Burt Reynolds was supposed to have a stunt double for when he got hit by Brian Bosworth on a touchdown run, but Reynolds insisted on doing it himself, saying "I got one run left in me." Bosworth himself was honored by the whole situation, saying "Who else can say they got run over by Burt Reynolds?" Reynolds went through the hit in one take with no injuries, though he had to be helped off the field.
Michael Papajohn who plays Guard Papajohn, was Adam Sandler's stuntman in The Waterboy (1998), making the hard hits as Bobby Boucher. In The Longest Yard, things came full circle as Michael has his own stuntman.
Five of the six members of the rap group D12 made cameo appearances as convicts playing basketball. The missing sixth member is Marshall Mathers who is referenced when Paul is referred to as "Slim Shady".
The movie was filmed in a closed down part of the New Mexico State Penitentary called "Old Main". It was this part of the prison where one of the worst prison riots in U.S. history occurred on 2 February 1980. The state offers the building for rent for film purposes.
Crewe mentions a "tune-up" game in which he states "In college, we'd start every season against Appalachian State or some slack Division II team. Kick the living shit out of them." Two years after this movie was released, Appalachian State went on to win 3 National Championships in a row in Division IAA as well as defeating then number 5-ranked Michigan in a "tune-up" game.
Michael Irvin played a practical joke on Bill Romanowski while filming a scene in the locker room. Irvin replaced the fake, collapsible locker door that Romanowski head butts with a real, solid locker door. This can be seen as an outtake on the DVD.
When Meggett "runs" out of his shoes in his first practice, the camera pans over to Caretaker and Coach Nate Scarborough, and a convict approaches to get a better look. The convict is former University of Texas running back Ricky Williams.
Adam Sandler's character was supposed to have played college football for Florida State University and Pro football for Pittsburgh. Burt Reynolds, who starred in both films, was an All-American running back at Florida State and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
While he was on the set, Chris Berman was asked if he could come up with unique nicknames for the movie's stars, since he was known for doing so with NFL players during highlights on ESPN. Berman came up with Adam "Love Letters In The" Sandler, Chris "Like A" Rock, and "Woah" Nelly ("Woah, Nelly!" was a signature call of college football broadcaster Keith Jackson). When asked to do Burt Reynolds, Berman promptly refused, saying, "I can't do one for Burt Reynolds. He's Burt Reynolds."
Chris Berman's play call of "Look at that little Meggett run!" is a reference to a famous NFL Monday Night Football (1970) incident. Howard Cosell's original call of "Look at that little monkey run!" in describing Washington Redskin Alvin Garrett sparked a controversy and accusations of racism because Garrett was black. Berman even tries to imitate Cosell's voice on the call. Berman also used this line and voice on ESPN when describing the play of former New York Giants running back Dave Meggett.
While many of the inmates are seen with long hair and/or facial hair, in reality the Texas Department of Criminal Justice requires inmates to be clean shaven and their hair "trimmed from the back of the hair and necks," essentially ensuring everyone is bald and beardless. Smoking has also been strictly forbidden in Texas prisons since 1994.
Brian Bosworth jersey number was 44, which was his college football number. He wasn't allowed to wear it in the NFL, and even unsuccessfully sued the NFL to let him wear it (he wore #55 instead as a member of the Seahawks).
The song "Saturday Night Special" by Lynyrd Skynyrd appears at the start of both the original and the remake. Also, as in both the original and the remake, Crewe is watching a football game right before the argument with his girlfriend. Unlike the original, Crewe does not strike his girlfriend, he merely locks her in the closet.
The original 1974 film was solely released by Paramount. Columbia's involvement in the remake came because Adam Sandler was to be the film's star. Columbia has released most of Sandler's films since 2000.
Filming of the football game occured during El Camino College's fall semester. As a result, the stadium set stayed up during El Camino's home football games. Some of the extras in the crowd during the stadium scene are El Camino College students.
When Knauer is escorting Crewe through the prison yard, he mentions he played college football at the U of Miami, and mentions that none of the inmates are former teammates, but some of the guards are.
In the late 80's there was a brief rivalry between the U of Miami and Notre Dame, and is was billed as "Catholics vs. Convicts"
During the final play of the first half, as the Mean Machine keeps doing laterals, Chris Berman at one point cries out, "Shades of Cal-Stanford!" Berman is referring to The Play between California and Stanford in 1982, when California did several laterals on the last play of the game to win the game over Stanford.
While sharing a drink, Caretaker (Chris Rock) tells Crewe (Adam Sandler)''When I get outta here, I don't want you to go all Hollywood on us...''which is ironic since Chris Rock's and Adam Sandler's next project together was Grown Ups (2010) where Sandler's character is nicknamed Hollywood.
The scene where Bob Sapp clotheslines Steve Austin's character and makes him shit himself is changed in the version shown on TV. In that version the line "I think he just shit himself!" is changed to "I think I broke his freaking neck!" With Bob Sapp having a different reaction/celebration when the doctor confirms that he broke his neck.
In the scene where Capt. Knauer (William Fichtner) is escorting Crewe to the Warden's office, he mentions playing for the University of Miami, one of the top collegiate football programs in the nation. Michael Irvin, who plays Deacon Moss, played football for the University of Miami as a wide receiver from 1984-87 winning the National Championship in 1987 among setting other school records.
After Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler) comes back in after having betrayed his teammates the O-line doesn't block the guards. On the second sack, guard Lambert (Bill Romanowski) spits on Crewe as he's getting off of him. In real life Romanowski, an NFL linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders from 1988 to 2003, (at the time a Bronco) spit in the face of 49ers' WR J.J. Stokes.
This is not the first time that Adam Sandler has played a character that has insulted someone by calling them "Colonel Sanders." In "The Waterboy", Adam Sandlers character calls one of his professors that after he is insulted.
This film features numerous actors who have appeared in films with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Michael Papajohn appeared in 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines' (2003), Ed Lauter appeared in 'Raw Deal' (1986), Terry Crews appeared in 'The 6th Day' (2000), 'The Expendables' (2010), 'Expendables 2' (2012) and 'Expendables 3' (2014), Steve Austin appeared in 'The Expendables' (2010) and James Cromwell appeared in 'Eraser' (1996).
Among the Guards are Brian Bosworth and Bill Romanowski, who in real life, were both very polarizing, controversial figures in the NFL. Bosworth, aka "The Boz", was known more for his over-the-top, flamboyant lifestyle and questionable fashion sense than his talent on the field, and after only three years in the NFL, was labeled a draft bust. Bill Romanowski is widely regarded as one of the dirtiest players in NFL history. Both players were infamous for alleged steroid use.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Shortly before Caretakers funeral, Unger is talking to the guards and it seems like he calls the guard "Boss". However, if you listen closely, he actually says "Boz". The guard he is talking to us played by Brian "The Boz" Bosworth.