NFL quarterbacks and passing offenses are reaching numbers never before seen in the history of the sport. Through seven weeks of the season, offenses are averaging a record 251 passing yards per game, obliterating the record set just last year. Nearly every passing record leaguewide will be history after this season with over one-third of the league’s quarterbacks on pace for 4,000 yard seasons. Aaron Rodgers has a 125 QB Rating and 71% completion rate at the moment. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are on pace to not just surpass, but shatter Dan Marino’s single season yardage record.
With the otherworldly passing numbers NFL quarterbacks are posting so far in the 2011 season, the only way to truly put their heroics into proper perspective is by comparing them to their actual superhero doppelganger (or supervillain as the case may be). So, I teamed up with the amazing Blythe Brumleve of the award-winning site GuysGirl, as someone who knows her football and her comic book characters to create this totally awesome list. Below are our choices for which superhero your NFL quarterback may be…
Patriots: Tom Brady – Captain America
Hot dogs. Apple pie. The Fourth of July. Tom Brady. America. (God, I’m sounding like Skip Bayless.) Whatever you think of Brady, his hair, or his wretched dancing, he’s the most successful quarterback of our generation, a multi-Super Bowl winner, and he’s married to a supermodel. What could be more American than that? As Captain America has reached the pinnacle of human capabilities, so has Tom Brady.
Bills: Ryan Fitzpatrick – Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon went to Yale, Fitzpatrick to Harvard. Sorry to any true hardcore Ivy Leaguers out there that may take offense to comparing these two. Much like Ryan Fitzpatrick and his Ivy League background, Flash Gordon is pretty much a normal guy. No leaping over buildings. No X-ray vision. No super healing. All Flash is missing is Fitzy’s awesome superpowered beard.
Jets: Mark Sanchez – Human Torch
Known as “the pretty ladies man” in the Fantastic Four movies, it should come as no surprise that he fits the bill for Jets QB Mark Sanchez. While Human Torch and his powers are somewhat questionable flying solo, when he has a powerful team surrounding him, there really is no stopping him. Also helps that Johnny Strong, Human Torch’s day-light persona, has also wanted to try his hand at acting. No one would be surprised if Sanchez made that parlay after his football days are done.
Dolphins: Matt Moore – Aquaman
I’ll let the following clip explain…
Yea, Aquaman is about as useless as any Dolphins QB not named Dan Marino… or Andrew Luck.
Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger – The Hulk
Being that the Hulk is an emotional, impulsive hero that was the result of an experiment gone terribly wrong by Dr. Bruce Banner, the correlation between Big Ben and The Hulk is simple. Hulk is a rampaging, humanoid monster that has led to major issues in Banner’s life. Ben has this. After reading that description of Hulk, it’s hard NOT to place him as the Roethlisberger equivalent.
Ravens: Joe Flacco – Changeling
Changeling is your classic shape-shifting comic book character. Joe Flacco also shape-shifts, constantly changing back and forth between a great quarterback, a terrible quarterback, a decent quarterback, and a mediocre quarterback. You never quite know what you’re getting from Joe Flacco on any given Sunday… or Monday, as this week’s game in Jacksonville showed.
Browns: Colt McCoy – Kick-Ass
Just the picture of a teenage looking Colt McCoy donning his uniform every Sunday in the NFL reminds us of Kick Ass donning his superhero outfit in so many ways. McCoy isn’t the most physically imposing quarterback, nor is Kick Ass the most physically imposing superhero. But, in spite of going up against much stronger, fiercer oppostition, they always show up for a fight.
Bengals: Andy Dalton – Hellboy
We tried to think of a gingered superhero, and Hellboy certainly fits the criteria. Then, there’s also the idea that that playing in Cincinnati for Mike Brown is about the closest one can get to a hellacious life in the NFL. Even when the Bengals have a winning record…
Chargers: Philip Rivers – The Punisher
Both men have a reputation for being able to deal with pain. While Rivers might not be the badass or antihero The Punisher is, who can forget him playing in the 2008 AFC Championship Game with a knee that was hanging by a thread? (Insert Jay Cutler joke here… more on him in a bit.)
Raiders: Kyle Boller (Carson Palmer) – Meg
In Family Guy, when a truck of radioactive material crashes in the front yard of the Griffin home, everyone seems to get some pretty cool super powers. Except Meg. Her super power is extremely fast growing finger nails. Just like the character Meg and her “super powers,” Kyle Boller is likely to be forgotten once Carson Palmer, or any other QB on the Raiders roster is given the starting job. Then again, the way Carson Palmer played in Sunday’s shutout, he may receive the mantle of Meg as well…
Broncos: Tim Tebow – Batman
This may be our most controversial selection. Batman is one of the most popular, powerful, successful superheroes of all-time. But let’s get real, Batman does his thing through mainly smoke and mirrors – especially the campy 1960s Adam West version. He just happens to have the right gadget for the right time without any real powers to back it up. Seriously, shark repellent? Who carries around shark repellent?
You can make the argument that Tebow’s success in the NFL will only be possible with something as ludicrously convenient as shark repellent. But, keep in mind Batman is still immensely popular and an extreme force for good, even in the most recent Dark Knight reincarnation. No matter what you think of Tim Tebow, he always fights for good – regardless of whether people see him as a hero or a villain.
Chiefs: Matt Cassel – Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel? Huh? Not exactly a household name these days, but there’s a reason – he’s basically a very early ripoff of Superman. In fact, after a popular run at the top of the industry in the 40s, Captain Marvel met his end when a lawsuit was filed claiming that many of his feats and storylines were copyrighted by Superman. Matt Cassel, hope you enjoyed your own time at the top.
Texans: Matt Schaub – Mint Berry Crunch
For the past few years, ESPN has been treating the Texans and Matt Schaub as their little darlings who are just BOUND to secure the AFC South and go on to do wonders in the playoffs. Schaub, while maybe good enough to possibly get you into the playoffs, is not the key guy to get you through to the promised land. Just like Mint Berry Crunch learns when the superheroes in Southpark meet up to talk strategy. Sooner or later, Schaub and the Texans will come to Cartman’s reality….
Titans: Matt Hasselbeck – Powdered Toast Man
One of your first questions to yourself is probably “Who the hell is Powered Toast Man and why on earth is Matt Hasselbeck considered his super hero equivalent?” First of all, shame on you for not watching Ren & Stimpy as a youth. Second of all, allow Wikipedia to explain….
“Powdered Toast Man possesses traditional superpowers, is a melodramatic and oblivious superhero of sorts and spokesperson for Powdered Toast, the breakfast treat that “tastes just like sawdust”. Oddly, Powdered Toast doesn’t taste right unless Powdered Toast Man farts on it before it is consumed.”
If farted powdered toast doesn’t sound like the 2011 Titans with Hasselbeck at the reins, please tell me how.
Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert – Superboy
Blaine Gabbert just turned 22 a couple weeks ago and already he’s been assigned the task of saving the Jaguars franchise. Gabbert is tasked as the strong arm to compete with one of the faces of the league, Peyton Manning, in the AFC South. It’s not an easy task for Superboy to take him on, but the talent is there and the hope of what he can become has an entire city holding its breath.
Colts: Curtis Painter – IceMan
Imagine being the backup to one of the best players to ever play the game of football. Curtis Painter needs ice in his veins to deal with all the negative criticism and trying to step in to manage Peyton’s team. Iceman has always been a team player, he just doesn’t have any skills to be the main man. Unfortunately for Colts fans, he’s turned Indy’s offense ice cold too as they have plummeted to being one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Eagles: Michael Vick – Spiderman
Michael Vick has a combination of athleticism and star power that can only be matched by Mr. Spidey Sense himself. There are certain plays (especially behind Philly’s craptastic line) where only Vick can escape with that spider sense. Vick may be the closest thing to a real life quarterbacking superhero just based on his physical attributes. Although, the comparison loses some context because I don’t think there’s any prison time for dogfighting on Spiderman’s resume.
Cowboys: Tony Romo – Cyclops
In the history of X-Men, Cyclops is one of the feature guys. No one really knows why and what could come off surprising is that most fans actually think Cyclops is incredibly lame and whiny. So sure, Romo and Cyclops could help their team out at some points, but can you ever really trust the vision of either of these two?!
Giants: Eli Manning – Robin
Ah yes, the classic little brother of superheroes, Robin. Every Batman needs his Robin and Eli Manning fits that second banana role perfectly – in his city and his family. Although he still has his moments (let’s not forget Eli did beat an undefeated New England team in the Super Bowl), he’s never going to quite measure up to his more fancied compadre. In Eli’s case, that’s big brother Peyton or Mark Sanchez of the Jets. If Robin were to hold a press conference today, I’m sure it may look something like this too…
Redskins: Rex Grossman – Two Face
I’m thinking Rex Grossman flips a coin every time he plays a game in the NFL to decide whether we get Good Rex or Bad Rex. After starting out so well in Washington, he then threw 4 INTs in one game and was benched for John Beck. John. Beck. Welcome back, Bad Rex, it had been way too long.
Packers: Aaron Rodgers – Superman
He plays for the game’s most storied franchise, he has the Championship ring AND belt, makes all the right decisions, and can seemingly do anything he desires. How could anyone else be chosen as Superman other than Mr. Aaron Rodgers?
Lions: Matthew Stafford – Cable
Cable was “born with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, however, the extent to which he has been able to utilize these powers have varied dramatically throughout his appearances. Originally both were limited by his need to restrain his techno-organic infection and his powers were negligible compared to his more traditional fighting skills.” In other words, Cable’s powers are only as good as his ability to stay healthy. That, my friends, is Matthew friggin Stafford in a nutshell.
Bears: Jay Cutler – Penguin
Have you ever hated someone or wanted to punch them in the face for absolutely no reason at all? That is Jay Cutler and even as a “villain” in the NFL, he still doesn’t get that villain respect much like The Penguin is seen as a second class badguy in the Batman series. The Penguin is also known to keep beautiful women around him to remind others of his monetary power or to compensate for his own grotesqueness. Somewhere Kristin Cavallari is thanking the heavens that she didn’t marry Cutler, but can still reap the benefits of being seen with him.
Vikings: Donovan McNabb – Fake Batman
Oh Donovan. You were the starter for the Vikings before last Sunday. Now that Christian Ponder has taken over the job, we have to find a way to commemorate your Minnesota career. It only makes McNabb’s super hero equivalent all the more fitting as he has been given the title of Fake Vegas Batman.
Yes, the same Fake Vegas Batman who got his behind kicked on the strip earlier this year by a drunk guy. That’s what Donovan McNabb’s career has become…
Seahawks: Charlie Whitehurst/Tavaris Jackson – Phoenix Jones
Ah, Phoenix Jones. The Seattle based fake superhero reminds us of two fake quarterbacks that just happen to also ply their trade in the city. Any chance Pete Carroll actually gives Phoenix Jones a call? I hear he’s available…
Cardinals: Kevin Kolb – The Drizzle
For those who are unaware of the hilarious cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Master Shake is a character in the cartoon who turns himself into a “superhero” dubbed The Drizzle. Much like Kolb leaving the Eagles for a “perfect fit” in Arizona, Master Shake tries to enhance the powers of The Drizzle by dousing himself with toxic waste, getting a new costume, and doing everything in his power to establish himself. Here’s hoping that Kolb doesn’t turn into The Puddle like The Drizzle did.
Rams: Sam Bradford – Hawkeye
If only Sam Bradford went to Iowa, this would be perfect. (And yes, hopefully Ricky Stanzi is somewhere cursing us that Tom Brady stole his Captain America moniker.) However, we’ll settle for Hawkeye because of his ability with his trick arrows. Bradford’s passing specs are in the upper echelon of NFL QBs already too. Check what Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye in the upcoming Avengers movie, had to say about his abilities…
“He’s the only one who can really take down The Hulk with his tranq tip arrows. He knows his limitations. But when it comes down to it, there has to be a sense of confidence in any superhero.”
Bradford knows his limits too even with his supreme abilities. Too bad for him, his limits are the other 52 Rams on gameday.
49ers: Alex Smith – Jonah Hex
After the past few seasons, Alex Smith was left for dead when considered as a starter for an NFL team in the near future. Did Alex care? Absolutely not. Smith didn’t worry about his grotesque past and how that reflects his future much like Jonah Hex. Hex is characterized as having a bad reputation and terribly scarred face from episodes in his past, but Hex doesn’t let that affect him as he upholds the honor to protect and avenge the innocent.
Saints: Drew Brees – Ironman
Brees’ comeback from a devastating shoulder injury led to his remarkable Super Bowl winning career in New Orleans. Ironman’s origins result from a life-threatening injury to Tony Stark. It’s too easy sometimes! Brees and Tony Stark are similarly adept in the public life and in their professions. Ironman’s popularity increase and megasuccess in the box office the last few years has mirrored Brees as well.
Falcons: Matt Ryan – Green Lantern
Matty Ice is your prototypical “gamer” QB who the media loves to fawn over with his will to win. Ryan is supremely talented, but he’s also developed a rep as someone that can will his teams to victory, as silly as it sounds to some. It seems the greater Ryan’s “willpower,” the greater the success for his teams. It’s like he has his own Green Lantern power ring. No telling if it’ll help him keep bullies like Ndamukong Suh away though.
Bucs: Josh Freeman – Thor
Josh Freeman is a beast and one of the underrated QBs in the NFL. It’s no coincidence Tampa Bay’s turnaround has coincided with his growth as an NFL quarterback. His physical tools alone make this comparison an apt one, and he even has his own magic hammer with LaGarrette Blount as the NFL’s Mjolnir.
Panthers: Cam Newton – Wolverine
“I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice” – Wolverine
Doesn’t that summarize Cam Newton’s love him/hate him public persona? Wolverine is the total package as a superhero, and so is Cam Newton as an NFL quarterback. Even though both have had various run-ins with authority, there’s no questioning their physical capabilities. With the passing explosion in the NFL this season, it’s amazing to believe Newton is already amongst Brady, Brees, and Rodgers as the NFL’s top passers in just his rookie season.
Blythe Brumleve is the founder of the award winning GuysGirl.com.