Name: Steve Rogers
Strengths: Enhanced strength, agility and durability; unparalleled leadership skills
NFL Counterpart: Peyton Manning
What he brings: Beyond his physical gifts, Captain America has proved time and again that he can lead anyone into (and out of) any situation. Should a game ever be in doubt, the mere presence of Cap makes victory pretty much guaranteed. And if there was any question as to his playing the quarterback position, let's not forget that he's been throwing that shield for decades.
Name: Charles Xavier
Position: Head Coach
NFL Counterpart: Bill Belichick
What he brings: While it would be easy for the world's most powerful telepath to read the minds of the opposing offensive and defensive coordinators, that's not Professor X's style. He can instantly know changes in his players' moods, the true depth of their injury statuses and more. Plus, his experience running a school full of angsty teenagers with superhuman powers makes him more than qualified to guide a team full of football players with superhuman powers.
Name: Anthony "Tony" Stark
Position: Offensive Coordinator
Strength: Scientific genius
NFL Counterpart: Sean Payton
What he brings: For this superhero football squad, Tony Stark is actually more effective without his trademark Iron Man armor. His genius intellect allows him to see five moves ahead, tying the opposition's defensive coordinator in knots. The patterns of the gridiron open themselves up him, and it isn't long before the team is running up the score.
Name: Clint Barton
Position: Wide Receiver
NFL Counterpart: Alshon Jeffery
What he brings: At first glance, Hawkeye's inhuman accuracy sounds like a worthwhile trait for a quarterback, not a receiver. But as an archer, Hawkeye doesn't throw things, he shoots them. No, what makes Hawkeye a great wide receiver is that his understanding of targeting and timing means he always knows exactly where the ball is going to be, and he can get there to catch it. His knack for making incredible, heart-stopping catches is second to none.
Name: Pietro Maximoff
Position: Wide Receiver
Strength: Super Speed
NFL Counterpart: Antonio Brown
What he brings: Speed, of course. And the perfect complement to Hawkeye on the other side of the field. Whether a quick out-route or a deep ball, Quicksilver can get in position before the DB's even know the ball has been snapped. His elusiveness allows him to rack nearly 1,500 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Name: Luke Cage
Position: Offensive Tackle
Strength: Super strength, impenetrable skin
NFL Counterpart: Louis Vasquez
What he brings: Luke Cage isn't just strong, a necessary component in an offensive lineman, he also possesses impenetrable skin, meaning nothing gets through. Especially not anyone on the D-Line. He can keep even the most tenacious defenders at bay, giving quarterback Captain America plenty of time. Cap can order a pizza and have it delivered before he has to throw.
Name: James "Logan" Howlett
Position: Running Back
Strengths: Metal skeleton, healing factor
NFL Counterpart: Adrian Peterson
What he brings: At 5'3" and built like a truck, Wolverine is already an ideal candidate for running back. When factoring in his skeleton bonded with the unbreakable metal adamantium, and his ability to heal nearly instantly from any wound, he can break the single-season carries record without breaking a sweat. Just imagine a workhorse who could suffer an ACL tear in the first quarter and be back on the field by the second.
Name: Bobby Drake
Position: Tight End
Strengths: Ice creation and manipulation; Nearly impervious to damage
NFL Counterpart: Jimmy Graham
What he brings: Though his touchdown celebrations make him seem like a big kid, as if he doesn't have a care in the world, Bobby Drake often shows that he has ice in his veins. In fact, his veins are ice. His seemingly reckless manner can be seen as a detriment to his team, but those that see him play know that there are few better at his position in the league.
Position: Defensive Coordinator
Strength: Tactical genius
NFL Counterpart: Dick LeBeau
What he brings: Much like offensive coordinator Tony Stark, Black Panther's true value comes on the sideline. As the king of Wakanda, one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth, his specialty is defense. In fact, his home nation has never been successfully invaded, a testament to T'Challa's defensive capabilities. He's also a certified genius with skills in counterintelligence, as well as politics, all of which give him an almost superhuman knack for subterfuge. Few are as adept as he at disguising coverages or devising complex schemes to confuse and frustrate opposing OC's.
Name: Dr. Bruce Banner
Position: Defensive Tackle
Strengths: Superhuman strength
NFL Counterpart: DeMarcus Ware
What he brings: Hulk does one thing and one thing well: Smash. Offensive linemen will have their work cut out for them trying to stop him, and opposing quarterbacks are likely to spend more time on their backs than upright. Of course, there is a downside to all that raw power: Hulk must inevitably return to his human Bruce Banner form, meaning he can't play every down.
Name: Ben Grimm
Position: Defensive End
Strengths: Super strength, rocky skin
NFL Counterpart: J. J. Watt
What he brings: The ever-loving, blue-eyed Thing has been one of the most passionate, hard-fighting, hard-hitting heroes since forever. His rocky exterior ensures that he doesn't take much damage but loves dishing it out to whomever gets in his way. And as he blitzes the competition he takes great pleasure in shouting his catch phrase: "It's clobberin' time!"
Name: Thor Odinson
Position: Outside Linebacker
Strengths: Superhuman strength; flight; control over thunder and lightning
NFL Counterpart: Clay Matthews
What he brings: In a nutshell? Thor is an outside linebacker who excels at bringing the thunder to opposing quarterbacks. His (literal) god-like strength gives him the edge, and with his hammer Mjolnir, a weapon few in the universe can even lift, he's proven he's one of the most powerful in the league. And when in doubt, he can simply call lightning down on his enemies... though that might be a little too unfair.
Name: Dr. Henry McCoy
Position: Inside Linebacker
Strength: Enhanced strength, reflexes, agility; genius intellect
NFL Counterpart: Patrick Willis. (Sorry, Marshawn Lynch)
What he brings: The inside linebacker from the X-Men is often considered the quarterback of the defense, and with Beast's strength, speed and intelligence one would be hard pressed to find a better player holding down the middle of the field. He's more than capable recognizing offensive sets and changing formations on the fly to match them as needed.
Name: Peter Parker
Strengths: Superhuman agility, reflexes, spider sense, intelligence, perseverance
NFL Counterpart: Richard Sherman
What he brings: Just like he sticks to walls and buildings while fighting crime, Spider-Man's equally adept at sticking to receivers, leaving them no chance of catching any passes. His spider sense tells him when the ball is near, allowing him to put his hands up just in the nick of time. And with his penchant for banter, he's more than skilled at the trash talking expected of a defensive back.
Name: Kurt Wagner
Strengths: Agility, teleportation
NFL Counterpart: Earl Thomas
What he brings: No matter how far down the field an opposing receiver might get, Kurt has no trouble catching up to him with his teleportation ability. He seems to come out of nowhere sometimes, and makes the big plays happen. In fact, there's nothing he loves more than waiting until a wide receiver starts high-stepping toward the end zone and then teleporting right next to him and knocking the ball out at the last second.
More Photo Essays:
- Heisman winners and the Super Bowl
- Notable NFL players who were college walk-ons
- Mind-blowing stats for the Super Bowl
- Top 10 active players without a Super Bowl ring
- Super Bowl 50 Golden Team
- Mind-blowing stats for Super Bowl 50
- Super Bowl memories
- Top 10 all-time fantasy football Super Bowl players
- Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb among 10 biggest playoff disappointments