25 Best Fictional Teams Ever
Imagine a world where any movie or television show about a sport never drifted far enough out of reality to free it from having to make the plot revolve around a real team and real players.
Studio budgets would hemorrhage from the licensing fees and lost royalties, and audiences would face the prospect of watching athletes deliver pithy dialogue for one or more hours.
That's not to say that great sports flicks and shows haven't, or won't, be made with one foot squarely planted in the real world—but most people who love the genre probably enjoy a little escapism with any historical accuracy.
The best fictional teams are those that capture what we love about a sport and the people that are a part of it and make us forget about all those mundane or frustrating elements that often make the real thing feel less than special (even if it's just for a moment or two).
Here are the 25 Best Fictional Teams Ever.
25. Gotham Rogues
Team: Gotham Rogues
Movie/TV Show: The Dark Knight Rises
The Gotham Rogues made a brief, but memorable appearance in The Dark Knight Rises. With the movie having filmed largely in Pittsburgh, Steelers from the past and present made cameos in the scene filmed at Heinz Field.
24. Deering High School
Team: Deering High School
Movie/TV Show: Hang Time
With a revolving door constantly shuffling new cast members in and out over six seasons, Hang Time’s Deering High School basketball team managed to stay fresh, despite a rather limiting premise. NFL great Dick Butkus starred as the team’s coach for two seasons and a handful of NBA players—including Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton—made cameos throughout its run.
23. New York Knights
Team: New York Knights
Movie/TV Show: The Natural
In The Natural, the Knights are the only team in baseball willing to take a chance and sign 35-year-old Roy Hobbs. Once the game’s next big star, Hobbs was gunned down as a teenager by a mentally unstable fan. Adapted from the novel of the same name, the fictionalized story was based on a similar incident that happened to Philles player Eddie Waitkus in 1949.
Movie/TV Show: Little Giants
The Giants in Little Giants are pretty much the sorriest excuse you could ever imagine for a pee-wee football team. Which, if you’ve ever been forced to sit through an afternoon of these games live, you know is really saying something. But what they lack in talent, they more than make up for in bad manners.
21. The Improv & Rochelle, Rochelle
Team: The Improv & Rochelle, Rochelle
Movie/TV Show: Seinfeld
In the Seinfeld episode “The Understudy,” Jerry and George—playing with the Improv’s softball team—faced off against the cast—including Ms. Bette Midler—of the hit Broadway musical, Rochelle, Rochelle. Jerry is dating the understudy of Midler, who is put out of commission by George after he runs her down at home plate. Pretty much the best day of softball ever.
20. Blue Mountain State Goats
Team: Blue Mountain State Goats
Movie/TV Show: Blue Mountain State
Spike TV’s Blue Mountain State is set at the titular fictional university, with the football team as a main focus, along with sex, drugs, drinking, hazing and partying. Most of the main characters are members of the football team with impressively deranged personalities.
19. Average Joe's
Team: Average Joe’s
Movie/TV Show: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Not all of the Average Joe’s could dodge a wrench or a ball in Dodgeball, but they definitely gave it their best shot every time. And in the end it paid off.
18. The Hawks & Team Iceland
Team: The Hawks & Team Iceland
Movie/TV Show: Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks
The excessively evil Hawks and Team Iceland in the first two Mighty Ducks movies were the perfect adversaries. Cocky and arrogant to a fault, both were led by a cartoonishly villainous coach whose biggest mistake was underestimating Gordon Bombay’s team. And in the end they learned something, even if their coaches didn’t.
17. London Silly Nannies
Team: London Silly Nannies
Movie/TV Show: Family Guy
After wearing out his welcome blocking for the New England Patriots with massive showboating, Peter Griffin is shipped off to London to play for the Silly Nannies, who are as good at football as their hilarious name suggests. Somehow the Patriots end up playing the Silly Nannies, who are also smart enough to bail during the opening kickoff, leaving Peter there to sacrifice himself.
16. Minnesota Twins
Team: Minnesota Twins
Movie/TV Show: Little Big League
Given the circumstances they’re dealing with—like a 12-year-old owner installing himself as manager—most of the Twins players in Little Big League are remarkably patient and tolerant. First, young Billy Heywood helps them remember how lucky they are to be playing the game they love for a living. Later, it’s the players who have to remind Billy the same thing after he starts taking himself just a little too seriously. And seriously, who doesn’t love Jim Bowers?!
15. Compton Clovers & Rancho Carne Toros
Team: Compton Clovers & Rancho Carne Toros
Movie/TV Show: Bring It On
It didn’t seem fair to pick between the Clovers and Toros in the original (and the only acceptable one to ever watch) Bring It On movie. The Clovers had the moves and the personality, but the Toros had… a lot more screen time.
14. Milwaukee Beers
Team: Milwaukee Beers
Movie/TV Show: BASEketball
In BASEketball, Coop, Remer and Squeak are sometimes friends, sometimes adversaries, but always hilarious. The likability of the Beers and the longtime friendship between Coop and Remer provide the necessary grounding in an otherwise ridiculous movie.
13. The Bears
Team: The Bears
Movie/TV Show: The Bad News Bears
You can thank the Bears for finding a winning formula which would later be repeated in '90s classics like The Mighty Ducks and The Sandlot. A bunch of misfits coming together, sometimes with the presence of a very questionable adult, and somehow making something out of nothing. The Bears may not have won the championship in the end, but they still walked away with confidence and pride.
12. Miami Sharks
Team: Miami Sharks
Movie/TV Show: Any Given Sunday
Not everyone on the Sharks was likable, but that was obviously by design. Oliver Stone set out to make a movie about the high stress, cutthroat nature of the NFL, and he made it work despite not securing the league’s permission to use the team names or logos.
11. Cornfield Ghost Team
Team: Baseball Ghost Team
Movie/TV Show: Field Of Dreams
Thank God for the ghost team in Field of Dreams. Otherwise Ray Kinsella would just be a terribly irresponsible, and perhaps clinically insane, family man, who for some reason seems hell-bent on destroying his life and those of everyone around him. That movie would’ve been one heckuva a downer if he built it and they didn’t come.
10. Charlestown Chiefs
Team: Charlestown Chiefs
Movie/TV Show: Slap Shot
In the classic comedy Slap Shot, the Chiefs are a minor league hockey team on the fast track to nowhere during a hopeless season until they pick up a trio of violent goons out of desperation. The fans go crazy for the Hanson brothers, and their bone-crushing style of play actually helps turn things around for the Chiefs—on the ice, if not off.
9. The Sandlot Team
Team: The Sandlot Team
Movie/TV Show: The Sandlot
The Sandlot is one of the most beloved classics of a generation. Everyone can see a bit of their childhood selves and their friends in the different characters. Even though some of them are unlikely friends, they band together, play ball, make mischief and enjoy the brief time they have together before growing apart and going their separate ways.
8. Dillon High Panthers
Team: Dillon High Panthers
Movie/TV Show: Friday Night Lights
NBC’s Friday Night Lights ran for five seasons, despite chronically low ratings, thanks in large part to its passionate fan base. Panthers coach Eric Taylor was the show’s anchor, with the focus on various players shifting from season-to-season and sometimes even week-to-week.
7. Rockford Peaches
Team: Rockford Peaches
Movie/TV Show: A League of Their Own
Somehow they managed to cast an entire team worth rooting for in A League of Their Own. Though the drama between the Hinson sisters is the main storyline in the film, every player on the Peaches gets just enough attention to make them worth investing in. Even drunken manager Jimmy Dugan cleans up his act after being won over by his team.
6. West Canaan Coyotes
Team: West Canaan Coyotes
Movie/TV Show: Varsity Blues
The West Canaan Coyotes are really easy to root for. The players on the team couldn’t be more different off the field, but they all share the bond of playing football and genuinely like each other. When they finally band together and overthrow coach Bud Kilmer, the audience is treated to one of the loneliest and most deservedly appropriate villain beat-downs in sports movie history.
5. Toon Squad
Team: Toon Squad
Movie/TV Show: Space Jam
Forget about Michael Jordan! Who would pass up the opportunity to play basketball with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepé Lew Pew, and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang? His Airness did his thing in Space Jam, but he was routinely upstaged by his colorful counterparts.
4. The Ducks
Team: The Ducks
Movie/TV Show: The Mighty Ducks trilogy
Everyone loves an underdog, and the Ducks are the ultimate underdogs. They were such underdogs in the first film that some of them were playing ice hockey in tennis shoes. This team is welcoming, fun loving, and, even though most of them have more heart than talent, somehow they always find a way to win in the end.
3. Cleveland Indians
Team: Cleveland Indians
Movie/TV Show: Major League
The rag-tag bunch of losers, put together by Indians owner Rachel Phelps for the sole purpose of being terrible enough to allow her to relocate the team, somehow managed to be lovable, even though none of them were particularly lovable. Sometimes two wrongs do make a right.
2. Hickory High Huskers
Team: Hickory High Huskers
Movie/TV Show: Hoosiers
Though the movie was loosely based on a real Indiana high school basketball team, the Hickory High basketball team in Hoosiers most definitely qualifies as fictional. Despite experiencing some serious upheaval early on with coach Norman Dale, the seven-man Husker squad eventually comes together for a very unlikely state championship victory.
1. Springfield Nuclear Plant Softball Team
Team: Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Softball Team
Movie/TV Show: The Simpsons
Though the ringers brought into Springfield to play for the nuclear power plant’s softball team weren’t Mr. Burns’ first choices—most of his first choices had been dead for a century—they certainly entertained during their visit. Of course, no one entertained more than Don Mattingly and his non-existent sideburns.