The Steelers as Super Heroes...and Super Villains

Todd FlemingAnalyst IMay 12, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers smiles on the bench against the Arizona Cardinals during Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

There are now three months until the NFL preseason arrives. 

That gives us a whole lot of time to say nothing meaningful about NFL football while passing the time until the Detroit Lions can once again go undefeated over those four games. 

Here is an article on Steelers’ football devoid of anything resembling insight or analysis to help fill the time. 

Warning:  You will be dumber for having read this. 

This is what you end up with if you watch the new X-Men movie while thinking about your favorite football team.  

So…here it is…the Steelers as Super Heroes...and Super Villains.

Ben Roethlisberger—He was sacked 47 times last year by guys roughly the size of planets and knocked down by those same planets on too many occasions to count.  Yet, there he was leading the Steelers down the field for the winning drive of the Super Bowl. 

This guy is Superman, the greatest of all the superheroes. 

What is his kryptonite?

While I’m not entirely sure, word has it that motorcycles have been removed from the city of Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future. 

He also has that whole Clark Kent thing going for him.  Clark Kent got no respect.  All too often, outside of Pittsburgh, Big Ben doesn’t get any respect. 

Hines Ward—This was one of the easier ones.  Hines Ward is the spittin’ image of The Joker.  The Joker learned how to flash his signature smile watching Hines Ward play football. 

And, let’s face it, fans in other football cities, especially Baltimore, are near certain that Hines Ward is the greatest of all super villains; an honor that clearly goes to The Joker. 

Both Hines and The Joker always seem to have one more trick up their sleeve, and you can never count them out. 

So, there you have it, one of the best combinations in football is Superman to The Joker. 

Willie Parker—Give him a little hole and a bit of space, and he is off to the races.   Willie Parker is The Flash.  Nobody knows this better than fans of the Seattle Seahawks.

Santonio Holmes—Did you see that Super Bowl winning touchdown catch? 

You can’t tell me his arms and legs didn’t stretch to make that happen.   Santonio was channeling his inner Mr. Fantastic.  While I’m not sure Santonio has Mr. Fantastic’s leadership characteristics yet, those will surely come in time.

Max Starks—This one may not appear very obvious at first, but bear with me for a second. 

Batman was Bruce Wayne. 

Bruce Wayne is really rich. 

After being franchised at one of the highest paying positions for the last two seasons, Max Starks is really rich. 

Therefore, Max Starks is Batman.  It is the transitive property at work.    

Batman really isn’t a Superhero.  He has no super abilities…just a lot of gadgets.  After watching him the last couple seasons, I’m also not sure Max Starks is really a Super Hero. 

Yep...definitely Batman.

James Harrison—James Harrison, when he lines up and stares down the quarterback, looks like an axe murderer.  He absolutely exudes intensity.  I’m not sure any Super Hero can even come close to matching his intensity. 

About the only character I could think of that comes close is...the Balrog of Lord of the Rings fame. 

Now that was one scary and intense looking chap, kind of like Harrison.  They even sort of look alike other than that whole flaming sword and giant whip thing that the Balrog had going for him.  And even the heroes ran from him. 

So, there you have it.  James Harrison is Balrog.  Runner up: Beast of X-Men fame.

Lamarr Woodley—James Harrison’s partner in crime.  He is intense, frenetic, and near unblockable.  This one is also fairly obvious considering his University of Michigan college roots.   

Lamarr Woodley is The Wolverine.  His nice guy demeanor is really hiding pent up rage, ready to be unleashed on any passing down. 

So, quarterbacks get to choose whether they want to run away from Balrog and toward The Wolverine or away from Wolverine toward Balrog. 

Tough choice, but I’d take my chances with The Wolverine.     

Troy Polamalu—While he is a cartoon character, technically the Tasmanian Devil, aka Taz, is sort of a villain even if he was somewhat incompetent and not very bright; the only traits not shared with Troy. 

Both Troy and Taz cause chaos in their wake, can run through trees, and can spin themselves into tornadoes.  It doesn’t seem fitting to give Troy a different name than one he clearly already has earned. 

So, Troy stays the Tasmanian Devil.    

Casey Hampton—In finding the right Super Hero for Big Snack, it has to be somebody who is big enough to warrant his own zip code and near impossible to move.  This one goes to Fantastic Four’s, The Thing. 

He is huge and made out of rock, so he weighs several tons.  I’m not sure who would be easier to move from the middle of the defensive line, The Big Snack or The Thing. 

Aaron Smith is...the Invisible Woman. 

Okay, there is that small gender incompatibility issue, but any superhero who looks like Sue Storm in the Fantastic Four movies has to make this list somewhere, and this is the most obvious spot. 

Both do their best work when they are invisible, and Aaron Smith is clearly invisible outside of Pittsburgh as evidenced by his non-inclusion on the Pro Bowl team. 

Ryan Clark brings us back to the villain side of the ledger.  Ryan Clark is the Juggernaut from the X-Men movies. 

Remember him? 

He was the character who, once he started running, was impossible to stop.  Anything he ran into, whether it be a wall or a person, was annihilated.   

That describes the somewhat diminutive Clark. 

He may not be much to look at, but when he hits you it is not something you’ll soon forget as both Wes Welker and Willis McGahee can attest.

Honorable Mention:  Thor.  Thor hits things with a hammer while Clark is a hammer.

Ike Taylor—Ike actually requires a combination of two Superheroes from the Fantastic Four.  By and large, he is Johnny Storm—the blazing hot shot who jets around at high speeds. 

Taylor has the attitude and athletic ability of Storm.  Unfortunately, in this instance, Johnny had his hands replaced by those of his fellow teammate, The Thing, whose hands have four fingers and are made of stone. 

So, I guess that means The Thing (aka Casey Hampton) has hands that can turn to fire. 

Not a bad trade for him. 

Ike would be considered one of the absolute best cornerbacks in the league if balls didn’t bounce off his hands like pinballs on a regular basis. 

Dick LeBeau—LeBeau is Master Yoda. 

Okay, so he isn’t small or green, but...other than that...they are dead ringers for one another. 

Both guys were quite the players in their earlier years, but later became the wisest and smartest guys in the universe.  They both unleash The Force on unsuspecting opponents.    

When Yoda or LeBeau talk…people listen.   

I would also hazard to bet that if either of these old wise guys were to take the field, they still could pack a mean punch. 

Honorable mention: Charles Xavier and Gandalf.

Rod Woodson is the one retired ex-Steelers great who must be included on the list. 

He is Darth Vader. 

His career followed Darth Vader’s almost verbatim.  He started as one of the greatest heroes in the universe, but eventually went over to the dark side (also known as The Ravens). 

But in the end...both found redemption. 

While Darth saved Luke’s life, thereby saving the universe, Woodson went into the Hall of Fame as a Steeler, thereby restoring goodness to the universe. 

I’m not sure which was the greater achievement. 

Full disclosure: I even rooted for Woodson when he played for the Ravens.   

There you have it. 

This is my list of the Steelers as Superheroes and Villains.  Feel free to add your own thoughts on which super hero or villain best emulates one of the Men of Steel.