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All 32 NFL Teams Reimagined As Famous Authors


This is probably the worst idea I’ve ever had for a blog post. So you’ll probably want to stop reading now.

Yet onward I go, wasting an hour of my life reimagining NFL teams as famous authors.

Why? I have no idea, other than, well, the Super Bowl is on Sunday.

I fashion myself a renaissance man. Not really, but I can carry on a conversation about both the Dallas Cowboys and Cormac McCarthy without missing a beat. If you’re the same, maybe you’ll dig this post.

So without further delay, here are all 32 NFL teams reimagined as famous authors.

Arizona Cardinals: David Foster Wallace. Have you been to Arizona? It’s 20 degrees in Flagstaff then you drive 20 miles downhill to Sedona and it’s 70 degrees. You’re up, you’re down, you’re hot, you’re cold. It’s Infinite Jest!

Atlanta Falcons: William Golding. This is my team. I’ve followed the Falcons for probably 30 years and had season tickets when I lived in Atlanta. Historically, the Falcons have had a Lord of the Flies every-man-for-himself situation going on with some of the worst coaches in NFL history–Jerry Glanville the whack job, Michael Vick and his dogfighting and Bobby Petrino. The last five years have been pretty stable, but this past season I sensed more cannibalistic activity in the locker room. Who has the conch?

Baltimore Ravens: Edgar Allen Poe. Sorry. I had to do it.

Buffalo Bills: James Dickey. Wait a minute, Buffalo has a football team? Wait a minute, some dude named James Dickey wrote Deliverance? It was actually a book too?

Carolina Panthers: James Frey. When I think of the Panthers, I think of Cam Newton, who reminds me of a used car salesman on the football field. In the literary world, that would be James Frey, who scammed Oprah and millions of people into believing his book, A Million Little Pieces, was a memoir when it was mostly fiction.

Chicago Bears: Ernest Hemingway. First, it’s Chicago. A manly city. Second, it’s Bears. A manly animal. If Hemingway was still alive, he would be a Bears fan and likely be best friends with Mike Ditka.

Cincinnati Bengals: Hunter S. Thompson. Go and look at Hunter S. Thompson’s daily routine. I’m guessing the training camp schedule for the Cincinnati Bengals looks similar. A few years ago, I believe “convicted felon” was a prerequisite for making the Bengals roster.

Cleveland Browns:  George Orwell. The Browns used to be the Browns before the Browns became the Ravens and a new Browns team was created. George Orwell used to be Eric Blair before he became famous and everyone started calling him by his pen name, George Orwell.

Dallas Cowboys: Jonathan Franzen. They used to be good, but they haven’t been relevant in years. Like Notre Dame. And Franzen.

Denver Broncos: William Faulkner. When Peyton Manning calls out a play for the Broncos, no one knows what he’s talking about. It’s like a Faulkner novel read through the lens of football lingo.

Detroit Lions: James Agee. Who’s James Agee? He’s the author of A Death in the Familyone of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. Agee is from Tennessee, but his style is definitely Detroit, which has to be one of the most depressing cities in America, and home to one of the NFL’s historically worst teams, the Lions.

Green Bay Packers: J.R.R. Tolkien. The Packers have a cultish following, like Tolkien. Their fans also wear blocks of cheese on their heads, unlike Tolkien.

Houston Texans: Ayn Rand. The Texans were popular for a year, last year actually, and that’s been about it. All in all, the Texans are just a bland, forgettable football team. And Ayn Rand? Other than a few Tea Party folks, does anyone even find her work enjoyable? It’s bad writing, and it’s as bland and forgettable as they come.

Indianapolis Colts: Stephen King. The Colts are one of the stalwarts of the NFL—first in Baltimore, now Indianapolis. They’ve been around forever, much like Stephen King. He’s the wise, old Obi Wan of modern novelists, I think.

Jacksonville Jaguars. Thomas Pynchon. Few people have ever seen Thomas Pynchon in person. He’s the living, breathing version of a Jacksonville Jaguars game.

Kansas City Chiefs: C.S. Lewis. He was clean and proper. He wrote crisp and clean sentences. He has a lot of fans passionate about his work. The Chiefs remind me of Lewis a little. Clean uniforms. Good reputation. Great fans.

Miami Dolphins: E.L. James. Going to Dolphins game in Miami gets you all hot and sweaty, just like reading 50 Shades of Gray.

Minnesota Vikings: George R.R. Martin. It just fits, doesn’t it?

New England Patriots: James Joyce. Let’s be honest, the Patriots are kind of snooty, right? Bellichek’s a jerk. Tom Brady’s a pretentious a-hole. It’s James Joyce!

New Orleans Saints: Vladimir Nabokov. When you go to a Saints game in New Orleans, you should know that, just down the road, there’s a lot of weird, creepy stuff going on. When you read a Nabokov novel, you should know that, in just a few pages, you’ll read about a lot of weird, creepy stuff.

New York Giants: Charles Dickens. I imagine Dickens as a grizzly old dude who, quite frankly, doesn’t care what you think. That’s Tom Coughlin, the Giants’ head coach.

New York Jets: Harper Lee. Harper Lee wrote one hugely successful book in 1960 (To Kill A Mockingbird), then never wrote another one. The New York Jets won one Super Bowl in 1969, then never appeared in another one.

Oakland Raiders: Dan Brown. The Raiders are a lot of glitz and glamour and large fonts. But they’re known more for just putting out a crap product.

Philidelphia Eagles: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Does any team regularly do less with more talent than the Eagles? That’s F. Scott Fitzgerald. The comparison may come as a surprise to you, seeing as I’m a huge Fitzgerald fan. But after The Great Gatsby (and maybe Tender is the Night), what else did he do of note? He drank a lot and died way too soon.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Cormac McCarthy. The Steelers are gritty. Remember The Steel Curtain. And the modern Steelers have had players like Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger. They’re beastly human beings. They’re scary. Enter Cormac McCarthy. Are you going to mess with that guy? Have you seen what he writes about? Characters in his novels kill puppies for fun. Puppies!

San Diego Chargers: William Gibson. The Chargers’ helmets, with lightning bolts, have a sci-fi feel. All that lightning and stuff. Is William Gibson a Chargers fan? Cause he should be.

San Francisco 49ers: Kurt Vonnegut. I have no idea why, but something deep inside of me says Kurt Vonnegut was a Niners fan. That’s all I got.

Seattle Seahawks: John Green. The Seahawks are the new breed. The slick, fancy sports car of NFL teams. Crushing defense. High-powered offense with likeable, photogenic quarterback Russell Wilson. Is John Green, with his best-selling novel and soon-to-be blockbuster film The Fault In Our Stars, a good fit here?

St. Louis Rams: John Steinbeck. The Rams moved from Los Angeles to St. Louis back in 1995. That’s kind of like the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, right? Except they moved from Oklahoma to California. Okay, this is a terrible comparison. I got nothing, Rams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Virginia Woolf. Is there anything longer and more depressing than reading a sentence written by Virginia Woolf? Yes. Going to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game with that god-awful pirate ship behind the end zone.

Tennessee Titans: The Self-Published Author Who Designs His Own Cover. I live in Nashville, so I get to experience first-hand the dreadfulness of the Titans uniforms. Who came up with that color scheme? Probably the same designer who comes up with these book cover designs. Blech.

Washington Redskins. J.D. Salinger. You hear a lot about the Redskins. They certainly get a lot of press. But, at the end of the day you have The Catcher in the Rye, and you’re like, What’s the big deal?

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Finally, this post is over.

Do you hate any of my comparisons? I’m sure you do. Let’s hear about it.

Have a great Super Bowl weekend.

(Image: Elvert Barnes/Flickr)

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well done!

    January 31, 2014
    • Thank you sir.

      January 31, 2014
  2. Before you even opened your mouth. I was reading ;D

    January 31, 2014
  3. Super one Robert ~ tanks ;D .

    January 31, 2014
  4. Matt #

    Love the Packers-Tolkien comparison. So true! I can promise that if Bilbo had worn a cheese hat, LOTR fans would gladly wear cheese hats too.

    January 31, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
    This is awesome. All of the NFL teams given a great writer comparison!

    January 31, 2014
  6. Faulkner for Denver? Come on. How can you associate one of the worst, most unintelligible writers to the greatest offense ever to hit the gridiron? Thank God you didn’t drop the pedophile Nabokov on us. Wait, wasn’t Manning born in raised in New Orleans?

    An incredible poet might be more in line for us. ….faulkner…that Bruce kid must really hate Denver.

    January 31, 2014
    • Actually, despite my allegiance to Georgia, I’m a Peyton fan! We’re not big Faulkner fans, but most of the literary world is. It’s a compliment!

      January 31, 2014
      • It certainly set up for a nice match up. Surely you will not be able to read while the game is on.

        January 31, 2014
        • Or project ?

          January 31, 2014
  7. As someone who lives in Wisconsin who cares nothing for the Packers, I can tell you the Tolkien match up is pretty apt.These Packer people are freakishly devoted and culty. I’d really like to see JRR with a cheesehead hat. That’s gotta be on the internet somewhere right?

    January 31, 2014
  8. Allyson #

    I’d be interested to know what John Green, who I believe is a Colts fan, thinks of you comparing him to the team that is going against his former QB this weekend.

    January 31, 2014
    • Had no idea. That’s great. I’d be interested too.

      January 31, 2014
      • come on? What

        January 31, 2014
  9. Love this! I’m not an expert on football, but I’d say it’s very well done!

    January 31, 2014
  10. You got a belly laugh from me on the Dallas/Franzen equation.
    From a die hard Ravens/Poe fan!

    January 31, 2014
    • A friend told me that was inaccurate. Franzen still really relevant, but just a jerk. I don’t know. Don’t seem to hear about him as much as I did a few years ago.

      January 31, 2014
  11. very cool idea. very well done!

    January 31, 2014
  12. Patrice #


    January 31, 2014
  13. This is totally hilarious and a brilliant idea. Being a 49ers fan I guess I can deal with Kurt Vonnegut. So many great authors from the Bay Area to choose from… Bit short on women this list. What about title 9? ha ha

    January 31, 2014
  14. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, this really made my day. I think it is great that you used the literary terms “whack job” and “pretentious a-hole”. Keep giving us those kind of literary terms. I am amazed that you got Jonathan Franzen and Notre Dame in the same sentence. I also love that you put “Catcher in the Rye” and “What’s the big deal?” in the same paragraph. If this was baseball, you wouldn’t have any trouble finding a writer for the Milwaukee Brewers.

    I think there is room for a new list of books: The most literary pretentious overrated books of the twentieth century:
    1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    2. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
    3. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
    4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
    5. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
    6. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce (And I love “Dubliners”. This is what too much drinking will do to a writer.)

    Please feel free to add to the list.

    The difference between E. L. James and Ayn Rand is that we all know that E. L. James writes badly and is writing fantasy.

    Must say that this one is a real gem. Much food for thought.

    January 31, 2014
    • Outstanding. Not a big Franzen and Rand fan, huh? I though The Corrections wasn’t bad, but I just can’t get over Franzen.

      The Brewers reference got me to thinking. Might have to do this again for baseball!

      January 31, 2014
      • I tried to read The Corrections but I just couldn’t get passed the overwriting. He throws words at the reader like he has something to prove. I guess he does. “Just look at me. I am as good as Tolstoi and Dickens and those other great writers.”

        February 1, 2014
  15. Brilliant! I’ve been reading your blog for months and this is probably one of my favorite posts. I also personally love how you compared Scam Newton to James Frey. All around great post!

    January 31, 2014
    • Thanks for reading! Scam Newton, yes. You must be a Bama or Georgia fan.

      January 31, 2014
  16. The Tolkien, Rand, Lee, Pynchon, Frey and Franzen comparisons had me literally LOLing. That’s literally, not figuratively. I think I scared the neighbors with my loud, sudden barks of laughter.

    January 31, 2014
    • You mean projected? Right … ?

      January 31, 2014
    • Not projection …

      January 31, 2014
  17. Sam #

    I don’t even enjoy football that much and I loved this post. I shared your Lee/Jets comparison with my co-worker and we had a laugh. Very well done.

    January 31, 2014
  18. Wow. Kudos for taking on that challenge. I laughed, I cried, I got lost, then found again… I think that’s called entertainment! Thanks.

    January 31, 2014
  19. The Green Bay Pakers: J.R.R. Tolkein. Wow. Just, wow.

    January 31, 2014
  20. Such a great post!! My fav team is the Broncos and Manning just screams out random words. I swear he is the only quarter back you hear clearly when watching a game!

    January 31, 2014
  21. I’m a Cardinals fan and grew up rooting for the Lions…Your analysis of both is spot on. The Rams owner just bought land near L.A., so maybe they will move back out west if St. Louis doesn’t give them a new stadium they want.

    February 1, 2014
  22. This Packers fan loved it! Cultish? Guilty as charged.

    February 1, 2014
  23. DavidXavier #

    I have to admit, I thought you would fail on this post. But you were on the mark every time. Excellent.

    February 1, 2014
  24. Matt #

    Very clever. Some minor quibbles from me (even though these are better than anything I could come up with): Ayn Rand can write and my students are regularly impressed by Anthem every year. And Belichick may be a jerk but Brady is no pretentious a-hole.

    February 1, 2014
  25. Reblogged this on Constant streams… and commented:
    This is fun, even if I don’t know the teams too well. And yes “Go and look at Hunter S. Thompson’s daily routine.” Impressive, as far as that goes, if inadvisable. Still, love his work, even if he was a lunatic. Only in America would he be made a sheriff.

    February 11, 2014

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