Predictably, everyone is talking football this weekend as we move toward the showdown between the Panthers and the Broncos in the Super Bowl. But a cinephile’s mind never fully abandons its obsession. So the question I’ve taken upon myself to answer is: Would it be possible to create a football team comprised entirely of fictional football playing characters who could compete in an NFL championship matchup? I decided to limit myself to just 32 picks (one draft round) and only characters from completely fictional films (most non-fictional characters are based on people still alive who could likely kick my ass so, no thanks). There have been a ton of mostly bad fictional football movies, so there exists a large talent pool for me to choose from, but can I really believe that a team of fictional characters could beat a Super Bowl talent organization? Well…
Let’s get started!
Pick #32: Ray Finkle – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Scouts are a little iffy on this pick, given that no one has seen Finkle in a very long time and I’m not sure if we can trust NFL GMs to call the right name at the podium. Not to mention, Finkle has a history of not handling his shortcomings very well and blaming his teammates for his failures. But every team needs a wildcard, a man willing to go to extreme lengths for victory, and sometimes it’s best to roll the dice on the kicker position.
Pick #31: Paul Blake – Necessary Roughness
No use in dancing around it. Paul Blake is too freaking old. He didn’t even get his college start for the Texas State University Armadillos until he was 34. Unless this aging QB finds a way to leap through time into another body, then he is already past the end of his prime. But, putting Blake in as a placeholder certainly adds a nice narrative element, a SportsCenter special segment to gin up public approval, and his maturity and experience might be a good grounding element for some of the younger teammates.
Pick #30: Jake Berman – Little Giants
Jake doesn’t look like much. Okay, Jake isn’t much. Maybe 40 pounds at his snottiest. But that is exactly what makes him a weapon. He is completely nonthreatening in appearance but has a history of coming through huge in the clutch during trick plays like, The Annexation of Puerto Rico that sent the Little Cowboys a-packin’.
Pick #29: Bud – Air Bud: Golden Receiver
Bud has some of the same issues as earlier draftees. A bit of a wild card, doesn’t possess the physique expected of his position, and is already on the backside of his athletic peak (the mathematics of dog years dictate that Golden Retrievers usually enjoy 53 day careers). But how can we leave this pick on the board? Who can even bring themselves to tackle this adorable creature, let alone cheer against him? One catch from Air Bud and our team will get a boost from the crowd like no one has ever seen.
Pick #28: Bobby Boucher – The Waterboy
This Louisiana-grown talent isn’t going to make it through the first quarter. With today’s softened, concussion-conscious rules, Boucher is getting booted the minute he leaves his feet to dropkick a factor back, but if we play our cards right, we can turn his ejection into the acquisition of a high quality H20 specialist on the bench.
Pick #27: Joe Kane – The Program
Less than half a dozen picks into the draft and we’re already on a second quarterback, and really, neither of them are that good. But, given that we’re stacking the other side of our roster with criminals and maniacs, it’s probably best we pack a few extra in the shotgun seat. And, at the very least, Heisman letdown Kane is… Able. Good lord, what a weak slogan.
Pick #26: Stefan Djordovic – All the Right Moves
On that point, maybe we should dilute our defensive criminality with a little All American, a young man who has a history of standing for his principles and fighting uphill for everything he earns. And, if his height deficiency and wee arms hinder his performance, then his scientological insanity and stunt-ready athleticism could go a long way in shutting down his man.
Pick #25: Harold Lamb – The Freshman
This young man hasn’t picked up a football in about… ohh… nine decades, but he has three powerfully convincing factors working in his favor: 1.) Only a badass would play with no face-bar at all, and 2.) He’ll give his all in exchange for a little acceptance, and 3.) My man can take a hit or 30. (I expect none of you to get these references.)
Pick #24: Jonathan “Mox” Moxon – Varsity Blues
I’m only drafting Mox so I can sit him on the bench where he has always belonged. Movie quarterbacks are the worst, and Mox is the worst movie quarterback. Whiny, melodramatic, self-absorbed, making it totally worth it to spend one of our team’s picks to put him back on the third, fourth, maybe seventh string.
Pick #23: Lance Harbor – Varsity Blues
Gotta drive the point home by picking Lance higher than Mox. We’re correcting the history that a foot injury made wrong. Plus, Lance will be the perfect team representative on our jumbo-tron.
Pick #22: Junior Floyd – Little Giants
A lot of skeptics want to trumpet their belief that the young, golden boy quarterback has yet to participate in any competition of consequence, but I posit that these suckers weren’t paying attention to the great teen magazine showdown of ’90s, in which our blossoming star went toe-to-toe with Jonathan Taylor Thomas for the record of most Tiger Beat covers. I say we let Junior air out some toilet paper for the haters to wipe their tears.
Pick #21: Lucy Draper – Necessary Roughness
I’m not going to refuse any credit I get for this liberal-minded draft pick. “The first organization to select a female player in a pro-level American football draft” is a distinction I’d be proud to hold. But I’m also too honest to pretend that this pick has anything to do with progressivism. Or football. Or anything other than the fact that Lucy Draper is played by pre-K-mart Kathy Ireland. I chose this pick for the same reason that way too many people decided to watch this garbage movie in 1991. Because Kathy Ireland in a crop top is Kathy Ireland in a crop top.
Pick #20: Charlie Tweeder – Varsity Blues
The most joyfully spirited West Canaan team member, wideout Charlie Tweeder seems completely oblivious to all on-the-field and off-the-field drama. He’s got more than a little Manziel in him but doesn’t play a position where that sort of undeniable wild impulse hinders an assumed sense of leadership. When our team wins this big game, we are going to want to throw a party, so we are going to need someone to plan it, starting at half time.
Pick #19: Jumbo Fumiko – The Replacements
One thing that frustrated me about The Replacements: the scriptwriters had no reservations about projecting upon Fumiko every single Asian stereotype that currently plagues Hollywood (broken English, sumo wrestling, Asian chef, etc.) but didn’t have the courage to add one single number to his Jersey for a cheap 69 chuckle. Fumiko is a great protector and, if he’s willing to accept the +1 signing condition, he’s got a spot on our team.
Pick #18: Johnny Utah – Point Break
There isn’t much concrete evidence that Utah is a great quarterback, but, depending upon where our game is played, we may be heading into inclement, extreme weather, so we’ll need someone who is both extreme and handsome in the rain. I don’t just want to win. I want to look whoa-good doing it.
Pick #17: Darnell Jefferson – The Program
In the film Moneyball, the antiquated scouts present a theory that the beauty of a player’s girlfriend is directly reflective of that player’s confidence. I don’t know if that’s true, but Darnell is dating Halle Berry. He’s a freshman stud, an assured tailback on a major contender Division I school. He’s reliable, at times, where the Heisman candidate is not. He’s gifted, intelligent, and his ceiling is immeasurable.
Pick #16: Becky “Icebox” O’Shea – Little Giants
You know how movie quarterbacks are always saying “put the women and children to bed?” Well, not when I run the team, pals! In fact, young Becky O’Shea might have a word or two for any fool who might want to offer that creed to our squad, especially if his name happens to be Spike. God help any fool dumb enough to offer that sentiment in the presence of the Icebox, whose genetic lineage combines the best of football influence and nerd-level smarts. A thoroughbred winner, through and through.
Pick #15: Billy Bob – Varsity Blues
Though the actor famously dropped the weight after the film’s release, Billy Bob weighed in at 505 pounds when Varsity Blues first hit theaters. If we can keep him out of concussion’s way for four quarters (or at least keep him out of reach of Will Smith’s overly-curious eyes), that sort of mass can create quite a useful wall in the O-line, and that sweet pickup can carry half the team and our trophy back to the party when the celebration begins.
Pick #14: Earl Megget – The Longest Yard
Pick #13: Paul Crewe – The Longest Yard
Nelly is a shockingly good athlete. Remember the MTV Rock n’ Jock performances and the NBA celebrity games? His highlights in The Longest Yard stand out as maybe the best the film has to offer (what a tight spin move!). And if he really can’t contribute on the field, then he can at least offer up a freelance song in the pre-game huddle, before we go down down, baby, through the tunnel and into the introductions.
This was a tough call. Two Paul Crewe’s were eligible for our draft, and both of similar (criminal) backgrounds. But I think I’ll draft the one that possesses the handsomer chest hair and lacks the history of point shaving.
Pick #12 – Forrest Gump – Forrest Gump
Team psychologists suggest that Gump may have a difficult time keeping himself motivated and focused now that he’s a multi-billionaire, but something tells me that won’t slow him down. And either way, we’re talking about a Division I All-American who has, technically, run more 40 yard dashes (Approximately 837,506*) than any athlete in professional sports history. So, forget the Bubba Gump and Apple riches, all other teams better watch out if designated kick returner just feels like runnin.
*(1760 x 19024)/40
Pick #10: Wendell Brown – Varsity Blues
A quiet, factor back and dignified workhorse, no one suffered under the reign of that racist prick Kilmer more than Wendell Brown and yet, astonishingly, no one was less emo about their plight than Wendell Brown, in spite of the measurable licensure of his complaints. Billy Bob, Mox, and Lance all had their moments of over-dramatic despair, but all Wendell was given cinematically was an angry shoulder bump with Mox and a brief moment of anger that he turned into 25 positive, highlight-worthy carries a game.
Pick #10: Julian Washington – Any Given Sunday
Alright, time to stop thinking about aesthetic and potential talent and approximations. Time to start thinking here-and-now talent. Washington is a veteran, an all-star, a thick-thighed truck. He stands by his coach, is willing to sacrifice for his teammates, and somehow manages to tone down the pro-level debauchery that sits at the center of his film. All a bit surprising for someone played by one of the most talented and rightfully arrogant hip hop artists of all time.
Pick #9 – Ray Smith – The Longest Yard
If we continue to leverage Smith’s freedom to get a top notch performance from our secondary, it won’t be the worst thing we strategized in this draft, so… Let’s just go to it.
Pick #8: Steve Lattimer – The Program
Man, we are really abandoning our ethics here. But it’s time to get serious about the W. If we can hire some security guards, advisers, police escorts, and PR specialists to keep Lattimer from abruptly smashing someone’s property or, well, attempting sexual assault long enough to get him on the field, then he should do a LOT of damage before he’s ejected on the the game’s third set of downs. And the fourteen minute game delay that will ensue as the cops have to take the field to arrest him for murder should provide some of our aging vets a welcome chance to ice their knees. On second thought, we better call a timeout…
Time to get serious…
Pick #7- Rod Tidwell – Jerry Maguire
If it comes down to a single decisive play, who else would we call upon other than the star of the greatest single-play movie scene of all time. A draft pick of Rod Tidwell is a draft pick that actually nets three people: the most compassionate and passionate agent of all time, a receiver who welcomes the spotlight and responsibility, and Marcy, who is perhaps the greatest character in any movie of the 1990s. This is our team, and it does not work without him.
Pick #6: Danny Bateman – The Replacements
Not only is Danny Bateman the perfect Defensive Captain to exercise a little bit of authority over our outlaw steel curtain, but he’s a straight up ball hawk, a possession creator with a passionate hunger for the pigskin, and a rabid, manic lunatic whose mindless energy might be the contagious element necessary to elevate the madness of our uniquely intimidating defensive squad.
Pick #5: Luther Shark Lavay – Any Given Sunday
Lawrence Taylor is just scary as fuck.
Pick #4: Steamin’ Willie Beamen – Any Given Sunday
Cocksured and revolutionary, Steamin’ Beamen operates as one of those once-in-a-lifetime generational quarterback revolutionaries. A little Michael Vick, a little Cam Newton, a little Allen Iverson. His ability to make snap decisions and move on his feet opens our offense to any number of attack angles and his sweet as hell rap video opens our team to an abundance of TV network coverage contracts.
Pick #3: Deacon Jones – The Longest Yard
It’s Michael Irvin. I mean, we can pretend to discuss the characters in any of the other draft picks, but two cinematic highlights from Deacon Jones and it’s undeniable who we are watching: perhaps the second greatest wide receiver of any era. And, as a character, Jones plays rough, maybe even dirty, freely embracing the need to win in ways that even the annoying mid-90s Cowboy squads did not.
Pick #2: Shane Falco – The Replacements
A skill player. A leader. An on-the-field coach. Shane Falco is all of these things rolled up into one handsome and intense son-of-a-gun. Falco exhibits the ability to unite a rag tag team in next to no time and lead a contender againt all odds. If we were drafting for a year-long season, a debate could be had, but for such a short-sighted goal, I can’t think of anyone better to lead the charge.
Pick #1: David Dunn – Unbreakable
“Why are you drafting children?!,” the skeptics shouted. “Two women?! Are you even trying to win?” screamed the sexist haters. So, judge all of my previous picks all you want, but I have been sitting on this hidden gem the entire time. And yeah, okay, maybe we have an abundance of quarterbacks but do we have to play Dunn there? I have it on good source that Dunn is literally unbreakable, so let’s just plug him into the office and defense. Dunn has yet to cap off his bench press and dead lift statistics, and the only player who poses any threat to him is on our bench (we just have to sit the waterboy a few yards away). With his ability to telepathically connect to everyone he touches, we may be able to Belichick some of our opponent’s game plan without ever raising suspicion or having to answer for it. I hate tricky picks on lists like these as much as the next person, but it’s not my fault that I’m such an intuitive and brilliant GM.
Bring it home, Dunn.
Billy Bob, pull the truck around. Tweeder, go find us some kegs. Mox, just keep crying for inexplicable reasons. We are done here…