One of my favorite shows ever to see a television screen was a small Independent Film Channel show called Dinner for Five. On it, host Jon Favreau (the Iron Man director) would gather four or five industry friends, feed them, liquor them up and get them talking about anything to do with entertainment.
I'd love to do that with NFL players. Of course, I'm not fancy enough for dinner (and these boys can eat) but I WOULD be willing to spring for a beer or two and cab fare for a ride home.
Since I am spending less on food, I can add more guys—so here are 10 guys from the NFC North I'd like to have a beer with and why.
Who wouldn't want to hang with the best quarterback in the league?
There's more to it, though. Rodgers has had a fascinating career so far. A tumble in the draft, sharing quarterback meetings with Brett Favre, the offensive line issues when he started—there is so much and we haven't even gone into just plain old football talk.
Add to it the guy is notoriously competitive at everything—let's find out what makes that go.
At worst, he's going to be a tremendous addition to video trivia in the pub.
Yes, a punter. Have you SEEN his Twitter feed? The guy fires off on everything including football. He'll comment on the Saints Bounty scandal (wondered what the players hurt by it think of the NFLPA representing the guys who hurt them—allegedly) to ripping Manning, Brees, Manikins and Jackson for allegedly requesting lifetime exemptions from franchise tags.
Plus, he's a punter—we know what odd cats these guys are.
If he's this entertaining on Twitter, how much more fun is he in real life?
I'd love to tempt him away from World of Warcraft for a night.
Beyond the pure "let loose" style of his Twitter rants, I'd love to talk to him about the different aspects of his game and how he approaches it. It's not often we examine things like punting, but field position can be crucial.
I have a feeling Kluwe would make an appearance on any show I did based on this.
How can you NOT want to have a beer with the only real mullet wearing defender in the NFL?
Some of that might not be accurate, but I actually find Allen pretty interesting and unlike a lot of the players who come to prominence in the league.
Not to mention, some interesting defensive discussion.
It'd be interesting to get his take on some of the rule changes from over the last few seasons.
Allen has been the pivot on two very distinct defenses, both of whom might be (well, in Kansas City's case, definitely was) a lot less effective without him.
Last week I interviewed Suh and came away with a feeling many writers have expressed when they have finished talking to him one on one: curiosity.
Suh is an interesting fellow and a great example of the dichotomy of football players—and if I feel deep, perhaps I can say athletes in general.
On the field, he's a beast, violent and occasionally on the edge of control.
Off the field, he's a well-spoken, bright and seemingly deep guy.
That contrast is fascinating to me. I'm competitive, but this is a whole other level. Sure, some of the other guys on this list have the same switch, but Suh's is probably the most pronounced.
I'd love to have a pitcher with him, talk football and life. I suspect it would be an enlightening chat and an insight into one of the more interesting guys in the league today.
People love to call him dirty and shady and maybe there is some truth to it, but there is more there.
Of course Megatron is on this list. The best wide receiver in the game today, Johnson is a beast on the field and an interesting guy off it.
He's also been through some ups and downs with Detroit in his career. I'd love to hear how he kept it together, how he kept his focus through an 0-16 season.
When every game is a loss, how do you remain at the top of your game? How does an athlete keep his faith?
Not every one does. Plenty of players would have ditched the Lions at first chance, but not Johnson.
I want to know what makes him tick.
He's also a guy I'd like to break film down with, just to get a feel for what he sees.
Green Bay Offensive line
This is a group, some of which have been through some real rough years. The 2010 injury-fest, capped with a Super Bowl. Last year's injuries.
Lots of injuries actually.
However, reading some reports about Jeff Saturday coming in and actually making this a closer group makes this even more interesting.
I'd love to see them hanging together, as well as pick their brains on how life is in the trenches. There's a great cross-section of experience here—everything from rookies to a guy who is just about wrapped up.
And the Super Bowl rings should buy us a free round, right?
I first met Go Route National Lead Writer Aaron Nagler before any of this B/R stuff had happened, when we had the first of many heated disagreements about Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson.
A few years later, I find myself more and more impressed with Woodson and his complete game. Yes, Revis is a far better cover corner, but he's young and his game isn't near as complete as Woodson's.
Here's a guy who I'd love to talk coverages with, hear about the "Corner Okie" defense where they run three cornerbacks or (if you look at it a different way) Woodson moves to play safety as a corner.
Ten years of reading offenses and battles with receivers and the ups and downs of two franchises.
Woodson has a lot to teach.
On the flip side is Jennings, a young player making a name for himself with hard work and tenacity. Here's a guy who is a bit small and light for the job, lacking experience and needing polish, but also someone who keeps working, quietly spending hours in the film room and going over plays to get better.
The more I read about him, the more impressed I am.
A hard worker, willing to do whatever he can to get better?
Sounds like someone who could teach people a thing or two about pursuing their dreams and improving their skills.
Peterson was always a good bet to be on this list, but his incredible efforts to be ready to play Week 1 locked the spot up.
A guy who, by all accounts, is a fantastic person off the field and a tenacious, determined student in the film room, Peterson is a highly motivated guy.
Even in comparison to the other highly motivated players populating the NFL, Peterson stands out.
I think it would be inspirational to spend time with a guy who is so driven, so willing to lay it all on the line to get back to his top form, that he is this far ahead of schedule.
Also, as one of the few truly elite running backs still in the league, I want to hear how he sees the field and how that differs from other running backs.
What does he see that nobody else does? What drives him?
Much like Aaron Rodgers, here is a competitor who stands out even among his peers.
How rare is it these days for a player to play his whole career in one city, on one team?
Ten years is how long Urlacher has been a Bear and he's hoping to finish a fantastic career the same way it started—at Soldier Field.
He's definitely got some gas left in the tank, so if everyone is reasonable, that could happen.
Aside from the knowledge one of the premiere linebackers in the NFL can bring, that dedication—even when things don't go so well—and loyalty is impressive.
I talked a little about what it takes to be on a truly bad team when I said why I wanted to hang with Megatron. With Urlacher, he's not only been on some bad teams, but he has sniffed the gold ring—he lost a Super Bowl.
He's had the highs and lows and as he gets to the close of his career, I'd love to hear him look back and talk about what it's been like, as one of the core pieces of a defense that has been pretty darn good for most of those 10 years.
Which NFC North players would YOU want to have a beer with? Tell me in the comments.
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