The 7 Best Television Football Series

Television and football have gone hand in hand for decades. Week in and week out, Americans tune in to watch their favorite games. The NFL’s present troubles notwithstanding, that phenomenon likely won’t change anytime soon.

Football has also lent itself to great television outside of the games themselves. From heart-wrenching dramas to wacky comedies to gritty documentaries, the small screen has found a place for series about the game itself – or shows that simply surround football.

Here are seven of the best football shows. Some of them are still available on streaming services, home media, or reruns, and they’re worth looking for. Enjoy the list!

7. 1st & Ten (HBO, 1984-1991)

Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I didn’t have cable until college. But I remember spending the night at a friend’s house and watching 1st & Ten. It was everything that my sheltered self had never had exposure to on television – heavy profanity, nudity, the whole nine yards. Of course, it was probably tame by today’s standards.

The show was one of HBO’s first attempts to compete with network television with a raucous sitcom about a fictional pro football team. With real former NFL players as team members, the draw was obvious, and the series made Delta Burke a star, even though she left in the third season.

The clips I’ve seen from old episodes look dated, like most everything from the '80s does, but back then, 1st & Ten was groundbreaking.

6. Necessary Roughness (USA, 2011-2013)

Some shows just use sports as a setting and not as something central to their essence. Necessary Roughness was one of those series, although the connection to football is strong enough to place it on this list.

Callie Thorne stars as a Dr. Danielle Santino, a therapist who goes to work for a football team to make ends meet following her divorce. The show divides its time between Santino’s adjusting to the routine of a divorced mother and her attempts to help various team members cope with life as superstar athletes.

It’s not a heavy, human-interest drama, but it’s a nice diversion and worth watching if you can find it on a streaming service or on reruns.