Blockbuster season is upon us once again—a time of big stars, big explosions and big box office numbers. This summer will bring us heroes of all shapes and sizes: superheroes, antiheroes, redemption stories, you name it.
As the calendar nears June and fans are begging for any kind of NFL news, it got us thinking: What NFL quarterbacks would be cut out for the big screen?
Ben Roethlisberger, Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean
Big Ben might not always make it look pretty—holding onto the ball and taking his fair share of hits—but he somehow finds a way to get the job done. He's a master at making something out of nothing, turning broken plays into strokes of genius—just like Jack Sparrow, a bumbling drunkard who just happens to outsmart everybody in the British navy.
Philip Rivers, Rooster Cogburn, True Grit
Philip Rivers is the epitome of a gunslinger, a guy who never saw a window he couldn't fit a football into. He has a rocket for an arm, and he knows it. Sometimes that confidence can get him into trouble—especially recently, as the Chargers QB has fallen on hard times in San Diego.
Like Rooster Cogburn, John Wayne's cocksure sheriff in True Grit who overcame adversity, Rivers will be looking to rein in that confidence and get the Chargers back to the postseason.
Andrew Luck has been The Chosen One since he stepped on campus at Stanford—a technically impeccable signal-caller who looked ready for the NFL at 19 years old. He was talented enough to inspire a tanking campaign in an attempt to draft him, an immediate franchise savior for the team lucky enough to have the worst record in the league.
Like Neo in The Matrix, he was seemingly born to do what he does—stepping into Indianapolis and turning the Colts around faster than anyone expected. He was a shot in the arm for an aging Colts team, just like Neo revitalized the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar.
It may seem absurd now, but coming out of college, Drew Brees was regarded as a highly-flawed prospect. Despite setting the Big Ten on fire and leading Purdue to the Rose Bowl, all scouts could focus on was what Brees couldn't do—he was too small and didn't have the arm strength.
Well, 12 years, one Super Bowl and the all-time single-season passing yards record later, nobody's saying anything like that now. His story is almost as inspirational as Rocky's, who overcame similar physical limitations to be pretty great in his own right.
Add in his adorable son and all the work he's done helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina, and a Brees biopic may cause more tears than Sly Stallone ever did.
J.R.R. Tolkien's epic is a story of perseverance, of what even the most overlooked people can achieve. Everyone wrote off Frodo Baggins as just a Hobbit, too small and insignificant to complete his quest and destroy the ring.
Before last season's magical postseason run, no one wanted to give Joe Flacco any credit. He would never be elite, never be able to take his team to the next level. He was simply an inconsistent quarterback relying on Ray Rice and an elite defense.
But then he lit up the Colts, Broncos, Patriots and 49ers en route to a Super Bowl title.
The doubters don't have very much ammo anymore. Now he's the richest man in the history of the game, a reminder that heroes can come from very unexpected places.
Full disclosure: Although I'm a Giants fan, I believe in Tony Romo. I think he's far better than people give him credit for—the victim of shoddy roster management by Jerry Jones and one of the worst offensive lines in football.
But even I have a hard time explaining some of the things he does in the fourth quarter.
Romo seems to be capable of following brilliance with mind-boggling stupidity, leading his team back only to throw a crucial and baffling interception. He's two quarterbacks in one, a Pro-Bowler and a second-stringer—the Tyler Durden of the NFL.
While neither Robert Griffin III nor Tony Stark lack confidence—the former keeping himself in the game even as his knee was falling apart, the latter believing he's God's gift to man.
The real parallel here is that both are revolutionaries.
Stark changed the very nature of war and homeland security, while Griffin redefined what it means to play quarterback in the NFL. No one has seen his combination of accuracy and athleticism—seemingly a hybrid between Peyton Manning and Michael Vick.
Hopefully, he'll be terrorizing defenses for a long time to come.
Eli may have settled that whole "elite" debate with a second Super Bowl ring, but he's still viewed with a little bit of skepticism around the league. Maybe it's his demeanor, or maybe it's his tendency to flip a switch and catch fire, but people seem unwilling to grant him his rightful place among the best in the game.
He's constantly cast as a sidekick, a notch below the Bradys, Rodgers and Peytons of the league. He's played Robin to his brother's Batman for far too long.
Hopefully, in 2013, he can prove once and for all that he can carry a trilogy all his own.
Peyton Manning is probably the most cerebral player to ever put on a helmet—seemingly five moves ahead of his opponent at any given moment. He's a master of preparation, always putting himself and his team in the best position to succeed.
Like Professor Xavier, the mentor of the X-Men, he's managed to thrive even while his physical abilities decline—thanks to superior intellect and foresight.
Peyton is as effective as ever deep into his 30s because he can beat you with his mind—and who knows, he might even be psychic like his super counterpart.
Tom Brady epitomizes smooth—the three Super Bowl rings, the good looks, the supermodel wife and the fourth-quarter comebacks. He's the unflappable master of his domain, always knowing what to say or what play to make.
In a lot of ways, he's a perfect parallel to Danny Ocean—the criminal mastermind who robs Terry Benedict's casino in Ocean's 11. Ocean was smooth and confident on the surface, yes, but he was also headstrong and passionate (remember, he jeopardizes everything to go after his ex-wife).
Brady is one of the fiercest competitors of his era—still hanging on to the chip on his shoulder after he slid all the way to the sixth round of the draft. That combination of passion and composure is what makes these two stand apart.