By far, the game of football, particularly in the NFL, is America's pastime. With so many colorful teams and personalities, the game has endeared itself to generations of fans as the most popular modern sport.
Who can blame Americans for loving a game filled with so many great characters and odds-defying feats?
Like most sports, the game is like a canvas by which many teams and athletic legends applied the right strokes to glorious legacies, careers painted in vibrant color, leaving behind a striking image that can't be duplicated by even the most poignant of portraits.
Every Sunday, fans watch in awe as the history of the league continues to build upon itself. Rooting for their teams, fully encapsulated watchers vicariously put themselves on the shoulders of powerful men, fighting for a cause that only the most loyal would fully understand.
In a manner of speaking, football is like a great story, filled with striking images and unfolding as a battle of good versus evil (depending on one's loyalties)... just like a comic book.
One of the most popular comic book characters is Batman, a.k.a. the Dark Knight. Like a football player, Bruce Wayne, a mere mortal man without superpowers, has developed his mind and body toward perfecting his chosen craft. The mythology of DC Comics' most commercially successful character is filled with wonderful storylines and characters, just like America's favorite game.
While they may not end up in a gunfight (well, mostly...), NFL players work hard toward perfecting their craft. And, at the end of every Sunday game, fans have been treated to a whirlwind of action as captivating and colorful as the pages of comic.
In a change of pace from the normal NFL x's and o's, here are the NFL's 32 teams as Batman characters.
Keep in mind as you read the random (and, mostly ridiculous) set of selections that this isn't meant to be taken too seriously. It's a fun change of pace from my normal approach, and I hope that you get some enjoyment from this while maintaining your sanity!
Before allowing you to enjoy the list, it is my responsibility to inform everybody that the books, titles, characters, character names, slogans, logos and related are trademarks of and copyrighted by DC Comics.
Whether or not the signal caller is the gateway to a championship is for another debate, but Ryan has shown his ability to come through in the clutch, especially late in the game with victory on the line, time and again.
His penchant for heroics have earned him the nickname "Matty Ice." When the pressure goes up, Ryan's steely resolve and ice water veins drop a few more degrees.
Who better to represent such a cool customer than Gotham City's own captain of cold, Mr. Freeze?
Both the Eagles and Edward Nygma are clad in green, presenting an obvious parallel between the pair.
The Riddler is a narcissist, using puzzles and clues in his crimes as a means of drawing attention to himself and attempting to establish a superior intellect to Batman himself.
Somebody may ask, "Narcissism? You mean like calling yourself a 'Dream Team' before ever taking one successful snap together?"
In truth, the Riddler was chosen for Philly for one simple fact: The Eagles are the ultimate riddle.
Firstly, it is surprising with their constant infusion of talent that they haven't won a championship in the Andy Reid era—or at least dominated the NFC landscape (a cause lost with three straight NFC Championship losses) and failed in the Super Bowl, a la the Bills.
Moreover, the offseason free agency splash was supposed to take the already talented crew, coming off of a playoff season, over the top. Joining Mike Vick were Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha.
It would be one matter if the Eagles didn't improve, but the team got far worse. Truthfully, the signs were there from the start. Getting big names doesn't necessarily translate to big wins, and having offensive line coaches becoming defensive coordinators normally raises question marks.
Question marks...get it?
With eight losses, the Eagles cannot even qualify for a winning season in 2011, a thought that is puzzling to the Philly faithful indeed.
Life in the "Black Hole" would be scary for the everyman, but Raiders backers relish the psychosis associated with their fanatical fraternity of freaks.
Comparing the picture above to a random sample of fans (dressed for Halloween) at Raiders home games should make the rationale incredibly obvious.
He may be a lesser-known (or, more aptly, second-rate) villain from the comic books, but the Buccaneers make this selection impossible to avoid.
Sure, the Raiders also take their theme from pillaging pirates, but the Bucs are equipped with a full-fledged pirate ship whose cannons shoot whenever the team scores.
While it may seem a bit obvious, passing up the mighty Cap'n Fear would have been simply irresponsible.
To conceal his secret identity, billionaire (or, millionaire in some arcs) playboy Bruce Wayne is sure to make headlines with his intentional buffoonery and high-rolling ways.
With an open wallet in one hand and a pretty blond in the other, Gotham's high society often share an unspoken, negative view of the son of acclaimed philanthropists Thomas and Martha Wayne, two of the most revered citizens in the city's history.
One thing that most citizens in Gotham City can agree on is that Batman could not possibly be the foolish, careless, reckless Wayne.
Like Gotham views its "chosen son," fans in the NFL view Dan Snyder, owner of the Redskins.
The free spending Snyder is known for bringing in big name players and coaches, often spending lavishly for men that bring no returns to the final product.
For his questionable decisions, along with the respectable history of the Redskins and recent downturn (like the Wayne family name), Washington earns the role of Bruce Wayne.
Remember when Adam West (Batman) would call Burt Ward (Robin) "old chum" in the classic 60's series? It was a time when Batman was more of a spoof character to fit the current mold, opposed to the more gritty, "realistic," avenging version seen today.
The lighter interpretation of the character carried over to cartoons by Hanna Barbera. One of these was called "Super Friends."
From the show, my selection for the Chiefs is Apache Chief.
Get it? For the record, the Redskins narrowly missed this thoroughly creative honor.
Society has recently become far more sensitive about the use of Native American themes for sports mascots. As such, I'm sure the political correctness of this selection will cost me a few brownie points in some circles!
This selection works on two levels.
"The Greatest Show on Turf" was a mesmerizing collection of talent, from Tory Holt to Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk to Isaac Bruce. At its peak, the Mike Martz offense in St. Louis had fans in complete awe, a feat made even more legendary by its suddenness.
The Rams had been NFC West afterthoughts for years, traditionally finishing with fewer than five wins for years prior to their resurgence. In their first game against the "new Rams," 49ers players—who had owned St. Louis in previous years—referred to the team as "the same old sorry*** Rams."
Any notion by San Francisco about dominating the Rams proved to be an illusion. It was the first of many provided by St. Louis.
They established themselves as a sudden power in the space of one season, complete with a quarterback who had been stocking grocery shelves not long beforehand.
By 2001, St. Louis was considered a favorite to win their second Super Bowl. The NFL powerhouse had every fan in football outside of Boston fully prepared for a championship blowout over New England in Super Bowl XXXVI. With such a high-octane offense, it seemed their greatness would reign over NFL defenses for years to come.
This was the second illusion.
As soon as it started, the "Greatest Show" ended. The Rams lost the Super Bowl and never regained their swagger. In the years afterward, Marc Bulger would lead the team back into the playoffs, but their full offensive magic would not be reclaimed.
The late 2000's saw the team reach its lowest point, falling from previous grace to a 1-15 season. In 2010, Steve Spagnuolo nearly led the Rams to an NFC West title, narrowly losing the championship to the 7-9 Seahawks.
With their success last year, many picked St. Louis to make the leap atop their division. In another illusion, the Rams' progress proved temporary, as the 2011 installment started 0-7.
For their ability to fool us for better and worse, the Rams have had many fans under their spell since 1999.
Besides, if nothing else, the horns on their helmets curve in a manner clearly symbolic of the spellbinding pattern seen in the picture above.
How didn't we catch it earlier?
A seahawk is not an actual bird. It is merely a nickname given to the osprey.
As it turns out, the Man-Bat is not a real bat either.
Like the Seattle Seahawks, the Man-Bat makes his presence known only occasionally, though his rare relevant appearances have to be taken seriously.
Seattle's only significant playoff appearances came in the early 80's (before losing to the Raiders) and 2000's (losing Super Bowl XL).
For the purpose of this selection, their recent "terrible trio" of draft picks are Joey Harrington (third overall, 2002), Carlos Rogers (second overall, 2003) and Mike Williams (10th overall, 2005).
As Batman villains are concerned, this terrible trio of baddies ranks lower than even the 2008 Lions, if that's possible. A few spoiled kids put on some masks and turn to a life of crime.
Embarrassingly, Batman comics introduced a villain named "Orca" a little less than a decade ago. That's right, a whale-themed Batman antagonist.
Makes perfect sense in Gotham City, right?
I'm letting myself get away with using Superman later in the list, but sorry Dolphins fans! That's as far as I can bend, so Aquaman was not available! Forgive me!
Many things in Boston are very consistent.
Bill Belichick has been the successful head coach for over a decade.
Tom Brady is widely regarded as the NFL's best quarterback, and his teams commonly enter the postseason with an extra week to rest.
Beyond the "Killer B's" that every NFL fan loves or hates, another element of the Patriots gameplan that evokes ire from the masses is the winning. And, while the two main cogs have been consistent, the Patriots have found success via many different approaches.
One face was an all-out aerial assault in 2007, a year of such utter dominance that it seemed inevitable that New England would go undefeated. It was an offense of fireworks and big plays.
Today, the Patriots win with a gallery of targets, from fast slot receivers to huge playmaking tight ends, overcoming a lackluster defense and atrocious secondary.
Earlier eras saw the defense as a team strength.
In 2004, Corey Dillon carried much of the load and the Patriots offense had balance. The secondary was depleted, and Bill Belichick coached receiver Troy Brown into a starting role as a defensive back. This was not uncommon for the coach, who had already been utilizing linebacker Mike Vrabel as a receiver near the goal line.
For their ability to change faces, evolving with the game and refusing to be handcuffed by bad circumstances, the Patriots are like Clayface.
Through their years of recent success, they've shown teams multiple looks and found success with nearly every new approach.
The Bills already had a villain named directly after them in the movie Silence of the Lambs.
Having already qualified for such an honor, I nearly bat-eliminated them from bat-character consideration. Then, it hit me:
Why not go with Egghead?
After all, how many Super Bowls have the Bills won? (Hint: see Vincent Price's hand)
Nobody did it with the same pizzazz as Buffalo!
Yes, it's a low blow and it's old hat to pick on Buffalo for an era of dominance. Truthfully, making it to four straight AFC Championship Games is tough enough, and even harder winning all of them.
Nevertheless, consider this one of my more classless moments! Don't feel too bad, Bills fans. Egghead was played by Vincent Price, who is a bad-ass spokesperson to have in this moment of consolation.
Superman is the "Man of Steel," so who better to represent him than the "Men of Steel?"
OK, so this is cheating a bit. Technically, Superman is not a Batman character. However, together with Batman, the two heroes are allies known as "The World's Finest." With that in mind, the selection counts.
In fact, paying close attention to the background of the photograph, one can clearly see that this association was made well before I starting casting NFL teams as Bat-characters.
Superman is considered a classy hero, upholding upstanding values; the Rooney family is often associated with high moral fiber and class.
Likewise, the Man of Steel is largely regarded as the most powerful force in the DC Universe. The Steelers are the most successful team of the modern NFL, winning six Super Bowls.
With Ray Lewis as the inspirational leader, the Ravens are a physical, defensive team looking to strike fear into the hearts of opponents, just as Batman looks to strike fear into the heart of criminality.
Like the bird from Edgar Allen Poe's works, Batman is a brooding, dark figure who lurks in the shadows during his fight against crime.
While many fans consider Baltimore as an NFL "villain," this projection of a dark, imposing personality is a similarity between the Ravens and Dark Knight.
Just as Batman is looking to avenge the loss of his parents (who were killed in front of him as a child), the Ravens are looking to avenge three playoff losses (two in the Harbaugh era) to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
OK, so maybe that isn't exactly the same thing....
How about this? Batman stands on gargoyles. Some gargoyles have wings...just like a raven?
You still don't like it? Well, too bad! The Ravens get Batman!
The Pittsburgh Steelers were associated with Superman.
The Baltimore Ravens were cast as Batman.
Superman and Batman are a duo known as "World's Finest."
And, Steelers vs. Ravens is the "World's Finest" rivalry. Or, at the very least, the NFL's greatest modern rivalry! Do you see how this all comes together?
The picture shown here must have been taken postgame, during the midfield handshake!
While many comic fans respect Robin, others view him as an unnecessary character that conflicts with the solitude wanted by today's Batman.
A classic character with great history, just as the Browns are timeless team with a great history of success, Robin is no longer as respected on the colorful comic pages as he once was. The Cleveland Browns also don't command the same respect that was once reserved for the likes of Otto Graham, or even Bernie Kosar.
Like the character of Robin, who has been Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake, the Browns of today are not the "same Browns" originally established.
In the comics, Jason Todd is killed before Tim Drake finally convinces Batman to allow him to resurrect the mantle of Robin.
In 1999, the Cleveland Browns resumed NFL play, but they had completely new faces and new ownership despite being allowed to keep their old records.
The unique situation saw Browns players move to Baltimore in becoming Ravens, leaving their past statistics along the shores of Lake Erie.
Today's comic fans don't view the dynamic duo as "Batman and Robin." Instead, Batman is considered the isolated figure who simply overshadows Robin when he happens to be included.
Today's Browns do not win with any regularity, overshadowed by Batman (the Baltimore Ravens) and Superman (the Pittsburgh Steelers), who are the two heavies on the AFC North block.
In terms of perspective, the Browns are now merely a sidekick. Surely, the franchise aspires to get back to its winnings way. If they can do that, then Robin will be able to graduate to being Nightwing (Dick Grayson), earn his complete independence from Batman and stand tall on his own.
Hey, 1995 Browns fans, think your classic, beloved, established team is safe to stay along the shores of Lake Erie?
I guess the joke was on Cleveland.
A popular Batman story titled "A Death in the Family" sees the Joker kill Robin (Jason Todd). In fact, the fans were given a hot line to call in to decide Robin's fate during the 1986 story arc.
We've already established the Browns as Robin in this casting call. So, it only makes sense to cast Modell as Joker.
Putting aside that Spoiler is a female character, this choice does not focus as much on the actual character as the name itself.
Considering the playoffs are in their sight, it also seems likely that Denver could spoil the postseason hopes of their AFC West foes.
Most recently, the Broncos have potentially spoiled the playoff aspirations of the Chicago Bears, rallying from 10 points down with less than three minute remaining.
Whether for being spoiled or spoiling somebody else's party, the Broncos are cast simply as Spoiler.
Why Cat-Man for Jacksonville?
He's just another cat character that nobody cares about...
Casual NFL fans barely know the Jacksonville roster. The fans have been entirely apathetic about the product, and nothing has happened for years to excite about the Jags.
Maybe fewer local blackouts, some established long-term success after the Tom Couglin era and some real confirmation that new ownership isn't going to head westward (a.k.a. fans showing up for games) could convince me to reconsider this association.
How tempting it was to select the Electrocutioner!
However, the former Harvey Dent provides a more appropriate analogy. With the Chargers, you can get the good... or you can get the bad!
The Chargers have frequently had dynamic offensive juggernauts.
Lance Alworth, a.k.a. "Bambi," revolutionized the position of receiver and the passing game. Dan Fouts and "Air Coryell" lit up the NFL scoreboard through the air. And today, Philip Rivers is often considered an elite quarterback on an offense that features receiving greats in Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.
With so much talent, San Diego has had great moments in the last eight seasons.
They upset the heavily favored Colts and Peyton Manning in Indianapolis during the 2007-08 NFL playoffs. The Chargers have frequently made the postseason, often overcoming huge odds to get there, and they started the 2011 season 4-1.
Despite having a solid offense and returning in 2011 with a defense that ranked tops in the league a year ago, San Diego lost six straight games to fall to 4-7. This was not their first Jekyll and Hyde act.
In 2008, the Chargers started 4-8, only to win their final four games and win the AFC West over the Denver Broncos, who were previously 8-4.
Whether it's winning or losing, the Chargers do both in spurts. Whatever streak they are on is convincing; they know both the thrill of victory and agony of defeat in copious quantities and often in the same season.
So, who are the Chargers? Are they the playoff team with the talent to beat anybody? Or, are they underachievers losing games in long stretches that they should win?
Here's how to figure it out: Flip a coin!
Bad heads means the Chargers lose. Good heads will indicate a victory.
In mythology, a Titan is associated with power, and there may be no more powerful man in the Batman chronology than Bane.
Creating another interesting connection, the character Bane—a strategist who also prides himself on physicality (an attribute often used by Jeff Fisher in team huddles to describe Tennessee)- used a drug called Venom to give him superhuman strength.
More recently, creators have used the name "Titan Formula" in place of the term "Venom," making this an obvious choice.
Gordon is a good cop, unadulterated by the corruption of the GCPD when he arrives as lieutenant from Chicago. Over time, with the help of Batman, Gordon cleans up the cesspool that is law enforcement in a city that desperately needs it.
Batman placed his trust in Gordon (and vice versa), and the two worked together to try making Gotham a safer place and bring justice to their home.
He generously offered to donate his time, effort and money into rebuilding. Indirectly, his talents improved a floundering franchise, reinvigorating them and giving fans in the community a reason to cheer.
Their cheers reached crescendo when Tracy Porter intercepted Peyton Manning in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIV. Without Brees' steady arm in a 32-for-39 passing effort, the finale would have never happened.
Off the field, Brees is a family man and serves as a role model that too few athletes are willing to portray.
On the field, he utilizes his resources, and the team stakes their complete trust in his ability. Few quarterbacks are able to find as many receivers over the course of a sixty minute game as Brees, who utilizes all of the talent on the field.
When it comes to describing the type of professional athlete that people should try to emulate, words fall short for the former Boilermaker.
Killer Moth is a villain that wants to be taken seriously. He desperately seeks the approval of other criminals but always falls short in the execution. From his wardrobe to his reputation, he is the laughingstock of Gotham rogues.
Minus Kurt Warner's tenure in the desert, the Cardinals have been a losing franchise with very few glorious moments, essentially the laughingstock of the NFL.
Did you see how I made that connection?
Those recalling their years of struggling may remember coach Dennis Green's meltdown after a 24-23 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. At home, Arizona led 23-3 before allowing Chicago to rally.
The Bears overcame the late deficit without scoring an offensive touchdown. It was the essence of a "Killer Moth" meltdown.
OK, so choosing a female daredevil who rides around in a rocket to represent the team from the space capital isn't exactly inspired.
So what? This isn't as easy as it looks! Texans fans should be thrilled.
I almost selected Shame the Cowboy.
Love him or hate him, the bombastic coach infuses a confidence in his players, but this is often preceded by a firestorm (or three) caused by his oft-controversial remarks.
One of the classic quotes by the confident head coach involved the successful Bill Belichick, when Ryan commented he wasn't in New York to kiss the Patriots' rings.
That and, you know, Super Bowl guarantees, tend to spark a few flames around the NFL circles.
With anybody willing to speak up, the risk is always there for people to take things the wrong way. Whether or not his words are always appropriate, you can always count on a few firestorms that need to be put out during the tenure of Rex.
While the newest coach of Gang Green is the focal point for this selection, many respected people, from politicians to priests, viewed Joe Namath as a negative influence. Namath's persona caused an original firestorm decades ago.
Halloween is only 10 months away, so the time to start planning is now!
For Rex Ryan, dressing as the Penguin would be masterful. Picture it on his mug, shown above.
1. Have a french cigarette holder in his mouth, like the classic Burgess Meredith look from the 60's.
2. Place a monocle over his eye.
3. Put a top hat about his head with a purple ribbon.
4. Add a prosthetic to the end of his nose, noting that less is more. Don't be ridiculous about it!
And, while the tuxedo would complete the outfit, I don't think it would be necessary in context. Let's be honest, that face screams for becoming Oswald Cobblepot!
Once the former Robin, Dick Grayson emancipated himself from the shadow of the Batman and found success as the vigilante Nightwing.
When he was introduced, Nightwing immediately became a fan favorite character. After decades of wearing a yellow cape and tights alongside Batman, the legendary Dick Grayson was taking off on his own, and it intrigued readers.
The sudden and immediate success of Cam Newton in his first year in the NFL has piqued the intrigue and curiosity of NFL fans everywhere. His gameplay is electrifying, and like Grayson, he is considered among the most athletic of his peers. He is a fan favorite, and he demands fans' attention when he comes into NFL cities.
Newton, like Nightwing, is simply cool. After dominating the college landscape, the sky seems to be the limit for Cam in big boy football.
Here's are date for Colts fans to mark on their calendar:
April 26, 2012: NFL Draft: To Luck, or Not to Luck?
I'm sorry, Dallas fans. Your successful, five-time Super Bowl winning franchise deserves more that the most "rootinest, tootinest, unforgiving" cowboy...in Gotham City?
I just couldn't resist. In fact, I originally had the organization slated as the Joker. Love him or hate him, you can't resist having a strong emotional response to the Clown Prince of Crime. The Cowboy's are America's Team, and the Joker is America's bad guy.
Admittedly, beyond cheating Dallas out of a main character, I even apologized to Houston fans for ALMOST choosing Shame to represent their franchise. What can I say?
A cowboy is a cowboy is a cowboy...right?
(It could be that I still have some angst left over from Super Bowl XXX, considering that I'm a Steelers fan. But, really, that couldn't be it, could it?)
In the comics, Hush was a close childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, unbeknownst to Batman or his alter-ego.
In 2007, the Giants would become friends with the mass number of Brady and Belichick haters when they took down the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Like Wayne's surprise at Hush's unmasking, NFL fans—from realists to dreamers—didn't foresee the Big Apple's "Big Blue" giving them such a kindness.
A week of assurances and expert guarantees of a 19-0 season came to a sudden, screeching halt. The Patriots, being christened for their title as the best team in history leading into the Super Bowl, left the field defeated.
Logic and foresight in the NFL was turned upside down and onto its head, and the Giants silenced all the noise revolving around the historic Pats.
Shocked, albeit pleased, fans celebrated en masse.
Meanwhile, those who anointed the Pats fell silent as the G-Men said, "Hush!"
With Brett Favre having a career year, Jared Allen and the defense getting after opponents relentlessly and Adrian Peterson running over the opposition, fans in Minnesota had a lot to be excited about as the Vikings drove toward a potential game-winning field goal in the 2009-10 NFC Championship Game.
Then, it happened.
Favre threw his patented momentum killing interception in the playoffs, and the Saints capitalized by winning the game in overtime.
Nevertheless, hopes were surely high in the weeks following the game that the Vikings talented roster could take another shot at championship glory.
(At about this time, Narcosis sent Vikings fans into an endless dream state.)
Unfortunately, dreams can be nightmares, and fans in Minnesota have been stuck in an endless nightmare since that fateful Favre turnover in Louisiana.
Looking over the annals of NFL history, most fans are aware of the 49ers great success over two decades in the 80's and 90's. Fewer fans may realize that San Francisco has been a fairly consistent winner even beyond their championship era, one of the most consistent franchises in the NFL.
For that reason, the team surely deserves a more mainstream character selection.
However, few squads are blessed with two great quarterbacks in succession than Steve Young and Joe Montana.
Montana revolutionized offense in the early 80's and beyond, taking the principles of Bill Walsh's West Coast philosophy and turning into film room science, on-field poetry and passing artistry.
After Montana's days as a starter ended in San Fran, Steve Young took the helm. Young was normally the NFL's highest-rated passer, setting new benchmarks for what it means to be an efficient NFL quarterback. In 1994, one of the greatest passing seasons ever, Young averaged over 12 yards per throw and tossed six touchdowns in the Super Bowl.
They may not be the most fitting characters in terms of prestige, but considering their armament of signal callers, how can the 49ers not be remembered for their Trigger Twins?
A deranged scientist known for his mind control technology, Jervis Tetch truly believes Gotham City to be carnation of Wonderland. His goal is to find his "Alice" to fit within his distorted reality.
In Cincinnati, Chad Ochocinco had been ringing the praises of the Bengals for years. He would often proclaim his team as "not the same old Bengals."
Then, in the two postseasons in which his Bengals participated, the former Chad Johnson lost immediately in the playoffs, bringing an end to his illusion of team dominance and delusions of personal grandeur.
With such public acts of self-promotion, it was clear that Chad wasn't comfortable enough to allow his performances to speak for themselves (they often couldn't). From his mock Hall of Fame jacket to a casual river dance, Johnson was always working hard to create more public hype than his production warranted.
Were you among the brainwashed?
Like the bombastic receiver, the Bengals have occasionally striven for a happy ending only to have the story end in sorrow. In two Super Bowls, Joe Montana ended the franchise's championship aspirations, proving them to be mere fairy tales in a reality dominated by San Francisco.
Maybe I'd have an easier time believing the Bengals were not existing in a self-made alternate reality if those helmets upon their heads weren't more eccentric than Jervis Tetch's hats themselves.
Ras al Ghul is a villain obsessed with the state of the world. His goal is the purification of mankind by the most extreme approach possible: resetting the stage. By essentially ending life and beginning anew, his hope is to bring Earth to its former pristine glory.
While he has attempted to recruit Batman by his side in this crusade, his efforts did not begin in modern times. Ras is centuries old, kept alive by a fountain of youth known as the "Lazarus Pit." When he nears death, a dunk in the pit rejuvenates him and allows him to carry on his business of cleansing humanity, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
The Green Bay Packers have seen the worst of times. Then, like a phoenix, they always rise profoundly.
In the days of Curly Lambeau, the Packers consistently won.
Then, they hit a stretch of futility before the arrival of Vince Lombardi, possibly the most acclaimed NFL coach in history.
After years of struggling, Lombardi breathed new life into the Pack, and Green Bay won three consecutive NFL titles to send the coach into apparent retirement.
After Vince left Green Bay, the team's success died off. Veterans aged and left the squad, and the Packers struggled through a hapless period for about 20 years.
Then, Mike Holmgren arrived and gave them a dunk in the proverbial Lazarus Pit. He improved the roster by bringing in Reggie White, and he eventually started Brett Favre under center. The result was magical and culminated in a Super Bowl XXXI victory.
While Green Bay won after Holmgren, they never reached the level of prestige they had earned with him. Coaches came and went, and the Packers ultimately fell into losing ways toward the middle of the 2000's.
Then, Mike McCarthy gave them another reboot. Favre had the initial success under the coach, but we all know how that circus turned out. Ultimately, the Packers won another championship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Considered one of Batman's more dangerous enemies, Ras al Ghul cannot be taken lightly. Apparently, neither can the 13-0 defending champion Green Bay Packers.