There is one scene in the film where a brick is thrown through Coach Boone's window. In real life it was an old toilet that was thrown, but film makers thought this would add humor to the serious situation.
The midnight run taken by the players while at camp would have taken them a long time to complete as the places they pass are not only all over the 28,000 acre Berry College campus, but are as much as 60 miles away in Chickamauga National Park.
The film is made more accessible to non-fans of the sport of football by careful music editing - whenever the Titans complete a key play or turn the game in their favor, the music changes to upbeat rock.
In real life, Coach Bill Yoast has four daughters: Bonnie, Angela, Sheryl, and Deidre. Unlike in the film, all four daughters lived with their mother, Betty Yoast, after their parents divorced. Bonnie was in college, Angela went to a different high school, and Deidre was only 3-years-old in 1971, but Sheryl attended most of the games and other events with her father, so the filmmakers thought it would be distracting to depict the other three girls. While Bill Yoast was not happy about that, the sisters were fine with it and rather enjoyed the movie.
Tourists often went to the real T.C. Williams High School after the movie was released, according to Sports Illustrated, and were very surprised that the real school does not look like the one in the movie. The movie was not filmed in Alexandria; it was filmed in various locations in Georgia.
After Boaz Yakin was hired to direct the movie, producer Jerry Bruckheimer learned that Yakin did not know anything about American football. He then arranged for Yakin to attend a football camp, and the director picked up enough information in two weeks to resume full-speed work afterward.
The school used for T.C. Williams is Druid Hills High School, in DeKalb County, Georgia. The school has no stadium though, so the football games were filmed at Berry College and at other High Schools in the Atlanta area including Paulding County High School.
The Perry High School marching band from Perry, Georgia portrayed the marching band of TC Williams HS. Perry was chosen because their uniforms were of the same colors as those of TC Williams HS. All of the band music in the film is actually played by them, and as thanks for their participation in the film, they were given a semi-truck trailer.
As part of the director's efforts at authenticity, two of the referees in the film - E.Y. Coley and B. Keith Harmon, who played the crooked referee - are actual officials with the Atlanta Area Football Officials Association.
The football camp that the players go to was filmed at Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. Berry has never had a football team (save intermural flag football). The quadrangle of buildings in which the players stayed are really girl's dormitories. Many students can be seen in the background of these shots as classes were in session during filming.
In the film, Denzel Washington's character speaks about the Civil War and its importance for race relations. Washington previously acted as a Civil War soldier in Glory (1989), a film about the 54th Massachusetts, the first all-black regiment in the American Army.
In real life, Coach Bill Yoast and his wife, Betty Yoast, bore four daughters instead of just one. His daughters are: Bonnie Jean Yoast Jeffries, Angela "Angie" Mildred Yoast Garrison, Sheryl Elizabeth Yoast Matthews (who was portrayed by Hayden Panettiere in this film), and Deidre "Dee Dee" Louise Yoast Fox. Bonnie was born on January 17th, 1951, and died on November 10th, 2003. She is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia. She is survived by three daughters and six grandchildren. Angela was born in 1956 and lives in Springfield, Virginia with her husband and children. Sheryl was born on February 5th, 1962, and died on May 4th, 1996 from a heart malfunction. She is buried close to her oldest sister Bonnie in the same cemetery. She is survived by her husband and their only child. Deidre was born in 1968 and also lives in Springfield, Virginia with her husband and children. In total, Bill and Betty Yoast have seven grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren.
In the movie the character of Dr. Day is portrayed as the school board chairman. In fact while Dr. Day was the first African-American to serve on Alexandria School Board and was on the Board in the year George Washington and Hammond High were reorganized to achieve integration in the schools, the actual school board chairman at the time was Norman Schrott.
The real Sheryl Yoast unfortunately led a relatively short life, passing away from an undetected heart condition in 1996 at the age of 34. Sheryl had been a major supporter of her father's coaching efforts, though by her father's own account she was not as rabid of a football fan as the film depicts. However, because of the relationship that she had with her father, her hearty interest in sports in general, and her untimely death before this film was produced, her three sisters had no problem with Sheryl being portrayed as an only child while they were omitted from the film.
Victory Stadium, where the actual championship game was played was demolished in July 2006. In the 1970s Victory Stadium was the home field for Jefferson, Patrick Henry, William Fleming, Addison & Roanoke Catholic High Schools.
According to Coach Herman Boone in an article published by ESPN, he really did integrate the buses before they left for football camp. Boone said "I forced them on each other, I forced them to learn each other's culture. I forced them to be a part of each other's lives."
The song "Titan's Spirit" from this film's soundtrack is an instrumental medley mainly taken from the film's score during moments when Coach Herman Boone gave inspirational speeches. The song has been used as themes for numerous sporting events. The New York Yankees played the song when they received their rings for the 2009 World Series Championship and the New York Mets played the song in a commemorative event to close out their longtime home, Shea Stadium. As of 2015, it has been played on at least one of the United States' broadcasts of the Olympic Games for every Olympics since the film was released. The song was also used during the 2008 Democratic National Convention to accompany the celebration and fireworks at Invesco Field after future president Barack Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech, and was also used immediately following his victory speech upon winning the 2008 Presidential Election.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Gerry Bertier was injured in an automobile accident and paralyzed for the rest of his life from the waist down. However, this did not happen until after the 1971 regular football season was already over; he played in all 13 games. It was also not, as depicted, due to being hit by another car: Bertier lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a utility pole; the cause was determined to be mechanical failure in the engine's motor mount. Following his surgery, many other teammates besides Julius Campbell also used the pretense of being immediate family to see him in the hospital.