In honor of Marvel week at SB Nation, I’ve put together the Colts roster as Marvel superheroes. It is an exercise in fun during a dry offseason, but one that I put a lot of time into (too much probably.)
I’ve done a few Photoshop mock-ups here, but with less than a week of experience with the program, they leave a bit to be desired. Let me know how you’d fit our offense into the Marvel comic universe in the comments, and check back tomorrow for the defense.
Captain America – Philip Rivers
Captain America is the unquestioned leader of the Avengers, and one of the older members. While many of the Marvel superheroes are more powerful or more beloved, Cap is the heart and soul of the team. He is used to being overlooked in favor of the flashier heroes and has continued to show up and sling that shield day in and day out.
No one is more reliable than Cap, and no one brings more heart. His passion for justice and unbreakable will are unmatched, and he’ll do whatever he has to in order to accomplish his mission, including pushing through incredible pain to make sure the Avengers come out on top.
Could there be any question that Philip Rivers is the Colt who fits that bill? A wholesome guy whose idea of swearing is a nonchalantly uttered “dadgummit,” Rivers is well known for his good natured but totally focused passion on game day. He is fearless as a player, taking hits and delivering the ball to his receivers while being perpetually under appreciated in his time with the Chargers.
Rivers might be the most underrated QB of his era, and despite his greatness, has been without that elusive championship. He spent his career working with teams that just didn’t have what it took to get the job done. He’ll call the shots from the field for the Colts, and he’s proven that he isn’t afraid to take risks even when the odds are slim and his body is nearly broken, if it means he gives his team a chance.
Now, he’s been united with a truly powerful group of players, and like Cap, he’s about to prove he’s worthy of the challenge.
Anthony Castonzo - Mr. Fantastic
While the MCU hasn’t been able to do justice to Mr. Fantastic, he has the brains to match up with Bruce Banner and Tony Stark any day of the week. In addition to being a brilliant guy, he’s a skilled leader. His elastic ability combined with his supreme intellect makes him a force to be reckoned with, and a critical part of any superhero team he finds himself on.
Castonzo is the perfect fit here, and it isn’t tough to see why. The Colts left tackle might be the most underappreciated at his position, despite being reliably great his whole career. He has had to carry the team at times, and his ability to take a punch and simply regather himself as if unaffected time after time is tough to beat. His length and flexibility to shut down pass rushers however he has to provides a major lift to the whole line.
Quenton Nelson - The Hulk
The Hulk is a devastating force of nature whose anger fuels his power. When he is on a rampage, the best place to be is far away. He is pure, unbridled destruction in a green package.
Quenton Nelson is the most dominant interior offensive lineman in my lifetime to don the Colts uniform. He surprises opponents with his ability to move in space, and he loves nothing more than to pound defenders into submission. Nothing would surprise me less than to find out that Nelson whispers quietly before each snap, “Hulk smash.”
I tried to do this photo longer than any other. Photoshop is hard. Maybe next year, but this one was pretty solid, certainly better than I could have done myself.
Ryan Kelly - Ant Man
Let me start by saying that while Paul Rudd is a national treasure, I’m talking about Hank Pym here, so not the Ant Man from the MCU. Ant Man is a scientific genius and a one of the original forming members of the Avengers. He discovers the Pym Particle which allows him to alter the size and mass of objects, including himself.
Since coming in to the league Ryan Kelly has established himself as a force at center, and while he hasn’t gotten quite the recognition league-wide that he deserves, his intelligent and powerful presence in the middle of the line has anchored them well, and he has proven to be an invaluable piece of a truly potent group protecting the quarterback and blowing open massive running lanes. His reliability has been a big part of this line’s success.
Mark Glowinski - War Machine
A trained marine and close friend of Tony Stark’s, Rhodey doesn’t get the same pop as his pal, but he is not someone to be messed with. War Machine is the iteration of Iron Man’s suit that is loaded with the bulkier frame and as many weapons as they could pack in. He’s well trained, loyal, and never going to back down from a fight. What’s more, Rhodey himself put on the Iron Man suit for awhile when Tony was suffering so badly from his alcoholism that he was unable to be Iron Man.
What better fit in this spot than Glow? Viewed as a weak link on the team because of a lack of real superstar talent and nothing that makes him specifically stand out on his own, Glowinski has stood up against tough competition and won more than lost. Colts fans don’t appreciate what they have in him, but he’s a better than average starter in a league that often struggles to find guys who fit that bill.
Braden Smith - The Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes is Steve Rogers’ closest childhood friend, and finds his way back on the team as the Winter Soldier after being brainwashed and turned into a covert superweapon with a massively powerful bionic arm.
Anyone who has been on the other end of one of Braden Smith’s punches at the line of scrimmage might swear he also has a bionic arm. The right tackle that everyone seems to want to move to guard for some reason has held his own against some of the top pass rushers in the league, and is a powerful force on the right side. His continual improvement rounds out what is arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
Jack Doyle - Thor
The god of thunder is often the quietest guy on the team, preferring to let his hammer do the talking. Once an impetuous leader of Asgard, he has suffered many losses that have humbled and changed him. Some things haven’t changed though. Thor is a fearless warrior who can call down lightning on his enemies, and uses his hammer, Mjolnir, to devastating effect.
Like Thor, Jack Doyle has become a legend to Colts fans. He is quietly reliable, and like Mjolnir, the football always seems to find his hands. When everyone else is being overrun and the chips are down, when it is 3rd and long and someone needs to make a play, you can count on the guy doing it to be wearing the number 84.
Jonathan Taylor - Falcon
Sam Wilson is a close protege of Steve Rogers, and trains and spars with him regularly. Skilled in combat as well as flying with a wing harness, he is perfectly suited to work in recon and on the front lines and taking pressure off Cap. He made himself so valuable that when Steve Rogers decided to hang it up, Wilson was there to take over.
Jonathan Taylor won’t have to do it all himself. As a rookie he’ll lighten the load on Marlon Mack and apply his game-breaking speed and power to a backfield that benefits from a great offensive line in front of them. He is a big play waiting to happen, and when it comes time, he will be ready to take the mantle as the top guy.
Marlon Mack - Vision
Vision is the creation of Ultron, a villain that in the comics was created by Hank Pym, and in the MCU, by Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. He has super speed, strength, and intelligence.
Mack’s 2019 season seemed somewhat superhuman. With teams fully aware of the Colts primary means of success and a broken hand to boot, he still managed to rush for over 1,000 yards and make himself the Colts most valuable weapon. He’ll share the backfield in 2020, but there’s no doubt about the importance of Mack to the team’s success going forward.
T.Y. Hilton - Iron Man
The genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist is the founding member of the Avengers in the MCU, and without him, the world doesn’t even get started. He invents his way out of captivity, converts his weapons company to one that essentially “privatizes world peace” as he puts it.
Always ready with a quip or retort, Tony’s mind has always been the thing that lets him react the fastest, and what makes him more than just a guy in a suit. He might get beaten, but you won’t beat him twice, because he’ll use that loss to find a way to outmaneuver you, and he’ll sacrifice it all for the sake of the team.
The very heart and soul of the Colts offense is without a doubt T.Y. Hilton. His loss to injury in 2019 doomed their season, and while there were a variety of other factors, the reality is that when T.Y. is on the field, the team has a chance. Everyone is waiting for him to do something to help them win.
When he entered the league, the book on him was that he was a speed guy who wouldn’t likely be able to do much beyond his typecast role. 8 seasons later and that’s been fully debunked. Hilton has proven himself as an invaluable part of the team, and the guy who can help them win when they need it the most.
Parris Campbell - The Human Torch
Johnny Storm is a member of the Fantastic Four who can turn himself into a fireball, using the flames to propel himself forward in flight. He can also control fire and manipulate it.
The perfect iteration of the Human Torch, Campbell is a bit of an afterthought whose first impression wasn’t exactly ideal on film, but who is hoping that this time around, he will get things cooking. An incredible athlete with elite speed, Campbell couldn’t stay healthy as a rookie. If he manages to come back strong in year two, he’ll round out the receiver room nicely.
Michael Pittman Jr. - Spider-Man
The new guy to the team, Spider-Man is the quippy kid who always has a one-liner and a web to spare. His super strength, speed, and ability to climb walls with his sticky grip are legendary, and he has the brains to match. One of the best known and loved superheroes of all, Spidey has the ability to sense trouble before it arrives, allowing him to react quickly. Those reflexes make him a huge part of the team, and the Avengers aren’t the same without him.
New to the receiver room in 2020, Pittman will be looking to make an impression. His sticky hands and great route running should do that right out of the gate. If his past with the Chargers is any indication, Philip Rivers will give Pittman plenty of opportunities to shine. With an easy demeanor and a likable personality, Pittman should become a fan favorite quickly, and his play on the field could lift the offense to new levels.