Blade Runners: NFL Greats as Harrison Ford Characters


Football is a young man's game, but for some NFL stalwarts, there is life after 40. We're seeing it this season as Tom Brady once again plays at an MVP level, despite celebrating his 40th birthday in August.

Brady isn't the only pro footballer to play into middle age though, nor is he the only figure in pop culture to keep grinding long after his peers called it quits.

Over the past 10 years, Harrison Ford has been on something of a reunion tour with his most iconic movie franchises. Fans no longer have to wonder what Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Rick Deckard would look like as senior citizens.

In anticipation of Blade Runner 2049 releasing this weekend, we've decided to answer the question that no one asked:

Which late-career Harrison Ford sequel best describes a late-career NFL great?

Our analysis, below.

Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

QB Warren Moon

Warren Moon is one of the best QBs to ever play the game, just like Han Solo is one of the best smugglers to ever become a galactic war hero.

Although a top performer at the collegiate level, Moon went undrafted by the NFL so he instead went north to the Canadian Football League, where he won 5 consecutive Grey Cup championships from 1978-1982.

That's at least as impressive as making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs with the Millennium Falcon.

When the NFL came to their senses and finally started making offers to Moon, he became a franchise QB for the Houston Oilers, leading the league in passing yards twice. By the time Moon retired, he held several passing records: most completions, attempts, passing yards, and touchdowns (all of which have been surpassed). He became the first African-American quarterback to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as well as the first undrafted QB to be inducted.

Han Solo was awarded a medal of honor for his help taking down the Death Star, which seems about equal.

Moon played professionally for over two decades, but he was showing his age in his last years as a backup with the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2000, he had the opportunity to play two games, and though he threw a TD, he also allowed Ryan Leaf's San Diego Chargers their only win for the season.

Han Solo was similarly running out of tricks by the time of The Force Awakens. Han and Chewie probably would've been eaten by Kanjiklub's rathtars without a last minute save from new friends Rey and Finn, but Han Solo's career would end shortly after anyway, following an awkward reunion with his son, Kylo Ren.

Indiana Jones in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

QB Doug Flutie

Indiana Jones escaped a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator. During his time with the 1986 Bears, Doug Flutie was also saved by a fridge -- Walter Payton.

Thanks to Payton's outstanding running and an all-time great defense, the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl the previous year, but in '86, uncertainty at QB held the team back from dominating the league. Flutie was acquired in a trade and played four games for the Bears, including starting their playoff game against Washington, which they lost 27-13, ending Chicago's hopes of a championship repeat.

Indiana Jones traveled the world in search of rare artifacts, and Flutie was similarly an accomplished journeyman. He was a star his one year in the USFL, and during his eight years in the CFL, he was named Most Outstanding Player six times and won three Grey Cups.

Flutie has the most rushing yards (212), and the most rushing touchdowns (4), for any player after turning 40 years old. Indiana Jones has the most biblical artifacts (2), and alien weapons (1), for an archaeologist of any age.

Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049

WR Jerry Rice

In Blade Runner, Harrison Ford played a bitter ex-cop in a futuristic Los Angeles, eliminating bioengineered humans called Replicants before discovering (spoiler alert for 35 year old film) he's a Replicant himself.

In the NFL, Jerry Rice played wide receiver in '80s and '90s San Francisco, eliminating opposing defenses with uncommon speed and catching ability before discovering (spoiler alert for 19-year career) he is the greatest WR of all time.

Rice holds over 100 NFL records, the most of any player by a wide margin, including receptions, TD catches, and receiving yards. He won three Super Bowls, was named an All-Pro 12 different years, and twice earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Deckard holds no awards and no records, but he did defeat Roy Batty in the rain, which is the one thing Jerry Rice never did in his career.

Both Deckard and Rice can sometimes be a little lacking in awareness. For Deckard, he doesn't quite put the pieces together that he's just like the people he's hunting. For Rice, he admitted to using Stickum on his gloves without realizing that would've been against the rules.

In the sequel releasing this weekend, we know Ryan Gosling's character seeks out out Deckard to help stop some new threat. So what has Deckard been up to in his time off?

Probably nothing quite as interesting as Jerry Rice, who in his retirement has excelled in his season on Dancing with the Stars and apparently spends most of his weekends crashing strangers' weddings, like a more athletic Bill Murray.

Will Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner 2049 be the Tim Brown and Jerry Rice of the early-aughts Raiders? And if so, who is their Rich Gannon? What is the Blade Runner equivalent of Super Bowl XXXVII and how is Jon Gruden involved?

These are the questions that lead us to this conclusion: it's time for the article to end before the whole premise completely falls apart.

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