In 1970, the Texas Longhorns beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Cotton Bowl to cap a perfect season and secure the 1969 national championship. It was the last win for the Horns over the Fighting Irish.
On that cool, clear day in Dallas, the Longhorns drew inspiration from junior safety Freddie Steinmark, who stood on crutches and his one remaining leg after havnig his left leg amputated at the hip only days before. Steinmark played the entire 1969 regular season with a malignant bone tumor in his left leg that ate through his femur and left his leg held together by little more than muscle.
His story of courage, faith, and determination is profiled in My All-American, a new film that opens in theaters on November 13 starring Finn Whitrock as Steinmark and Aaron Eckhart as head coach Darrell K Royal. The trailer for the movie just came out:
Unlike other football movies like Rudy, Steinmark's incredible story needs no embellishment:
Director Angelo Pizzo, who penned Rudy, wanted to create an inspiration role model, and he couldn't have chosen a better subject. "There was nothing false or made up about the Freddie character," he told EW. "The [film's] principal financier asked me from the get-go, ‘How much of Rudy was true?' I said, ‘Maybe about 70 percent.' ... And he looked at me and said, ‘I don't want 70 percent; I want 90 percent. I want to say, ‘The following is a true story.'"
Steinmark is also the subject of the biography "Freddie Steinmark: Faith, Family, Football," which came out on Tuesday. If you can't wait for My All-American to come out to learn more about Steinmark, buy the book (it's a good read) and stop on by the University Co-Op on Friday, September 11 at 5 p.m. for an "Orange Carpet" book launch featuring a conversation between myself and the author, Bower Yousse, who was a childhood friend of Steinmark and played high school football with him in the Denver area.