Four Letter Nerd

Comparing Marvel to the NFL

It’s that time of year folks!!! I am not going to quantify that with a “best time” or “worst time” because that is dependent on who you are. For guys like me, football season is the best time of the sports calendar, bar none. For non football fans, however, the oversaturation and “spirit” of this season can be a bit much (especially the wives and girlfriends who feel they will be sharing their man with another).

With that in mind, I (with the help of the fellas here at 4LN) have put together a list comparing two of our (well some of us, that is) favorite things: the NFL and Marvel superheroes. Here are several popular (and unpopular) NFL personalities and their Marvel hero (or villain) counterpart.

Russell Wilson/Spider-Man

Super Bowl Winner Russell Wilson is young, athletic, and due for a 2nd reboot in the next two years. Well that last part’s not true. But much like Peter Parker, Wilson stayed very busy during his college years: starting at quarterback for two different teams, playing minor league baseball, and earning a degree all at the same time. But considering how much Wilson is getting paid, I’d say he has a better agent than Mr. Parker.

Peyton Manning/Captain America


Who else in the NFL embodies downhome American values like Mr. Manning? Both men also share strong leadership qualities with Captain America leading the Avengers while Peyton is the unquestioned leader of the offensive huddle (sometimes more so than his coach). One difference is Peyton has a much better comedic sense about him than Mr. Rogers does, as exhibited by this video from SNL (better quality might be available at Hulu):

Marshawn Lynch/ The Hulk

Both men shy away from social situations. Lynch has set records for the number of fines he’s received for not attending mandatory press conferences (yes, the NFL requires their players to speak to the media), while the Hulk (or more accurately Bruce Banner) skips away to secluded foreign locals every chance he gets. But both men show superhuman strength when they get going: the Hulk when he’s angry and Lynch when he gets momentum beyond the line of scrimmage. Here’s a few examples of Mr. Lynch in action on the field (the first one producded a reaction on the seismograph):

Clay Matthews/Thor

This one is the most obvious of them all. No, Clay Matthews doesn’t walk around with a hammer that only he can wield. But the physical appearance (especially the hair) makes these two a clear match. I also want to dedicate this section, the one with her favorite superhero and football player, to my lovely wife, Megan. My strong resemblance to Thor is the main reason why she is with me ;).

Richard Sherman/Iron Man

Much like Tony Stark, Richard Sherman is a genius. He was Salutatorian in high school with a 4.2 GPA and is currently working towards a master at Stanford (which is, you know, a fairly prestigious university). Both men also share a propensity towards a sarcastic wit. Not everyone is a fan of these two, but no one can question their value to their respective teams.

Seattle Seahawks/Guardians of the Galaxy

The Seattle Seahawks have been a franchise in the NFL since 1974. The Guardians first appeared in a comic book in 1969. Until recently, neither one of these entities drew interest from anyone outside of a few devoted fans. Now, after a couple of Super Bowl Appearances and $774 million dollars made at the theaters, everybody (and I mean everyone!!!) is suddenly a fan. The amount of Seahawk gear I see people strutting around wearing in the Nashville area (a team 2395 miles away) is very strong evidence of this.

New England Patriots/Hydra

The longer a team is successful, the more people get tired of that team. That is why the Patriots take the spot of the hated Hydra from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve been a contender since 2002 with four super bowl championships since that time and six appearances total in the big game. They also have a reputation for manipulating the system to get their way, including illegally spying on the opposition and deflating footballs (yes, this is supposed to give you an advantage). And much like Hydra (who reemerged in Winter Soldier), you think they’re defeated, only to have them appear years later and take another championship (it was 10 years between titles for the Pats when they one last year’s title).

Bill Belichuk/Red Skull

And who else could be the equal of Captain America’s archrival other than the fearless leader of the Patriots himself. Belichick is condescending at press conferences, his game attire is atrocious, and he thinks his way is better than your way. And for a bonus, he’s been a thorn in the side of the NFL’s Captain America (Mr. Manning) throughout his career.

Tom Brady/The Punisher

I put Brady here because of the polarizing figure that he is. Much like the Punisher, he’s a tweener. Frank Castle usually fights for good, but not everyone agrees with the methods he uses. Despite the hatred for his coach and team, Brady still keeps a modest amount of popularity. And though many have their opinions of Brady soured by the “deflategate” scandal, the hatred for his opponent in that farce that was that trial garners him some sympathy.

Rob Gronkowski/Juggernaut

Not the most well known character of the marvel universe, but I do not think there is a better comparison to Gronk than the mutant with superhuman strength. You definitely want to get out of the way when both men get a full head of steam. Here’s an example of one of Gronk’s catch and runs and the strength involved as explained by ESPN’s Sports Science:

Aaron Rodgers/Cyclops

As long as he’s wearing his visor, Cyclops has the ability to control the beams of light that come from his eyes. Rogers has a similar ability with his arm as one of the NFL’s most accurate passers. Both men are also leaders of their respective teams.

Eli Manning/Hawkeye

Hawkeye’s reputation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a mixed bag. On one hand, he spent most of the first Avengers movie working for Loki, causing a lot of damage against the good guys. But then in Avengers 2, Hawkeye was one of the heroes, keeping his head the entire movie and having the most balanced personal life of all the Avengers.

Manning as a similar mixed reputation. During the regular season, Manning routinely throws to the men wearing the wrong jersey. But he also has two Super Bowl rings and really nice 8-3 playoff record to go with it.

JJ Watt/Drax the Destroyer

Two insanely strong and athletic specimens, Drax and JJ are like a pair of twins separated at birth. The only difference is one of them (JJ) developed a hilarious personality on his way to stardom while Drax sense of humor is more like Belichick. Here’s a little sample of JJ showing his Draxness at a Zac Brown Band concert:

Tony Romo/Loki

Somehow, one of the most anticipated super hero movies of all time ended up with Loki as the main bad guy. No offense to Thor’s brother (or Tom Hiddleston, who owns the role), but was he really the best choice for a villain that would require all the members of the Avengers  to come together for the first time? I guess they had to start somewhere. And Loki had his moment shining in the spotlight before being relegated back to the list of villains who’ve been defeated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That brings us to Mr. Romo. The man somehow found his way to quarterbacking “America’s team.” And he has his moments (especially in the regular season). But come playoff time, Romo’s teams inevitably step aside to better, more fearsome foes.

Oakland Raiders/Fantastic Four

Both of these franchises have rabid fan bases. Both have a lot of history and prestige that go with their names. But the recent results for both teams have just been awful.

Tim Tebow/Quiksilver

If you haven’t seen Avengers 2, skip over this entry to the next one. I know the man is always trying to make a comeback. But that predictably went nowhere. All we are likely to have from Tebow is his one small run of late season heroics in 2011 (like this playoff win against Pittsburgh):

But Tebow only started in one more game following this dramatic finish (a loss the next week to New England). Much like Tebow, Quiksilver was a flash in the pan for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Appearing in Avengers 2 (after a post credit scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier), Quiksilver joined the battle to defeat Ultron and sacrificed his life to save Hawkeye.


Roger Goodell/Thanos

The often criticized commissioner of the NFL may have more power than any CEO/President of any organization in the country. Whether it be his tepid response to domestic violence committed by NFL players or his inconsistent punishments for wrongdoings (Ray Rice initially received 2 games for knocking his then fiancé out on an elevator while other players receive 4 games for taking the wrong “over the counter” supplement), Goodell may be the most disliked pro sports commissioner. But much like Thanos, he is all powerful. When a player appeals his suspension, guess who hears the appeal? The Commish (“hmm…should I stick with my original thoughts on the subject? Yes, I think I will”). And just like defeating Thanos will require all of the MCU, it’s going to take the entire NFL teaming up to end the reign of Roger Goodell.



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Jeff Merrick

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