You've wept over Rudy. You've cheered over Rudy. You've been had by Rudy?!
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana did not allege that last one on the radio this morning, but he did suggest that the beloved sports biopic was very much a movie.
As in not real.
In an interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Montana was asked about Rudy Ruettiger, the namesake of the 1993 football flick about an undersized kid whose big dreams of playing for Notre Dame come true one autumn afternoon when he gets in a game, gets a sack, gets carried off the field by admiring teammates, and gets the stadium rocking to "Ru-dy!…Ru-dy!…Ru-dy!"
"It's a movie remember," said Montana, who played at Notre Dame during the Ruettiger era, as it were, adding with a laugh. "Not all that's true.
"The crowd wasn't chanting...And then the guys carried him off kinda playing around. I won't say it was a joke, but it was playing around."
So, had any dreams crushed lately?
Actually, if you'd been paying attention (and not just blubbering every time the Sean Astin movie is on cable), you'd know that Rudy never called itself a documentary. Even Ruettiger, now an in-demand motivational speaker, bills himself as "the inspiration behind the movie"—"inspiration" in Hollywood being a perfectly legitimate license to take dramatic license.
As far back as the movie's initial release, the filmmakers were up front about how they tweaked Ruettiger's story. They told the New York Times they created the character of the big, bad older brother; and invented the scene where Notre Dame players refuse to suit up until Ruettiger suits up.
What they didn't make up, and as Montana himself attested to today, were the basic facts that Ruettiger got in a game, got a sack and got carried off the field.
Now as to the exact motivation of the Ruettiger teammates who carried him off the field?
We reached out to Ruettiger to see what he thinks of Montana's "playing around" assertion. His staff referred us to his website's FAQ, which touches on what was real, and what wasn't, in Rudy, but, sorry, doesn't say whether the on-field salute was heartfelt.
No matter. The movie one was. And that's what always gets Rudy fans heading for the Kleenex.