Rodgers eyewitness to ‘Rudy’

The movie “Rudy’’ is about the life of an average everyday kid overcoming big odds to play football at Notre Dame.

It was a big hit in the theatres in 1993 and ends with Rudy (Daniel Ruettiger) sacking the quarterback in a 1975 game against Georgia Tech.

Oh, and by the way, the coach of that Yellow Jackets team was none other than Pepper Rodgers.

“During the game and when it ended, we didn’t know what was going on; we didn’t know who Rudy was,’’ said Rodgers. “Then we started hearing about who Rudy was, and of course, the movie came out. I think what bothered me about the movie was they referred to me as the other coach. They never used my name.’’

Rodgers is no stranger to movies. He played the sheriff in the 1974 cult hit “The Trial of Billy Jack’’ and was himself in the hit “The Blind Side’’ in 2009. Rodgers also is married to former actress Janet Lake, who was a star in such TV series as “77 Sunset Strip’’ and “Maverick.’’

Actually, the way “Rudy’’ ended wasn’t quite how the real play happened. In the movie, Rudy is shown beating his blocker at the line and sacking Tech quarterback Rudy Allen by himself. On the real play, which has been viewed almost three million times on YouTube and called by the great Don Criqui, Rudy is not blocked at the line and cuts in front of the fullback and joins two other defenders to sack Allen.

It was the last play of the game, the Irish won 24-3 and Criqui never even mentioned Rudy on the sack.

“You call that artistic license, but I did enjoy the movie,’’ Rodgers said.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X