Ah, February is upon us and, with it, the Super Bowl. This is always a love/hate time for sports fans. True, the single most viewed sporting even in the United States is here but, as all championships, it signals the end of the NFL season. While the NBA is in full bloom and college basketball is in the middle of the conference season, nothing save maybe March Madness is greeted with such pomp and circumstance as Super Bowl Sunday. Fantasy Football has drawn to a close but what’s to say us geeks can’t have our own version of fantasy football, Marvel style? Using only the live-action movies from the past decade or so, I’ve created an all-star list of Marvel characters and where I envision them were they to suit up and take their talents to the gridiron.
While I tried to maintain a unique position for all characters, many possessed the skills to play multiple positions and I’ve tabbed them as such.
Marvel Super Bowl Fantasy Squad
Quarterback: Captain America
Is there even a doubt? Mr. All America himself with his blonde locks and natural leadership is a no-brainer for the most important position on the field. Couple that with the fact he hurls a mean shield slash, is the most selfless of heroes, Steve Rogers is my number one pick in leading a team to victory.
Running back: Wolverine
He’s agile, fast, has the killer instinct, a low center of gravity and hitting him is like ramming a slab of unbreakable metal (literally). Yes, our friendly neighborhood Canadian would be one of the first guys I’d want lining up behind me as QB. Add to the aforementioned traits, Wolverine’s heightened senses would be a terrific boon for those cutback opportunities and blitz pickups.
Full Back: Juggernaut
Ridiculously powered down for the sake of movies, Juggy still has that ability of once his momentum gets going, he’s impossible to stop. While he’d be text book as a RB in the style of Larry Csonka, I’d much rather watch him bury linebackers as sixty-five inches of angry Canadian follows him through the hole. To keep him appeased, throw him a bone every now and then with a full back dive. Why? Because he’s the Juggernaut, bitch!
Tight End: Thor, Beast
At 6’8”, the god of thunder is the prototypical TE target. Fearless, he’ll go across the middle without worry of getting blown up by a safety. Decidedly less powerful but more agile, Beast is a perfect compliment to Thor on the opposite end of the line. His run after catch ability and his intelligence at diagnosing a defense’s tendencies would be matched by few.
Wide Receivers: Mr. Fantastic, Johnny Storm, Gambit, Banshee
A receiver who can catch a ball 10 yards over his head or out of bounds without ever leaving the ground? That’s Reed Richards for you. Mr. Fantastic’s flexibility would give him a leg (and arm) up on the competition. Running the streaks would be Reed’s brother-in-law, the Human Torch. Who’s really going to try and tackle a living fireball? Throw in Banshee as the second home run threat based on his own flight abilities and that’s quite the tandem. Want a run after catch threat? Monsieur LeBeau in at slot where quickness and agility are key, and this is a WR core I’d put up against anyone.
OL/DL: Hulk, Colossus, Thing
Yes, these monstrosities will be used as both the offensive and defensive lines. You have the prototypical road grader Guards in the Hulk (‘Pull right, Destroy accordingly’) who would also excel at Nose Tackle. Try stopping this behemoth from getting through the line…good luck. With his solid but lankier build and long arms, Colossus is primo material as an Offensive tackle and Defensive end, using both power and finesse to attack or defend the QB. Though he’s not in Reed Richards’ stratosphere of smart, the fact that Ben Grimm can pilot a freaking spaceship leaves him as the de facto Center of this bunch. Line him up next to the Hulk as a defensive tackle (the three-technique shading the outside shoulder of the guard) and we have one helluva wrecking crew on both lines.
Linebackers: Havoc, Thor, Loki
So, we have the god of thunder (who also doubles as our TE), his trickster brother, and a mutant that can harness the sun into a venomous concussive blast. It goes without saying that Thor would be the SAM, lining up on the strong side of the offensive formation. Lithe and agile, Loki would be the weakside ‘backer, chasing plays down from behind. Some of his magical tricks would come in handy as well, especially when he’s dropping back into coverage. For plays coming down the gut, the RB better watch out for Havoc’s chest blasts. While it could be shaken off by a veritable juggernaut, most runners would be stopped in their tracks.
Defensive Backs: Night Crawler, Azazel, Multiple Man
This is an almost unfair defensive backfield. The corner slot will be manned by Jamie Madrox and his duplicates while the father/son team will be the safeties. Safeties that can teleport? It’s almost unfair to the passing game. Talk about erasing big plays, Night Crawler and Azazel would make a legendary safety tandem.
Imagine trying to catch a punt from her as gale force winds bandy about. Not the easiest of jobs. Add to that her ability to throw out a bit of lightning and I wouldn’t want to be the punt returner.
Kicker: Jean Grey
With her telekinetic abilities, the former Marvel Girl could play quite a few positions on the field but if the game’s on the line and you need the football to split the uprights, who better than someone who can give it a little ‘nudge’ if necessary?
Punt/Kick Returner: Spider-Man, Daredevil
Speed? Check. Agility? Check. The uncanny ability to ‘feel’ the hit and avoid at the last second? Check. Good old Spidey would be quite the handful to tackle anywhere, especially as a gunner trying to bring him down on the kicking team. No doubt he’d offer some especially witty retorts for those unfortunates snagging cobwebs where Spidey used to be. And who better to be a returner than the man without fear. Like Spider-Man, Daredevil’s ability to avoid being hit due to his ‘radar’, like Spider-Man’s ‘tinglies’, would be the bane of kick coverage teams everywhere.
Head Coach: Professor X
Yes, baldie is a genius who can read your mind. Communicating with his coordinators and team offers quite the distinctive advantage over the poor saps on the other sideline.
Offensive Coordinator: Magneto
Let’s face it, Erik Lensherr has his own bit of genius going on and his aggressive style would be perfect for our offense. Magneto has the knack of analyzing his opponents’ weaknesses and would give no quarter, attacking until his enemy has been defeated.
Defensive Coordinator: Tony Stark
This is a team full of geniuses. Though War Machine and some of Iron Man’s own gadgetry showcases Tony’s offensive smarts, his defensive ingenuity would work very well for this squad.
Bonus: Half Time Show
Halftime Show: Ghost Rider, Pyro, Ice Man
Instead of some old school band or pop singer with a malfunctioning wardrobe, how about some fire and ice for a halftime display? Riding a motorcycle with flaming wheels over a bridge of ice while a dragon made of fire flies behind the Ghost Rider.
Granted, quite a few of the Marvel elite have been left off the list but that’s how these things go. So, what are your thoughts? Who would you add to the list?