Superhero summertime has arrived for the cinema world. Part of the fun of the NFL off-season is making player comparisons of all kinds. So in keeping with the growing tradition of movie heroes, who are their quarterback counterparts on the fabled gridiron? Here is Part Two.
To view Part One, click here.
Cam Newton – Superman
The Man of Steel was born in another part of the galaxy on the planet Krypton. Though not of this planet, he was raised by two loving parents and taught to love his new home in the same way. With an array of superhuman abilities at his disposal including super strength and speed, Superman fights every day to uphold the morals instilled in him from birth and it seems like with each new fight he discovers another incredible gift he didn’t realize he had before. Cam Newton is no stranger to fighting for the underdog. He came out of nowhere to lead Auburn to it’s first national championship in decades. Fans couldn’t truly grasp his physical dimensions though until he joined the Carolina Panthers. Everything about him seems extraordinary. He has the strength to shove off linebackers, speed to outrun corners and vision to find receivers through tight throwing windows. Yet all of that masks a large degree of intelligence and savvy that always gets taken for granted by those who don’t understand him, just like Superman.
Russell Wilson – Spiderman
Peter Parker was always dismissed as a nobody when he was young. Despite possessing a brilliant mind and a keen eye for detail as evidenced by his love for photography, the young man could never catch a break among the hierarchy of life. Then, one fateful day, a tiny genetically-altered spider changed everything. He became Spiderman, a fearless, agile and cold-blooded hero who lived for high places. In a world of chaos he maintains a remarkable order about himself, always knowing what he has to do and how to do it, be with brains or brawn. Russell Wilson can relate. The Seattle Seahawks quarterback was constantly dismissed because of a few simple numbers: 5’10”. Quarterbacks that tall can’t succeed in the NFL. Yet through intelligence, athleticism and intangible leadership he kept proving them wrong from high school up until he won the starting job for the Seattle Seahawks despite being a rookie third round pick. Like Spidey the dizzying heights of the spotlight didn’t unnerve him in the slightest, and now the supposedly too short signal caller is a Super Bowl champion.
Colin Kaepernick – The Flash
Many people think that the only thing that defines The Flash is his trademark speed. Yet it goes far beyond that. Something to remember is that the red-clad hero has been played by two gifted people, Barry Allen and his nephew Wally West. Though humble in most circumstances, both of them weren’t afraid to have confidence in their abilities when the time came to get serious. His speed is his greatest asset and seems to have depths that even the hero himself isn’t aware of. The tall, slender but muscular physique is unmistakable and his personality reflects a care-free attitude and a sense of humor. Colin Kaepernick really came out of nowhere in 2012 following the injury to teammate Alex Smith, appearing in a “flash” if you will. It was apparent quite early that he had a rare gift of speed that gave defenses fits. Just look to his gutting of the Green Bay Packers for an idea. Yet that alone does not capture the depth of the player. His intelligence, leadership and attitude are vastly underrated, just like the superhero he embodies.
Matt Ryan – Aquaman
Does anybody get less respect than Aquaman? Indeed the King of Atlantis is never really given his just due but that grossly covers up how truly strong, smart and resourceful he is. Despite coming from a privileged background, Arthur Curry is anything but white collar. Possessing keen senses and inexhaustible stamina, he always seems to sense where the danger is coming from and not only can extinguish it with his own considerable powers but also a high degree of strategic knowledge and leadership. Granted, he might be at a slight disadvantage out of the ocean where he lives, but any villain that makes the mistake of dismissing him entirely does so at their own extreme risk. Matt Ryan too comes from a highbrow background that saw him attend some of the best schools all the way through college. Yet that didn’t stop him from proving his mettle both mentally and physically. After joining the Atlanta Falcons he earned a reputation for overcoming his notable deficiencies like arm strength with aptitude, poise and total command of the huddle. Like Aquaman, teams usually find out too late that he’s much better than anticipated, and also like him, Ryan is at his very best on his home turf of the Georgia Dome.
Ben Roethlisberger – The Incredible Hulk
Dr. Bruce Banner was not a hero in his ordinary life. Brilliant, yes, but also conflicted since he devoted his immense intellect to helping the military develop a massively destructive bomb utilizing gamma radiation. An incident exposed him to the dangerous compound, transforming him into the seemingly unstoppable Incredible Hulk. Known for his remarkable strength, speed and durability he is often viewed as nothing more than a monster, a force of nature impossible to control. Yet beneath that exterior is the heart and mind of Banner, fighting constantly to not only cure himself but defeat the enemies who seek to use his power for evil. From a sheer physical standpoint, Ben Roethlisberger has that “Hulk” look. Standing 6’5″, 241 lbs he is an imposing man who retains remarkable mobility for his size. His strength is clearly evident from his knack for shaking off tackles to make plays outside the pocket while his incredible toughness have helped him survive a myriad of vicious NFL hits that would’ve broken lesser men. He might seem benign and friendly in calm times, but don’t make him angry. Defenses don’t like him when he’s angry.