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Super Bowl Report

6. 'Jerry Maguire'

February 01, 2009|Mark Medina

Sifting through resumes, sports agents Gary Wichard and Leigh Steinberg can't count the exact number of prospects who say this sparked their career interest.

"Hundreds," said Wichard. "Thousands," said Steinberg.

It's been more than 12 years since the release of "Jerry Maguire," which profiled a sports agent fighting an industry depicted as valuing materialism over personal relationships. The movie was a smash hit and caught a supporting actor Academy Award for Cuba Gooding Jr. Steinberg and Wichard said sports agencies still benefit from the film's success.

"It popularized the profession," Steinberg said.

Critics found the film special for director Cameron Crowe's ability to blend two stories: Maguire's (Tom Cruise) courtship of single-mom accountant Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) and Maguire's attempt to make his relationship with his client -- loud-mouthed receiver Rod Tidwell (Gooding) -- mean more than contracts and endorsements.

Steinberg, a technical advisor for the film, remembers frequent flights where passengers pleaded for him to recite Tidwell's famous "Show me the money" line.

"It was a little over-the-top when it came out, but it's much closer to today's environment," Wichard said. "There's not an agent out there who wouldn't want to have that relationship with his client. But when the business part comes up, they forget about that."

Fans of the Arizona Cardinals today hope their long-benighted team (which stars in the film) earns some "kwan" again.

-- Mark Medina

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