the 10 Worst People in Remember The Titans

The feel-good football classic is littered with human garbage

My apartment sits high atop a hill in my hometown. My street is in close proximity to the local high school. Every year, as summer comes to a close, I can hear the goings-on from the football practice field some half mile away. The incessant whistles, the enthusiastic hollering from the team between drills, the pounding drums from the marching band. It makes me very happy. It makes me feel nostalgic and excited. It makes me feel hopeful. Lately, those are good, rare feelings to have.

If you turn on the news today, it’s almost an unavoidable fact that you’re going to see something terrible. The world is an especially scary place today. It’s probably going to be a scary place for the foreseeable future. If there’s one little ray of hope for the American people, it’s that football season is right around the corner. NFL Sunday’s offer us a little reprieve on our weekends, a bit of peace, a diversion from all of the horrible negativity in the world. Yes, football is a violent game, but it’s also a very beautiful game. It is a metaphor onto itself.

This intersection, between the horror of the news cycle and the hope of an upcoming football season, reminds me of Remember the Titans, a rare sports movie that also tries to tackle the issues of the world outside the gridiron.

Remember the Titans, for those of you who do not, in fact, Remember the Titans, is a Disney movie starring Denzel Washington as the coach of a recently integrated high school football team in Alexandria, VA. I’m fairly confident that everyone reading this has already seen the movie, but the basic gist of it is this: after a rocky start both on and off the field, the boys at T.C. Williams High School band together to defeat their opponents on the gridiron en route to a State Championship and, if you are to believe the executives at Disney, they also basically solve racism in the process. It’s a fantastic movie. I love it so much. It’s deadly serious in the most low stakes way possible and super fun at the same time. It has an unbeatable movie recipe: A strong measure of Denzel Washington, a backing from Disney, cute, synchronized dancing, and a miracle sports finish for a championship. I forget if I mentioned this but it also basically solves racism. I wish there were way more Titans movies. I wish it was a franchise. Just a few ideas:

Remember the Titans, Too: The sequel in which another local high school integrates. This high school, C. T. Billiams, also attempts to win the state championship and solve racism. The Titans fight to retain their football crown all while getting people to Remember that they solved racism first.

Misremember the Titans: Star quarterback Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass suffers a concussion. He cannot remember any of his teammates, let alone the plays. The team bands together to help their quarterback remember who he is and who they are. In the process, they solve racism.

I Forgot the Titans: A new Christmas classic. Denzel goes on a job interview at Virginia Tech and the Titans are left, yes, you guessed it, Home Alone. When some racists come after them, they band together, booby trapping the field, defeating the intruders and solving racism.

The Titans Remember the 21st Night of September: The Titans confront some racists at an Earth, Wind, and Fire concert.

Titans is a nearly perfect on-cable movie. If you catch it on TV at any point in the movie, odds are strong that you’re going to watch all the way to the end credits. It’s immensely enjoyable. If I have any problem with the movie, it’s that it is littered with disgustingly awful garbage people. For as many genuinely “good” people in the movie, Coach Denzel, Coach Yost, Julius Campbell, Rev, the Strength Coach who yells, apropos of nothing, “y’all didn’t come here to practice, because champions pay the price!”, there are just as many terrible people. Not everyone is terrible for the same reason. This is a football move, so some people are terrible because they are genuinely bad at football. This is a movie about family, so some people are terrible because they are genuinely bad parents. This is a movie about friendship, so some people are terrible because they are genuinely bad friends. This is a movie about racism, so some people are terrible because they are genuinely racist. I’d like to rank the top 10 worst people in Remember the Titans in reverse order, so that they do not get included in any of the above mentioned sequels.

Before we get into this list, I’d like to lay down a few ground rules:

  1. If we cannot see their face, they cannot be included, no matter how awful they may be. This is why we can’t include the guy who throws a brick through Denzel’s window and the drunk driver who paralyzes Bertier. As much as I would very much like to include those people, we cannot.
  2. We cannot include those responsible for casting and writing the movie. This is why we can’t include whoever hired a group of 35 year old men to play 16 year old High School Football players and why we can’t include whichever screenwriter decided to retroactively paralyze Bertier before the State Championship game, which is not at all how that situation went down.
  3. We cannot include an individual if their awful actions occurred after the movie took place. This is why we can’t include Julius Campbell and Gary Bertier, who graduated T.C. Williams and went on to become a murderous Baltimore gang leader known as Avon and a murderous Wyoming gang leader known as Opie Winston, respectively.
  4. With all that in mind, here is our top 10:

10. Alan Bosley: Poor AB. He is Ryan Gosling, but he is not yet “Ryan Gosling”. His inclusion on this list is purely football related, as he otherwise seems like a pretty good kid. However, he just can’t keep up with the big boys on the field. A middling defensive back, his backpedal looks more like a kid trying to impress a girl at the roller derby with a moonwalk. He gets beat, repeatedly, up and down the field in the biggest game of the year. He eventually throws himself out of the game as not even he can take how bad he is at football.

9. White Kid #1: Cast only as White Kid #1, this ogre-bully starts a fight with Petey Jones on the very first day of school because Petey is talking to a white girl. White Kid #1 gets quickly put in his place by Gerry Bertier and is never seen from or heard from again. White Kid #1 is the worst because he is very racist. The only thing that keeps him this high on the low list is that we don’t see much of him. I’m sure if he got more screen time he would easily sneak his way towards the top spot. He didn’t strike me as the type of person who learned any sort of lesson from that confrontation.

8. The Women of Bertier: Bertier’s mother and girlfriend both start the movie as stuck up and exceedingly racist. They end the movie as stuck up and probably still kind of racist at parties and stuff.

7. Coach Herb Tyrell: Tyrell came over with Coach Yost to coach the special teams under Coach Denzel. He’s…not a great guy. He ends a lifelong friendship with Coach Yost because Yost brought his daughter to play with Denzel’s daughter. He says, out loud and with grave seriousness, while discussing the play habits of 9 year old girls, “sooner or later, a man’s got to pick a side!”. Tyrell should be higher on the list, but since this is a football movie, I’m not going to spend too much time thinking about a goddamn assistant special teams coach, OK?

6. The Hall of Fame Committee Guy: I’m going to tell you what this guy’s deal is, and if you’ve never seen the movie I promise you aren’t ever going to believe it. In charge of electing High School football coaches to the Virginia state Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame Committee Guy tells Coach Yost that unless he allows the referees to throw the next Titans game, resulting in a Titans loss, he will permanently ban Coach Yost from the Hall of Fame. Of High School Athletics. Again, The Hall of Fame Committee Guy is so racist that he is willing to throw a High School Football game to ensure that the white kid’s win.

5. Sheryl Yost: Look, I feel bad including a 9 and a half year old on this list. I’m not going to get too specific as to why she ranks in at number 5 on this list, but if you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it. If you have, you already know. Sheryl Yost needs to relax. Relax, Sheryl. Just, chill out for a while. Volume is up around 10, we’re gonna need you to take yourself down several notches.

4. Mr. Bosley: It’s a good old fashioned family affair. A quick look at all of Mr. Bosley’s transgressions, all of which occur in about 25 seconds of screen time. Calls Coach Herman Boone, Coach Coon, berates Boone when his son gets pulled from the game, even though his son is terrible at football (See 10.), and then berates Sheryl Yost, who only halfway deserved it. Mr Bosley is dirt salad.

3. Coach Taber: Taber, a rival coach, is only in the movie for two scenes. In the first scene, he calls two of his 17 year old players “prized bulls”. That’s just a really bizarre thing to say about a teenager. He then refers to Coach Boone as a “monkey”. Later, when he is aggressively pointed at by Bertier during an on-field shellacking, the look of sheer horror on his face is nothing short of outrageous and belongs in a time capsule where we collect examples of bad acting to show future generations. Taber is a racist, creepy coward, and yet he is only the bronze medal loser in the worst person competition.

2. Petey: I feel like the biggest mistake that moviegoers make is over-estimating Petey’s appeal as a fan favorite. Petey is a cry baby. Petey tries to quit on the team after one game. Petey tries to “out” his quarterback Sunshine, with no evidence, just to impress a group of girls he met a tenth of a second before doing so. Basically, Petey makes a life altering decision for one of his teammates, without his teammates consent, to impress some girls. Petey is almost the absolute worst person in Remember the Titans. Petey should be especially thankful for his (former) teammate…

1. Ray Budds: Gerry Bertier’s ex-best friend, the Titans ex-fullback. During training camp, while getting to know one of his black teammates, he asks the following questions:

“What’s your daddy’s name? You do have a daddy right? What’s he do? I mean, he does have a job, right?”

If that wasn’t enough, Budds later intentionally blows a blocking assignment in order to get one of his black teammates injured. He emotionally, mentally, and physically abuses his teammates. He is a truly vile, despicable person. Ray Budds is the single worst person in Remember the Titans.