The Super Bowl is not a football game. It's a global entertainment event broadcast live to nearly every television on the planet. With weeks of hype, red carpets, exclusive before- and after-parties and a crowd not of fans but corporate guests, it's closer to a blockbuster Hollywood premier than a sporting event.
What if the NFL's marquee entertainment event made the jump from the boob tube to the majestic silver screen? What if Hollywood did their treatment of the highest-rated television program of all time? Who would star? Who would direct? Would you pay to see it in IMAX 3D or wait for instant-streaming availability?
Tom Brady is the quarterback and unquestioned leader of the team favored to win. He's got an established taste for supermodels and looks at home on the cover of GQ. He's got to be the leading man, right?
Right, but it's not just that. Brady's never taken himself entirely seriously. His approach to the game is sometimes described as "cool," but might more accurately be described as "blasé." He accepted the AFC Championship Trophy while saying he "sucked pretty bad" in the game.
The leading man in Super Bowl 46: The Movie has to be fit enough to pull off the obligatory workout montage and dashing enough to wear one of the most beautiful women in the world on his arm, but also be funny enough to have starred in Van Wilder.
Eli Manning is a tough character to cast. He's a starting NFL quarterback, yes, but never quite fit that mold. Great in his own right, he's always stood in the shadow of his (physically and chronologically) bigger brother. He doesn't quite have leading-man looks, and for much of his career, he hasn't quite had leading-man stats, either.
Eli's unlikely coming into his own reminds me of Shia LaBeouf. Dude doesn't look anything like the lead of a zillion-dollar summer action blockbuster, yet there he goes saving the world with Megan Fox on his arm.
Critically, LaBeouf can pull off Manning's unique "not sure if smiling" bared-fang expression of happiness.
"Rare" is the one word Patriots head coach Bill Belichick uses to describe Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, according to Per Pro Football Talk's Gregg Rosenthal. Pierre-Paul's rare combination of "athleticism, size and explosiveness" makes him stand out on game film.
If that kind of athleticism, size and explosiveness is rare in defensive ends, imagine how rare it is in actors. Where can we find an actor who'll stand out like that in an actual film?
Former Michigan State basketball star Delvon Roe, listed at 6'8", stepped away from the bright lights of two Final Fours for the limelight of Hollywood. Long having been bitten by the acting bug, Roe flung himself full force into his acting career. Roe will appear in this year's AWOL and continues to seek out work on film.
He'd certainly make Super Bowl 46: The Movie audiences sit back and say "wow."
Tom Coughlin is not one for grandstanding, for media posturing or showing up to a meeting less than five minutes early. There's no one better suited to play the no-nonsense Coughlin than James Cromwell.
Cromwell, a classically trained character actor with impressive range, happens to bear a striking resemblance to Coughlin, who doesn't look like a from-central-casting NFL coach.
As it happens, Cromwell has a very Coughlin-like character under his belt: Farmer Dodgett from the 1995 talking-pig vehicle, Babe. Cromwell had to craft a leading character with just 171 words of spoken dialogue, including the memorable final line parodied in Shrek.
If anyone can play the terse Coughlin, it's Cromwell.
Bill Belichick runs the New England Patriots, a big organization where everything stays in-house. Everything is done his way, and secrets don't leave the walls.
Bill Paxton knows that role well; he played it on HBO's Big Love. As the head of a (illegal) polygamist household, Paxton's character had to keep everything in-house for fear of the rest of the world catching up to what they were doing. How "Belichickian" is that?
Plus, he's got the stare down. The stare is a must.
You can't have a big-budget epic like Super Bowl 46: The Movie without a big-time director. And who else could possibly direct the big-screen adaptation of the biggest global television event but the biggest of all big-time directors?
The NFL loves their billions of dollars, and they love being No. 1. Only a handful of directors can say they've helmed a billion-dollar film. James Cameron not only has two to his name, but they're No. 2 and No. 1 overall on the all-time revenue list.