You might not think football fans and comic book fans have a lot in common. Hopefully, that’s not true, or the rest of this blog is going to be pretty pointless.
As a member of both groups, I have noticed a few similarities. We both can get way too worked up about things that don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. And we really enjoy speculating about questions to which we may never get answers.
For example, who was the better quarterback, Johnny Unitas or Peyton Manning? Who would win in a fight, Wolverine or Deathstroke? How would Terry Bradshaw’s Pittsburgh Steelers match up against Troy Aikman’s Dallas Cowboys? Guardians of the Galaxy or Legion of Super Heroes?
With that in mind, and because it’s football season, I and Jordan Lowe, writer of “Shortpants Romance” and “Stuck,” have assembled our picks for a Marvel-vs.-DC football game.
I took the Marvel squad, while Jordan served as the GM for DC. We didn’t share our lineups with each other until they were complete, so our teams weren’t reacting to one another.
We’ll start with the Marvel defense and the DC offense, so readers can envision the match-ups. The next installment will feature the opposite squads.
And now for the Distinguished Competition: your DC Universe All-Stars! (by Jordan Lowe)
Booster Gold. Can you list any other comic character where being a STAR QUARTERBACK is part of his origin story? Booster’s got the experience and the swagger. He loves the limelight and is a pro at handling the media. Plus, he’s a time traveler. So if things don’t go his way, he might just slip backwards a couple quarters and ensure a better outcome for his squad.
Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet? More powerful than a locomotive? Able to leap tall defensive lines in a single bound? Yeah, this All-American out of Smallville, Kansas, is the guy I want to hand the ball to in the red zone with the game on the line.
Cyborg. Backing up Supes would be the former Teen Titan and current Justice Leaguer, Vic Stone. He’s tough. He’s durable. He’s adaptable. And if anyone can read a defense and formulate the most efficient path to take up the field in a nanosecond’s time, it would be this walking computer processor.
Flash. The Fastest Man Alive would be an unstoppable offensive force. He would also be our kick returner, the first in history to go a full season without calling for a fair catch. Able to step around any attempted tackle before his opponent’s synapses even fire, he can also vibrate through solid matter, so special teams could most likely win the ballgame singlehandedly without the offense ever needing to step on the field.
Power Girl. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure which version of her origin is canon at the moment. But it doesn’t matter, because in every one she’s a lightning-fast powerhouse who could outrun, outmaneuver and outmatch anyone the defense throws at her. The most difficult part would be convincing her not to cut an oval out of the front of her jersey.
Wonder Woman. NOT a juvenile wisecrack about her famous star-spangled backside. A tight end has to be tough enough to stand their ground and throw a block, as well as graceful enough to make catches in heavy traffic. Toughness and grace are every Amazon’s inheritance, and Diana has more of both than any superhero alive.
Apache Chief. This size-changing Super Friend would be a perfect center. When he chants the magic words “hut! hut! inukchuk!” before every snap, he’ll grow ten times his normal height and more than capable of protecting his quarterback in the pocket for as long as he needs. Plus there’s the added benefit of the inclusion of such a nuanced and non-cliché minority character smoothing over any of the league’s other culturally insensitive portrayals of Native Americans.
Shazam, Black Adam, Green Lantern and Sinestro. A volatile mixture, to be sure, but these polar opposites would give the O-Line just the hot-blooded energy it needs to succeed. Tackles Shazam and Black Adam are equally up to the task of stopping any blitz dead in its tracks. The man formerly known as Captain Marvel will protect the blindside and his anti-hero counterpart will call down the lightning from the other end. And who better to be guards than two men chosen by the Guardians themselves? Green Lantern and Sinestro, whose rings are capable of throwing up an impenetrable barrier around their quarterback, each possess the willpower necessary to push forward to that next first down.
Beast Boy. A game with this many heavy hitters won’t come down to field position from a well-placed punt or a last-second field goal, but the DC squad needs somebody with a strong leg just in case. Beast Boy can transform himself into any animal, so knocking the ball through the uprights with the power of a big green mule or kangaroo just might make all the difference.
They may not strap on a helmet and pads, but plenty of other people are vital to the success of team DC. Head coach Batman is a master tactician with no qualms about playing dirty to win. Swamp Thing, head groundskeeper, makes sure the field is pristine and replaces all the divots. Referee Two-Face keeps things fair, flipping a mean pre-game coin. Zatanna leads the cheerleaders on the sidelines in a rousing chant of “O-G M-A-E-T!” And if there’s room on the team bus, we’ll even let Aquaman participate. Every team needs a waterboy.
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MARVEL: (by Evan again) Guiding this team I feel like I have to call the Beta Ray Bills from the sidelines will be head coach Captain America, a master strategist and leader of men (and women).
As he has in protecting Wakanda from invaders, the Black Panther will utilize his intellect and determination to coordinate the defensive effort to keep DC out of the end zone. He’ll be assisted in translating this knowledge to football by associate head coach and much-reviled marketing tool Phil Grayfield, aka NFL Superpro.
Cannonball. Sam Guthrie’s power will give him plenty of burst off the line, allowing him to drive back a lineman or knock a couple aside en route to the opposing quarterback.
Sentry. With the power of a million exploding suns, this mentally unbalanced would-be hero can knock linemen back or just zip around them at super speed en route to the QB.
Hulk. It’ll take more than one offensive lineman to slow down the Green Goliath, and it may take all of them – and then some – once he gets angry enough.
Sasquatch. Walter Langkowski is a big, powerful dude who can engage multiple offensive linemen to free up other rushers. He also played for the Green Bay Packers before acquiring his hirsute alter ego, so he brings some gridiron experience to this crew.
Starhawk. Anchoring the defense in the middle is this member of the future Guardians of the Galaxy with near-unlimited power. His ability to move at lightspeed allows him to cover any part of the field. He also has a form of precognition (actually memories from living multiple lives), so he could give his teammates an idea of what the offense may do next. He’ll be flanked by…
Blue Marvel and Captain Marvel. Major strength and speed are needed for these linebackers to stop runners and help out in pass coverage. The Blue Marvel’s got that and then some, with the ability to stabilize and control anti-matter. Meanwhile, Carol Danvers is super strong, can fly at Mach 3 and is able to absorb and redirect energy. She’ll dish out plenty of punishment.
Quicksilver and Speed Demon. Marvel’s surliest speedster, Pietro Maximoff will be tasked with keeping up with the fastest receiver on the opposing team and may occasionally be sent to blitz the quarterback. Speed Demon, a villainous Flash analogue, will be needed if another speedster is out catching passes for DC. If not, he can run the occasional blitz or help Quicksilver double team the opponent’s most potent weapon.
Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man. Physically a bit of a weak link, Wanda’s out here to help ensure that even if her 10 teammates can’t shut down the opposition, the best-laid plans of Batman’s squad still go awry with her probability-altering powers. For purposes of this competition, we’ll assume the other team scoring is enough of a danger to activate Peter Parker’s spider sense. That will help him be in the right place at the right time to use his superhuman strength and agility to tackle opposing ball carriers.
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Let us know what you think. Which picks do you agree with? Who would you have chosen? Who has the edge in this match-up? Tomorrow we’ll bring in the Marvel offense and DC defense, then you can weigh in on who you think would win.