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15 Oct 2008

Scramble for the Ball: Game Geeks

by Bill Barnwell and Vince Verhei

Bill: I'm back! Well, for a week. With Ben off on vacation this week, I'm filling in on the column that launched my career into an orbit entirely horizontal to where it was previously, joining Vince this week in Scrambling for the Ball.

This week, we'll be trafficking in a currency very familiar to me: Video games. Why is that, Vince?

Vince: Because in the comments to last week's Scramble, an anonymous reader pointed us to Vikings punter Chris Kluwe's application to join a World of Warcraft guild. Now. I am hesitant to bring this up, because it sets a high, high bar for humor that we will be hard pressed to match. (Direct quote: "I pretty much sit around all day and play computer games. Oh, and in my spare time I play for the Minnesota Vikings as the punter.") I should also add that we can in no way verify this was actually written by Chris Kluwe. If it's fake, though, that means someone is hoping to gain an invitation to a World of Warcraft guild by PRETENDING to be Chris Kluwe, which is even funnier.

With that in mind, we're going to compare assorted NFL personalities with their video game counterparts. Maybe we'll find an even better match than Chris Kluwe and Loate, his Level 70 Rogue Troll.

Character: Zergling (StarCraft)
NFL Player: Maurice-Jones Drew
Bill: MJD isn't the biggest guy on the field, sure. But he can run straight past your first layer of defense before you realize what's going on, and if he gets in a matchup against a cocky opponent, his surprising power can leave you on your back. Besides, now we can print t-shirts that say OMG MJD RUSH.

Character: Count Dracula (Castlevania)
NFL Counterpart: Al Davis
Vince: Because we are obligated to compare Al Davis to a vampire whenever the opportunity presents itself. Other good comps for Davis include Kain from the Legacy of Kain series and most of the bad guys from BloodRayne.

Character: Gordon Freeman (Half-Life)
NFL Player: Tom Nalen
Bill: OK, so Nalen's going to retire, but he fits everyone's favorite scientist to a tee. He's a technician in a phone booth, with the ability to neutralize even the most dangerous opponents with his handicraft. If you're more powerful than him, he's able to break the rules and seemingly defy gravity. As Nalen's on IR, he's also currently in stasis, waiting for his next assignment. Maybe it'll be from the G-Man (Kubiak).

Character: Wario (Many games; first appeared in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins)
NFL Player: Adam Jones
Vince: Wario is the evil counterpart to Mario, the world's most beloved plumber. Wario exists purely to wreak havoc and cause trouble -- just like Jones. Wario's penchant for getting into trouble over and over again has reached the point of comedy -- just like Jones. Besides, comparing Jones to Pac-Man would have been too easy. (On the other hand, Pac-Man can be pretty scary.)

Character: Fat Guy (Ice Hockey)
NFL Player: Pat Williams
Bill: You could throw in any other really old defensive tackle here, too. You need a Fat Guy to win in Ice Hockey; their power is too important to not have at least one of in the lineup. If you run into the Fat Guy, you fall down; a lot like Pat Williams. If you're not another Fat Guy, your goal is to get around him, which isn't that difficult; if you're as big as him, well, you can engage in a scrap and see who comes out the victor.

Character: Pikachu (Pokemon)
NFL Player: Steve Smith
Vince: Very small, to the point of cuteness, but willing to fight at any second and very dangerous in combat.

Character: Tanya (Command and Conquer: Red Alert)
NFL Player: Brett Favre
Bill: Talented, but obnoxious. Waltzes into the line of fire without a care, thinking they can take out anyone in their path with their ridiculous natural ability. Often ignores your commands and makes mistakes leading to her demise. Just has fun out there.

Character: Tetrominoes (Tetris)
NFL Player: Brandon Jacobs
Vince: Large, bulky objects that move in a straight line toward their destination, they can be slowed, but never stopped.

Character: Barnacle (Half-Life 2)
NFL Player: Matt Millen
Bill: Waits around and sucks the life out of everything you love until it's dead.

Character: Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)
NFL Player: Devin Hester
Vince: Do I really need to explain this?

Character: Adam Hunter (Streets of Rage)
NFL Player: Brandon Lloyd
Bill: "Adam Hunter, a boxer, has good strength and jump technique but is slow." That sounds like Lloyd to me.

Character: Bo Jackson (Tecmo Bowl)
NFL Player: None
Vince: Forget it. There will never be another Tecmo Bo.

Super Mario Brothers 2 Special!
Character: Toad
NFL Player: Wes Welker
Bill: Short guy. Good at getting into holes bigger guys can't get into. Useful character, but you're not beating the game with four Toads.

Character: Princess Toadstool
NFL Player: Terrell Owens
Bill: The object of significant affection until you actually have her. Kind of a prima donna. Can jump really far.

Character: Birdo
NFL Player: Chris Perry
Bill: Just stand around and after a few seconds, he'll cough up something useful.

Character: Phanto
NFL Player: Junior Seau
Bill: A ghost that chases you through walls when you have the key to get to the next level. Otherwise, disappears and isn't really all that exciting of a character.

Mortal Kombat Special!
Character: Johnny Cage
NFL Player: Tony Romo
Vince: A skilled and dangerous competitor, he also makes tabloid headlines for his glamorous social life.

Character: Kano
NFL Coach: Bill Belichick
Vince: A cutthroat competitor who will do whatever it takes to win.

Character: Liu Kang
NFL Player: Chris Johnson
Vince: In their seminal 1994 release Mortal Kombat: The Album, The Immortals declared Liu Kang to be the "youngest, and also the fastest warrior in the tournament." Johnson may be the fastest warrior in the NFL's tournament, although he is not the youngest. Nor was he born in China. He may emit high-pitched shrieks with every move, but if he does they have not been picked up on film. Let's move on.

Character: Raiden
NFL Player: Isaac Bruce
Vince: "Commands many supernatural abilities such as the ability to teleport and fly. As an immortal, he thinks in terms of eternity rather than normal human lifespans and his memories date back to the beginning of time itself."

Character: Scorpion
NFL Player: Daunte Culpepper
Vince: A lost soul bent on revenge.

Character: Sonya Blade
NFL Coach: Eric Mangini
Vince: Sonya Blade is Kano's arch-enemy, so there you go. Sonya also deeply cares about the lives of her friends and comrades. Mangini names his children after his players.

Character: Sub-Zero
NFL Player: Peyton Manning
Vince: Known for an icy demeanor. Has a younger brother with the same name. Wears blue.

No Comic?!?!?

We apologize for the lack of comic in Scramble this week. Alas, FO cartoonist Jason Beattie is currently awaiting the imminent birth of his child, an excuse he's used both for not cartooning as well as failing miserably in this week's internal staff Loser League.

Updates on the status of a child we expect to be called Gil next week.

Keep Choppin' Wood

There was no paucity of candidates for KCW this week, and although we were tempted to give this award to the boy Orlovsky for his legendary scramble gone wrong, the best candidate for this award is Richie Incognito. Although Josh Brown still made his game-winning field goal from 49 yards, Incognito yapping off at a ref literally had no possible upside. At least Orlovsky was trying to win. As Jim Haslett reportedly said in response, "What's wrong with this m-----f-----?"

Loser League Results

QB: JaMarcus Russell's 4 doesn't look that bad, by Loser League standards. Then you remember he went 13 for 35 for only 159 yards and a pick, and you realize what a fine candidate he is.

RB: Chris Perry was the top Loser League runner inf football this week. I'm just going to copy and paste that sentence a lot, because the season is only six weeks old and Perry has been mentioned in this space THREE TIMES. This is a historically bad season we're witnessing here, the opposite of Randy Moss last season. Perry's 1 narrowly beats the pair of 2s posted by DeAngelo Williams and Edgerrin James.

WR: Don't you just hate five-way ties? James Thrash, Michael Clayton, Donte' Stallworth, Robert Ferguson, and Darrell Jackson each scored a 1.

K: To be fair to Russell and the Raiders, their game against New Orleans was closer than the final score would indicate. If Sebastian Janikowski had not missed two of this three field goal attempts, the score would have been 34-9. But he did, and for that he gets a -1. Yes, those attempts were both over 55 yards. No, that doesn't help his Loser League score.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 15 Oct 2008

25 comments, Last at 16 Oct 2008, 7:40am by andrew


by Independent George :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 9:51am

Thank god you didn't include a MK character for Brady. Then, it'd really get ugly as we debated whether Sub-Zero could beat whoever.

[AHNOLD]Sub-Zero - now, PLAIN ZERO!!![/AHNOLD]

by angryowlbear :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:02pm

I laughed at ZOMG MJD RUSH!

by Yaguar :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 9:54am

Chris Kluwe is awesome.

by johnnyxel :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 9:58am

Loate has some nice gear. Sad that the regular season has to screw up his raiding.
I'm thinking about incorporating a 'Bank Holding Company', borrowing tons of cash from the Fed, then buying the Falcons, just so we can see if Jerious Norwood could be Tecmo Bo. Totally worth the fraud charges.

by Temo :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:10am

If that really was Kluwe, he is applying to one of the best WoW guilds. Not that I'd know anything about that.

by andrew :: Thu, 10/16/2008 - 7:40am

well he got in, at least according to armory.

by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:14am

Not sure what version of Mario 2 you played, but I was stuck with one each of Mario, Luigi, Toad and the Princess.

by Snowglare :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:49am

Derrick Mason was credited with a fumble lost in week 6, so he should have 5 points instead of 7.

by The TomG (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:50am

Given either back’s tendency to run over players with reckless abandon, I’m surprised you didn’t compare Brandon Jacobs or MJD to the Madden Ambulance.

A few other comparisons:

Warrick Dunn – Little Mac (Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out): There is no feasible reason a person that small should last that long and still succeed, yet there they are.

Emmitt Smith – CATS (Zero Wing): As if this needs any explanation.

Matt Cassel – That random glitch in FPS video games that causes enemies to keep running around in circles, crashing into walls, until somebody puts them out of their misery

Bill Belichick – Contra Commando (Contra): Because the only way to beat the game is with a cheat code. (I kid, I kid…)

by Marcumzilla :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:24pm

"Emmitt Smith – CATS (Zero Wing): As if this needs any explanation."

This one wins

by doctorjorts :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 1:30pm

Agreed! As a big Cowboys fan and one who adored Smith as a runt, it's quite painful to see him struggle through a MNF postgame with Concussion-King Steve.

I disagree with the Millen comparison; I'd go with Baal, Lord of Destruction.

And how do the Mannings not draw a Mario/Luigi comparison?!

by Tundrapat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:27pm

We have a winner!

Although that Redskins player, Kedric Golston, (discussing the egging their buses received in Philly) is another candidate: "I ain't never been thrown eggs at."

How far is it from that to 'All your base are belong to us'.

by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 10:51am

If you're suggesting it's impossible to beat every level with Toad in SMB2, then you're just not good enough.

Also, Chad Ocho Cinqo is Earthworm Jim. Strange, funny and effective at first, but later efforts were just sad.

by Flounder :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 11:01am

4th in loser league now, woo hoo! I have to say, this is seriously exciting. Actually much more exciting than my FF team, even though that team is doing extremely well.

by Incognito (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 11:13am

What a friggin moron Incognito is. He had 22 tv screens installed in his BMW???????????????? I can't think of a bigger waste of money. Come to think of it I can't think of a bigger waste of human life. What a loser!

by BucKai :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:13pm

Geeky, I know, but I read the whole article waiting to see who the NFL personification of the Master Chief would be.

Perhaps last years' Brady/Moss combo would have been the appropriate Master Chief/Cortana incarnation as they seemed cybernetically enhanced and were able to read each other's minds.

Oh well, time to go retro and fire up the Halo 2.

Game on.

by dianagram :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:30pm

Wow .... I had the top (bottom?) team in the Loser League this week!


Thank you Sarah Palinites!

by ammek :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:52pm

Oh dear, my loser league team has dropped from second overall to joint-66th in two weeks. Call me the LL's Wade Phillips.

Damn you, Matt Ryan and a bunch of receivers on IR!

And, predictable though it may be, my hatred for the boring, petty-minded, ineffective, unsportsmanlike, nauseating and fan-unfriendly 'icing the kicker' timeout means that my KCW vote has to go to Ken Whisenhunt. He almost had me rooting for the Cowboys in overtime there.

by BucNasty :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 1:52pm

Shouldn't Pacman be one of the leads from Grand Theft Auto? Especially San Andreas.

by JordanT (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 4:39pm

He almost had me rooting for the Cowboys in overtime there.

I was definitely rooting for the field goal to be made the second time, if only to prove that the timeout could have a downside. At least if the play had stood as called, then Tony Romo wouldn't be hurt since there would be no OT. Maybe this will get the NFL to devise a rule against this type of timeout.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 4:59pm

As both a video game geek and a football lover, I am now totally going gay and heading to Connecticut, ready for one of you to join me so I can marry you, because you've mixed two of my great loves. Oh, I guess there's my wife, too . . . let's just pretend this conversation never happened.

by Arson55 :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 5:05pm

My favorite was the Tanya/Brett Favre.

by iapetus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 6:23pm

"Besides, now we can print t-shirts that say OMG MJD RUSH."

If you do, I'll buy one.

by the K (not verified) :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:34pm

My love for this column cannot be put into simple words. Bravo.

by armchair journe... :: Wed, 10/15/2008 - 7:50pm

So he's hyphenating his first name, now? You can do that?

I hope London-Fletcher Baker doesn't get wind of this.

armchair journeyman quarterback