"Iron Man 3" is in theaters right now and if you haven't seen it already, what are you waiting for? Well, unless you're like me and you've boycotted Marvel movies until Jack Kirby gets what's coming to him!
In any event, with the term "Iron Man" being thrown around, it got me thinking of some of the most iron-man like performances in NFL history.
And without further ado ...
Philip Rivers 2007 AFC Championship Game
Rivers previously tore his ACL but still played valiantly against the undefeated New England Patriots. Rivers' effort was even more magnified when put up against the image of his teammate LaDainian Tomlinson wrapped up in a jacket sitting on the bench with an injury. Fair or not, people criticized Tomlinson while Rivers was given a ton of credit.
All right, you might not expect a true iron-man performance to come in a Lions and Browns game, but it happened. Stafford injured his shoulder, but he picked himself off the turf long enough to throw the winning touchdown pass. Best of all? It was captured brilliantly in this mic'd up segment.
Emmitt Smith 1993 season finale
With a first-round playoff berth on the line, Smith played with a separated shoulder as the Cowboys won a thriller in overtime over the host New York Giants. The Cowboys would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII and Smith would be selected as the game's MVP.
Jim Marshall's entire career
Sure Brett Favre holds the NFL record with 297 consecutive starts. And all due respect to him and his toughness. But he's a quarterback. Marshall played in 270 consecutive games as a defensive lineman and before all of the advancements in modern medicine. I'd never take away from what Favre did, but Marshall is too often overlooked for his accomplishment so he's getting his due here.
There are fewer ironmen in the NFL than the last of the original two-way players. And by two-way players, I mean 60-minute men. Concrete Charlie wasn't a defensive back lined up in the slot for a gimmick play, or a receiver filling taking some snaps in the defensive secondary. Bednarik played linebacker and center.
Jack Youngblood 1979 playoffs
There is tough, and then there is Jack Youngblood. The standout of the Rams defense broke his leg in the divisional playoffs against the Cowboys. He managed to play in the NFC Championship Game the following week and Super Bowl XIV after that. The topper? He even played in the Pro Bowl. Remember that the next time one of the millionaires begs out of the game with a malady.
Adam Rank has never won an award. For anything. We don't mean to be harsh, but it's true. You can follow him on Twitter @adamrank. Oh, and if you liked this (right!), check him out on the latest "Dave Dameshek Football Program". Which, come to think of it won an award. So Rank has won something meaningful. Yes, meaningful unlike this latest post. Am I right? But follow him on Twitter, please. He's taking us to lunch if he gets 25 more Twitter followers today.