7 NFL Talents and Their Comic Book Counterparts

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7 NFL Talents and Their Comic Book Counterparts

NFL
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Professional athletes are like real-life superheroes.

They have ungodly strength, blinding speed and over whelming power – skill sets that couldn’t possibly belong to mortal human beings. They have superhuman reaction times, trained to make split-second judgments in the highest pressure situations while the entire world watches their every move.

We emulate them, don their colors and logos so we can feel as invincible as we believe them to be. In return, they give us hope. We wholeheartedly pray for them to succeed because they fight for our side – the good side – and when they triumph, so do we.

Conversely, they can also inspire hatred, as some athletes take on a villainous role in our lives. They seek to spoil the rightful destiny of our teams, our players, our heroes and they must be vanquished so justice can rule the realm of sports.

As unstoppable as they may seem they also have weaknesses. They are shockingly vulnerable at times and we can only keep the faith that they can return to their former glory.

They face overwhelming adversity and must work as a team towards a united goal. What is an all-star game but a contest of superhero alliances?

National Football League players in particular take on these larger than life personas.

Cam Newton, for instance, pretends to be Clark Kent turning into Superman after he scores a touchdown. But it’s not just their celebrations that evoke the heroism of comic book figures. It’s how they play, how they get the job done, how they uphold their responsibilities on the field of battle.

These are seven NFL talents and their comic book counterparts.

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Chris Johnson — The Flash

Johnson
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Flash has the power to run at light speeds. There have been numerous comic book characters all referred to as the Flash, which is fitting because there are also various NFL players who are deserving of the moniker.

But there is one who stands out above the rest. With a 40-yard dash time of 4.2 seconds, the fastest ever recorded at the NFL combine, Chris Johnson is the Flash.

If only he played for the Kansas City Chiefs, then he’d have the uniform colors and everything.

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Adrian Peterson — The Juggernaut

AD
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Juggernaut is physically unstoppable once he’s in motion. In other words, he is Adrian Peterson.

Peterson plows through offensive lines, runs over would-be tacklers and stiff-arms defensive backs to the ground. A year after tearing his ACL and his MCL he rushed for 2,097 yards – eight short of Eric Dickerson’s single-season record. His combination of speed and power truly embodies the word: unstoppable.

Another characteristic of the Juggernaut is he never gets tired from physical activity. Neither does Peterson, hence his nickname, "AD" – short for “All Day.”

The only way to stop this man is by removing his helmet – Juggernaut because he’s vulnerable to mental attacks, Peterson because the play will be whistled dead.

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Peyton Manning — Captain America

Manning
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Captain America is a super soldier. He’s a physical specimen and brilliant tactician who commands his troops on the field of battle.

Peyton Manning is not like Captain America in a physical sense; he’s like Captain America as a leader. As a quarterback, he directs his players brilliantly, reading the defense and organizing his troops by signaling audibles. He gives his side the greatest possible chance at victory.

They are also similar in that neither of them have any vices. Captain America is incorruptible. Manning, too, is highly virtuous, probably the closest of anyone on this list to being a true hero. He just did a USO tour and constantly works to help his community. They even named a children’s hospital after him in Indianapolis.

He is without question one of the most likeable players in the league. The only mild controversy he’s ever been a part of is where he was going to play after the Indianapolis Colts committed to Andrew Luck.

Captain America may be dead but Peyton Manning is alive and well, and embodies him on and off the gridiron.

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Bill Belichick — Dr. Doom

Belichick
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Not everyone in the NFL can be a good guy.

Dr. Doom is an evil genius who can replicate the abilities of other individuals.

Bill Belichik is a football genius – his success with the New England Patriots has left zero doubt about that – and there is no question that he and the Patriots are evil. They are villains in the NFL, despised by just about every team in the league.

Belichik can also replicate the talents of his players. No more Wes Welker? Enter Danny Amendola.

Of all the comic book villains, Dr. Doom has appeared the most often. Fittingly, Belichick is the longest tenured coach in the NFL and has led the Patriots to the playoffs in 10 of his 13 years in New England. He’s tied for second all-time in Superbowl appearances with five, as well as in wins, with three.

Much like Dr. Doom, he will not go away and he must be defeated.

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Marshawn Lynch — Beast

Lynch
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This one is obvious. Beast has superhuman physical strength and agility.

Marshawn Lynch is well-known for going into, “Beast mode,” a physical and mental state during which it is physically impossible to bring him down. He breaks off titanic runs with the ability to go around defenders or through them.

What is more, Beast’s alter ego, Hank McCoy, has a genius intellect despite his brutish appearance. Lynch scored a 42 on the Wonderlic test. The average score for a halfback is 16. It’s no wonder he went to the University of California, Berkeley.

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Robert Griffin III — Wolverine

RGIII
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Griffin III may wear Superman socks, but his superhero alter ego is Wolverine.

Wolverine has three blades in each hand – they were given to him on an operating table – but his superpower is his ability to heal. Similarly, Robert Griffin III went under the knife and proved he has a mutant ability to come back from injury.

On January 6, RGIII tore his ACL and LCL, requiring total reconstructive surgery. Yet, nine months later, he hasn’t missed a game. His orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, called the recovery “superhuman.”

Superhuman or superhero? RGIII seems to be the latter.

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Roger Goodell — Judge Dredd

Goodell
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Judge Dredd is a fascist super-cop with the capability to convict, sentence and execute criminals at the scene of the crime.

In the dystopian society that is the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to handing out justice. Goodell can suspend or fine a player for conduct on and off the field. But if the player appeals the decision, Goodell hears the appeal. He has total control over the players’ fates.

Goodell cannot kill anyone like Judge Dredd can, but he can murder their bank accounts (like he just did with Ndamukong Suh) and their seasons (like he did with Sean Peyton and the New Orleans Saints).

Goodell is an antihero if there ever was one.


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