A romantic comedy set against the backdrop of America's nascent pro-football league in 1925. Dodge Connolly, a charming, brash football hero, is determined to guide his team from bar brawls to packed stadiums. But after the players lose their sponsor and the entire league faces certain collapse, Dodge convinces a college football star to join his ragtag ranks. The captain hopes his latest move will help the struggling sport finally capture the country's attention. Welcome to the team Carter Rutherford, America's favorite son. A golden-boy war hero who single-handedly forced multiple German soldiers to surrender in WWI, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed on the field. This new champ is almost too good to be true, and Lexie Littleton aims to prove that's the case. A cub journalist playing in the big leagues, Lexie is a spitfire newswoman who suspects there are holes in Carter's war story. But while she digs, the two teammates start to become serious off-field rivals for her fickle affections. As the new game of pro-football becomes less like the freewheeling sport he knew and loved, Dodge must both fight to keep his guys together and to get the girl of his dreams. Finding that love and football have a surprisingly similar playbook, however, he has one maneuver he will save just for the fourth quarter...
In 1925, an enterprising pro football player convinces America's too-good-to-be-true college football hero to play for his team and keep the league from going under.
- Clooney plays Dodge Connolly, captain of a struggling professional American Football team during the 1920s, the Duluth Bulldogs. Dodge is determined to save both his team and pro football in general when the players lose their sponsor and the league is on the brink of collapse. He convinces a college football star, Carter "the Bullet" Rutherford, to join the Bulldogs, hoping to capitalize on Carter's fame as a decorated hero of the First World War (like Alvin York, he singlehandedly captured a large group of German soldiers).
In addition to his legendary tales of combat heroism, Carter has dashing good looks and unparalleled speed and skill on the field. As a result of his presence, both the Bulldogs and pro football in general begin to prosper.
Zellweger provides a romantic interest as Chicago newspaper reporter Lexie Littleton, who becomes the object of the affections of both Dodge and Carter. One knows but the other doesn't that Lexie has been assigned to find proof that Carter's war heroics are bogus. Indeed, Carter confesses that the surrender of the Germans was a lucky accident and in no way heroic.
Meanwhile, Dodge's attempts to legitimize pro football start to backfire, as rules are formalized, taking away much of the improvisational antics that made the game fun for many of its players.
With his own playing career near an end, Dodge gets to play in one last big game. This time it will be against Carter, who has changed sides to the Chicago team. Their rivalry for Lexie's affection spills over onto the football field for one last day.