Name that (fantasy) team
Even the most knowledgeable fantasy football players only have so much control over their team’s fortunes.
Sure, you can identify an under-the-radar player who has a favorable matchup, but an unexpected injury, bad weather or just an off day can derail your team that week, and it’s not as if you can go and coach him up at halftime.
But there is one aspect of fantasy sports over which players do have absolute control: the name of their team. The moniker can be one to convey power and excellence, humor, admiration for a particular player or team or hype for one’s self.
If you’re a comic book fan as well, it also provides a chance to mash up two of your favorite pastimes.
A couple years ago, I finally retired my long-time fantasy football team name of the Flushing Toilets (who played their imaginary games at Shea Stadium in Flushing, N.Y.) in favor of the Beta Ray Bills, in honor of one of my two favorite Thor understudies. Sorry, Eric Masterson, the Thunderstrikes doesn’t quite cut it for me, though your vest and mullet will never be forgotten.
In football pick ’em contests, I’ve continued to simultaneously pay homage to one of my favorite NFL players and the DC Universe’s premiere intergalactic peacekeeping force with the Darrell Green Lanterns.
Variations on the latter could recognize Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer “Mean” Joe Greene or former Vikings and Cardinals coach Dennis Green (“They are who we thought they were!”). You could also change up the superhero connection with, say, the Green (Bay) Arrows.
Folks who are both Packer and Lantern fines – how small is that Venn diagram? – could reach into the past and across the emotional spectrum for the Bart Starr Sapphires. Or, if backup running backs and hope are your jam, consider the Alfred Blue Lanterns. Maybe another Texans bench player and Image comics are more to your liking. Then hitch your wagon to the team’s young backup QB with the Tom Savage Dragons.
Like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Superman? How about the Men of Steelers? Prefer younger heroes and older quarterbacks? Consider Steve Young Justice.
Maybe you, like me, cheer for a certain team whose name you fully believe is not meant by fans to be racist but nevertheless probably needs changed. If you also like your justice excessively violent, you could field the Judge Dreddskins.
You don’t really have to reach very far to link superheroes and football. Back in the early ’90s, Marvel did a tie-in series with the NFL, featuring a guy wearing armor to make someone the ultimate football player. Relive days some would rather see forgotten with the NFL Superpros!
Then there was Marvel’s New Universe title featuring an entire team of former pro football players. Although I don’t think any of them attempted extra points or field goals, Kickers Inc. could work, especially if you stream a new one every other week.
And a friend pointed out the easiest, most upbeat comic name to co-opt, harkening back to the early days of Marvel: the All-Winners Squad. Or if that’s too presumptuous, you could try the Thor Losers.
By the time you read this, a new chapter in an obscure franchise called “Star Wars” will be in theaters. Perhaps the Force will be strong with your team if they’re called the Atlantium Falcons, Philadelphia Ewoks or the Wookies of the Year. If you subscribe to the theory that defense wins championships and believe “The Phantom Menace” wasn’t as terrible as some say, maybe even … the Jar Jar Watts?