Is My All American Movie a True Story? What's Real vs. Fake

By David Thompson Posted:
Finn Wittrock in My All American

My All American tells the remarkable story of college football player Freddie Steinmark, but how much of the movie is real or fake?

After relating in theaters back in 2015, My All American is currently trending on Netflix, leading to speculation about how accurate the story truly is.

The film covers the life of Steinmark (played by actor Finn Wittrock), a determined football player awarded a scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin who overcomes tremendous adversity in the late 1960s.

Did Freddie Steinmark Play for the University of Texas?

Finn Wittrock as Freddie Steinmark in My All American
My All American

Freddie not only played for Texas but was an exceptional player, earning an All-Southwest Conference nod playing safety in 1969.

Remarkably, he started as a sophomore and junior - an uncommon feat at the University of Texas. 

He was the defensive signal caller, contributing significantly to the team's success with a 20-1-1 record in his two years as a starter. He even played a key role in securing the 1969 national and Southwest Conference championships, leading the team with five interceptions in 1968.

Was Freddie Steinmark's Leg Amputated?

Tragically, his promising football career was cut short when his leg was amputated, preventing him from starting as a senior.

Steinmark was remarkably tough, playing through knee pain during his college career which was later revealed to be cancer.

Following X-rays, Steinmark received a devastating diagnosis of a malignant osteogenic sarcoma - a bone tumor located just above his left knee. 

Subsequently, on December 12, 1969, he underwent a life-changing amputation at the hip. Although this marked the conclusion of his football career, 20 days later, he stood on the sidelines with his team, witnessing Texas's victory over Notre Dame in the 1970 Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year's Day.

Did President Richard Nixon Truly Watch Him Play?

During the acclaimed "Game of the Century" on December 6, 1969, President Richard Nixon and Congressman George H.W. Bush witnessed Freddie Steinmark's performance against the University of Arkansas.

Despite the impending amputation of his leg six days later, Steinmark played through pain, aiding his team in overcoming a 14-0 deficit after three quarters to secure a 15-14 victory against the Razorbacks.

In addition, Steinmark's battle against cancer served as inspiration for the United States Congress to draft the National Cancer Act of 1971, subsequently signed into law by President Richard Nixon. This pivotal legislation marked the commencement of the "War on Cancer."

These kinds of historical ramifications make it more clear why books and a film like My All American were produced.

Was Freddie Steinmark Only Recruited to Texas?

Freddie Steinmark, an undersized 5-foot 9-inch player, faced a lack of recruitment from major college football programs. 

However, University of Texas coach Darrell Royal took notice after watching Steinmark's film, offering him a chance based on his skill and determination, emphasizing that size was not a barrier to success.

Aaron Eckhart plays Texas coach Darrell Royal, who gave Steinmark a chance in 1968. Royal was also a former undersized player himself at the University of Oklahoma, paving the way for Steinmark's short-lived, yet miraculous playing career.

Was Freddie Steinmark's Girlfriend Real?

As told in the film, Freddie Steinmark and Linda Wheeler, his girlfriend since eighth grade, attended the University of Texas together. 

Although not depicted in the movie, Freddie temporarily ended their relationship due to fears of his impending death, but they reunited a few months later in the fall.

As Freddie's health deteriorated and he underwent painful chemotherapy for lung cancer, he proposed to Linda around Christmas, and they planned to marry on May 23, 1971. However, the wedding was called off as Freddie slipped into a coma, and he passed away on June 6, 1971.

My All American is now streaming on Netflix.

- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.