HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) is introduced before the football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans on October 8, 2017 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Marvel cinematic universe, or as it is commonly known as the MCU, is one of the most successful movie franchises in history. Starting out with the original Iron Man movie in 2008, the franchise has expanded immensely, growing to include 20 movies thus far. With the recent release of the 20th installment, Ant-Man and the Wasp, I decided to take a look at the current NFL and cast certain stars as different heroes within the MCU

JJ Watt as the Hulk

This was the easiest comparison to make. Watt is an absolute force on the field that is nearly impossible to stop. The Hulk is the strongest of the Avengers and can single handedly take down an army with pure strength and aggression. Off the field, Watt is an easy going, kind person. He raised over 37 million dollars in relief efforts for Houston after hurricane Harvey and is considered as one of the NFL’s top humanitarians. Off the battlefield, the Hulk is actually Dr. Bruce Banner, a shy yet genius scientist. Known as one of the brightest minds in the world, Banner, much like Watt, is pretty easy going and kind when he is not at war. However, in between the lines of battle, both turn into different beasts. Finally, we have not seen either of them in full action for awhile, as Watt missed the majority of last season with an injury, and in Avengers Infinity War, the Hulk appeared for all of two minutes before refusing to come out and leaving Banner to his own devices. Both are expected to make a big impact in their next appearance, the Hulk in Avengers 4 and Watt this coming September.

Drew Brees as Captain America

It was a tough choice for who would take the mantel of Steve Rodgers, but in the end Brees is the best choice. He isn’t the biggest guy, standing just six feet tall, yet he plays with more heart than almost anyone in the league, much like Rodgers before the super soldier serum turned him into what he is today. Brees is a long time veteran of the league, and Captain America is the oldest member of the Avengers. They both seem to get better with age as well, as Brees just set the NFL record for completion percentage this past season. Captain America is known by all MCU fans as someone who makes the people around him better, and this is definitely true with Brees as well. With limited weapons around him, he has still managed to throw for over 5000 yards five times while no other quarterback has done that more than once. He turned the likes of Marques Colston and Robert Meachum into feared wideouts. Captain America meanwhile turned Sam Wilson, a man with no powers, into a feared Avenger.

Kareem Hunt as Spider-Man

Hunt burst onto the scene last season, leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie. Coming into the NFL as a third round pick from Toledo, the odds for Hunt being a star were against him. Yet, he overcame those odds and quickly became one of the best running backs in football. Similarly, Peter Parker is written off by many of his fellow heroes because he is young and inexperienced, yet he is able to prove his worth to the Avengers and become one of their most valuable assets. Yes, Spider-Man is technically dead right now, but Spider-Man 2 has already been confirmed, so a comeback for Parker should be expected. They both will continue to get better as well and eventually take the reins from their predecessors as the face of the NFL/Avengers.

Rob Gronkowski as Thor

Gronk is the most dominant force in the NFL when he is healthy, breaking tackles and defenders’ wills with ease. It takes multiple people to bring him down on any given play. Thor, meanwhile, has proven himself as one of the mightiest Avengers, being able to lift and control one of the universe’s greatest weapons, Mjolnir, and recently took the full power of a star right to his body and survived. Both are also hilarious. Gronk is a non stop party, and Thor recently showed his comedic side in Ragnarok.

Deshaun Watson as Black Panther

Both new additions to their respective universes, Watson and T’Challa both made huge entrances in the debuts. Watson had what was possibly the greatest six game stretch in NFL history, while Black Panther shattered box office records. They both have overcome adversity, Watson having to get over multiple ACL tears and T’Challa having to overcome the death of his father. Their similarities continue on the field, as Watson’s agility and quickness almost mirrors that of T’Challa. Each are expected to carry their teams in the future, Watson to a Super Bowl and T’Challa to saving the world.

Cam Newton as Iron Man

This was fairly simple as well. Both are the faces of the respective teams, both are incredibly powerful, and they both carry an arrogant swagger about them. Tony Stark lets the world know that he is Iron Man, while Newton will be the first to tell you that he is the best quarterback in football. Stark is a self proclaimed genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, while Newton has no doubt in his mind that he will be the greatest football player ever. This one almost made too much sense.

Bill Belichick/Tom Brady as Thanos

Belichick and Brady are synonymous with total victory. They have been rulers of the NFL for over a decade now, tallying five super bowl titles together. They are also each hated by fans who are not Patriot fans because of how dominant they are. Brady and Belichick constantly make others look inferior and obsolete next to their greatness. The duo is considered the NFL’s big bad. It is only fitting then that the most evil and most powerful character to date in the MCU draws the comparison. Thanos was able to not only defeat the Avengers, but he was able to destroy half the universe on the way to total conquest. They each currently sit on their respective thrones, however, we know from the end of Infinity War that there is a greater power coming ready to defeat the big bad that rules. Speaking of which…

Nick Foles as Captain Marvel

Fans of the MCU know that Captain Marvel is supposed to be the most powerful character ever seen, and that she will be the key to defeating Thanos. Foles did not have those kind of expectations when he took over for Carson Wentz, but he was able to lead the Eagles and defeat the evil Patriots in the Super Bowl. If what all the fan theories say is true, then Captain Marvel will defeat Thanos in Avengers 4, just like Foles defeated Brady and Belichick in Super Bowl 52.

Marcus Williams as Star Lord

There is only one reason why these two match up so well, and that is that they are both responsible for the defeat of their respective teams. Williams missed an easy tackle on the Minneapolis Miracle play and handed the Vikings the game, and Star Lord doomed the Avengers by attacking Thanos just as they were about to end his chances at killing them all. Sadly, these moments are what these two will be remembered for, even though both have done a lot of good elsewhere.

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