In the new afterword to the paperback edition of his book , author Michael Lewis writes that the purpose of his story was to "examine the many forces—chance encounters with a family, big changes in football strategy—that affected the value of this one unlucky turned lucky boy." Lewis says the thing that impressed him was that Michael Oher, who was 6 foot 2 inches tall and 350 pounds at the age of sixteen, and ran a 4-9-40, was already considered by many to be bound for the NFL. Michael Lewis is a non-fiction author and financial journalist. He is married to former MTV news anchor Tabitha Soren.
"I am not curious," Michael told The Baltimore Sun. "I am not in a hurry to see it, but I will watch it eventually." Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason responded by saying, "He lived the life, so he is concentrating on playing football." Oher put his focus on his job in the NFL, for which he was awarded the NFL's Rookie of the Month in December 2009. Despite missing the premieres, the somewhat shy and reserved Oher has since seen the movie.
No. This was grossly exaggerated in the movie. Michael did not have to learn how to play football, and Leigh Anne never walked onto the practice field to inspire Michael by telling him to protect his team as if he was protecting their family. The film's suggestion that he needed to be taught how to play football upset the real Michael Oher, "That part right there, it really got me because it was never like that. I've always known how to play the game of football. I've always had a passion for the game. You know, it's Hollywood, so I mean that's what they do, but at the end of the day it's still a good story."
Yes. As in the movie, most people who knew Michael Oher referred to him as "Big Mike". This included the people he knew back in Hurt Village where he grew up and the people he met at Briarcrest Christian School. Like in The Blind Side movie, in real life he admitted to Leigh Anne that he hated to be called "Big Mike". -Evolution of a Game
No. The real Collins Tuohy never had to overcome taunting at school because of Michael staying with her family. "My friends were very open to Michael," Collins said. "They were very sweet to him and we all got along really well." After investigating The Blind Side true story, we discovered that the reality of Collin's support of Michael was actually much more profound than what is seen onscreen. Collins Tuohy, an honor student, rearranged her entire class schedule in order to help Michael. She dropped all of her AP (advanced placement) classes to be in Michael's English and math classes, so that she could understand what his assignments were. She spent several hours at night helping him with his homework. "That was the most studying I'd ever done in my life," Collins recalled (20/20). Collins isn't quite as timid as her onscreen counterpart and being seen with Michael at school was never an issue. She was a cheerleader and he played football, and they both were on the track team together (Huckabee).
Yes. In the movie, a distracted Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) doesn't see a landscaping truck backing out in front of him as he and S.J. are on their way to get the new Madden videogame that has just come out. The Blind Side true story reveals that the accident actually happened in icy conditions when Michael's truck skidded across the divide traveling at 25 miles per hour and crashed head-on into a big van, which was also moving at 25 miles per hour. When Leigh Anne first arrived on the scene of the accident, she approached Michael who was sobbing uncontrollably to the point she could hardly understand what he was trying to tell her. -Evolution of a Game
In real life, S.J.'s injuries looked much worse than what we see in the movie. In addition to blood being on his shirt, S.J.'s face was so severely swollen that his mother almost didn't recognize him. Surprisingly, despite the swelling, no bones were broken. -Evolution of a Game
"I don't understand why people would feel that way," the real Michael Oher said, "because as long as somebody is helping somebody and taking somebody off the streets, I don't care, you know, black or white or whatever, it should never be a problem." -20/20
Yes. Although it's not focused on in the movie, Michael Oher's basketball talent made him runner-up high school Player of the Year in Tennessee.
No. In reality, it took months after the roadside encounter before the Tuohy family welcomed Michael into their home. For months, Michael actually continued staying with Tony Henderson (aka Big Tony), the mechanic whose son also attended Briarcrest Christian School. And for months after that, at least five different families, both white and black, provided Michael with a place to stay after his coaches realized that he didn't have a home. This eventually included the Tuohy family. "He'd stay here once in a while and then he'd leave," says Sean Tuohy, "and then he seemed more comfortable to stay." (20/20) With regard to the Tuohy family, the real Michael Oher said, "When I moved in with Leigh Anne and Sean, I felt loved, like part of a family. In the other houses I didn't feel like part of the family. I didn't feel like they wanted me there." -Evolution of a Game
Yes. NCAA investigator Joyce Thompson visited the family several times, interviewing both Michael Oher and Sean Tuohy. She was particularly concerned with how Michael was going to become NCAA eligible given that his high school transcripts still contained eight Fs. She wanted to know more about the Brigham Young study program (see above question), but Michael wasn't speaking up and Sean Tuohy claimed that he didn't know the details since Michael's tutor, Sue Mitchell, had been handling it. The NCAA investigator was also interested in discovering if the Tuohy's had pressured Michael into attending their alma mater, Ole Miss, which is similar to what is depicted in the movie. -Evolution of a Game
"There were a few artistic liberties taken in that scene," the real Leigh Anne Tuohy told Mike Huckabee during a Fox News Channel interview. Unlike the rainy nighttime scene in the movie, The Blind Side true story reveals that Leigh Anne's encounter with Michael on the side of the road really happened on a cold morning during Thanksgiving break. She and her husband watched Michael get off a city bus in the snow wearing only cutoff blue jeans and a t-shirt. Like in the movie, Michael was on his way to the school gym in order to escape the weather and find warmth. In reality, Leigh Anne didn't offer Michael a place to stay immediately. Instead, their encounter on the side of the road on that snowy November morning in 2002, prompted her to pick Michael up at Briarcrest the next day and take him shopping. She couldn't ignore that he had been out in the cold in cutoff jeans and a t-shirt, the same outfit he was seen wearing every day. -Evolution of a Game
No. Michael did not get into a fight with gang members in his old neighborhood. However, after researching The Blind Side true story, we discovered that while he was in college at Ole Miss, Michael got into a fight with teammate Antonio Turner who had visited the Tuohy's home. At some point after his visit, Turner called Michael a cracker for living with a white family. Antonio also made comments to Michael suggesting that he was going to have sex with Michael's white sister and white mother (similar to the comments made by the gang member in the movie). This infuriated Michael who chased after Antonio and eventually tracked him down hiding at the study hall where the football players studied with their tutors. Michael threw the 230 pound Antonio into the ground, picked him up by the throat, beat him in the face and threw him across the room. In the process, the 3-year-old son of one of the tutors was knocked to the floor and suffered a bad head wound. The small white boy laid on the floor in a pool of his own blood. When Michael saw what had happened to the boy, he ran off. Antonio was taken to one of the coaches homes for protection. At Sean Tuohy's urging, Michael eventually turned himself in to the campus police, and Sean called his friend, well known attorney Steve Farese. Michael ended up making apologies and was given ten hours of community service. -Evolution of a Game
Regarding Michael going back to his old neighborhood to see his mom, it is stated in author Michael Lewis' book that whenever Michael Oher went back to his old neighborhood bad things often happened. For instance, on one occasion Michael arrived at his birth mother's apartment to find her being arrested. She had been driving around in a truck that had belonged to a man who turned up murdered. The police asked Michael what he was doing there and then took him into custody to central lockup. Sean had to get him out.