Burt Reynolds is disgraced former pro football quarterback Paul Crewe who is sent to prison on a short-term sentence after a drunken night to remember.
The prison is run by Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert), a football nut who spies an opportunity to utilise Crewe’s ability at the sport to enhance the prison guards team skills.
After initially declining to help, Crewe is swayed (under threat of a longer prison sentence when he is provoked into assaulting a guard) into coaching the Warden’s team and putting together a team of inmates to take on the guards in a one-off match.
The preparations for the match and the match itself take up the second half of the movie, with Crewe getting his convict players to check out the guards’ x-rays and medical reports for details of easy to break bones and other weaknesses, and using sex and bribery to obtain information.
Released in some markets as The Mean Machine.