By Laurence Holmes-

(WSCR) I’ve taken my love for football and my love for comics and tried to combine them. In putting together the team, I tried to make it to scale with the bigger players closest to the ball. In this imaginary world, I wanted to try to resemble how an NFL team would pick starters. You may agree, you may not.  Either way, have a little fun and tweak my list or create your own. The player/coach/executive that inspired the superhero/villain I placed in the position is in parentheses.

Team Marvel

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Owner: Stark Industries

C.O.O: Pepper Potts. There will be no embarrassing moments with Ms. Potts in charge. You can bet that the contracts will be correct and all trades will be checked and double-checked. She is not only this team’s face, but also the team’s heart and soul. Team Marvel will also have a very strong philanthropic arm.

GM: Nick Fury (Mickey Loomis). Can you imagine a player trying to explain to Fury why they’re holding out? Bad move. His threats have teeth. Expert strategist and recruiter. Always gets the big free-agent. A no-nonsense leader who has the respect of all in his charge. All NFL teams have a security guy to take care of things… Fury has S.H.I.E.L.D. There will be no shenanigans…

Head Coach: Professor Charles Xavier (Tony Dungy). A calming influence over the locker room. He rarely raises his voice or seems rattled. A creative play-caller and has the “Uncanny” ability to know what his players are thinking. Enjoys taking on “project” players with baggage. Believes in using football to rehabilitate broken souls.

Offensive Coordinator: Magneto (Sean Payton). Team Marvel’s philosophy: attack, attack, attack. Magneto is an aggressive coordinator. He is a meticulous planner and a stern teacher. This team drills everyday and you better not complain about the length of practice or how big the playbook is. Magneto has a complicated relationship with coach Xavier. They have philosophical differences that lead to some intense conversation. They also have an ongoing chess game. Magneto matches Xavier in strategic proficiency and could easily being coaching his own team… if he could keep his temper in check.

Defensive Coordinator: Victor Von Doom (Gunther Cunningham). Half-genius/Half-insane. He’s been through hell to get to where he is and he won’t stop until he runs the entire planet…um…league. He roams the sidelines scaring opponents. Rants and raves and no one can tell what he’s thinking behind that mask, but it’s probably mayhem. He runs a blitz-heavy scheme. Opponents hate to see team Marvel on the schedule. His defensive is so deadly that they’ve started calling him “Dr. Doom”.

Team Marvel’s Offense

Left Tackle: Sue Richards (Jake Long). At first glance she doesn’t seem to fit, but look a little deeper. She has maternal instincts, which put her protective skills off the chart. Oh and she has force fields. A perfect candidate to protect the blind side.

Left Guard: The Thing (Steve Hutchinson). It makes sense to keep Richards and Grimm working together as a tandem. He is hard-working and difficult to move. Fantastic in pass protection. Even better in the run game. The lines heart and soul who breaks the huddle on big plays w/ the phrase: “It’s Clobberin’ Time!”

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Center: Beast (Maurkice Pouncey) Team Marvel believes in having smaller athletic linemen. Beast has great dexterity and athleticism. Uses speed, power and leverage to get the job done. An extension of coach Xavier on the field. Makes all the line calls. High motor and high character, but plays with a mean streak.

Right Guard: Sasquatch (Leonard Davis). Big and Mean and actually has an NFL pedigree (actually played for the Packers in a former life). He never gets tired and has some fierce battles with The Hulk in practice (hint hint).

Right Tackle: Colossus (Michael Oher). Language was initially a barrier when Pitor Rasputin joined the team, but he quickly adapted. He’s got great size and strength. Hard as steel. Nice guy and trusted teammate. Off the field, he’s a humanitarian. Protective instincts are off the charts. Puts his team first, plays hard, but never plays dirty.

WR: Human Torch (Roddy White). He’s a little high on himself, but he’s effective. Will sometimes deviate from the game-plan, but usually with good results. His off the field life takes away focus from the game. His sister (Sue) often has to keep in line in the huddle. Picks up celebration penalties because he tells opposing DBs “you just got torched…” Always playing practical jokes on The Thing.

WR: Reed Richards (Calvin Johnson/Wes Welker). He catches everything thrown his way. He’ll stretch and contort his body in ways that other players only dream of. Head for the game, coach on the field type who works relentlessly in the film room trying to get better. One of the smartest guys in the league. Gray hair lulls opponents into false sense of security. Destined to be a coach someday. Commands tremendous respect, not afraid of tough assignments. Works good combination routes with Torch.

WR: Iron Man (Andre Johnson) Has everything you need to be the best wideout in the game. Takes losing hard. Blames himself if things go wrong. Reads defenses better than anyone. Knows how to target the soft spots in the zone. Serious competitor, but fun in the locker room and at team functions. Physical and gets off of every jam DB throw at him. Matches wits with Doom everyday in practice. Arrogant, but high opinion of self is deserved. Relentless worker with production to match.

TE: She-Hulk (Rob Gronkowski). She’s a grunt with talent. Big target at 6’7, 650 lbs. Not afraid to go over the middle and loves delivering hits instead of taking them. Reliable in the red zone. Mostly plays in control, but has it in her to play with fury. Is a problem matchup for everyone in practice.

RB: Wolverine (Adrian Peterson). He runs low to the ground. Almost impossible to tackle. Defenders bounce off of him. Always finishes runs. Has a passion for the game unlike any other. Doesn’t take plays off. Would be happy to carry the ball 45 times a game. Never gets hurt. EVER! Wants the ball in big situations. Signed as a free-agent because he trusts coach Xavier. Loves a good joke, but is all business once he puts his uniform on. The centerpiece of the offense and reluctant captain. Controls the locker room. If anyone has beef…you’ll see his claws!

QB: Spider-Man (Mike Vick): He’s flashy and fun. Video game agility. Is sudden in his movements. Quick release when he throws the ball. Incredibly accurate. Tries to keep the huddle light. Knows where the rush is coming from and has the ability to turn a potential 10 yard sack into a 50 yard run. Seems to have a keen “sense” of when defenders are close. In explaining his elusiveness says he gets a “tingle” when play breaks down. Go to guy for the media. Press conferences are always a must see. Favorite of the President. Perrenial MVP candidate.

Tomorrow we will delve into Team Marvel’s defense. They’re running a 4-3. Feel free to share your thoughts or team with me on Twitter (@LHolmes670).

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Superhero Football Team, Part I: DC Comics’ Defense
Superhero Football Team, Part II: DC Comics’ Offense