32 Horror Movies for 32 NFL Teams

A New York Jets fan from Sleepy Hollow
A New York Jets fan from Sleepy Hollow
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - Wanna see a scary movie?

Chris Ballard is a man so terrified of rebuilding around a young quarterback that he will do anything to avoid it: even stitching together veteran quarterbacks, the tail end of one's career butting up against the final year of another's. Because of Ballard's mad experiments, the Indianapolis Colts' fortunes extrude from one broken down quarterback and flow into the next in a nauseating-yet-poignant metaphor for the grotesque excesses of consumption culture and the futility of the human condition.

Watch, watch if you dare, as Ballard builds The Quarterback Centipede.

Disgusting? Heck yes. Scary? Sure, for Colts fans, and for Ballard, whose future may hinge on the success of Sam Ehlinger, the non-prospect he stuffed on the bench as a placeholder while attaching Philip Rivers to Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan in unnatural ways.

Halloween is all about horror movies, and horror movies are often about powerful men playing god or working out their misanthropic hangups in unhealthy ways. What a coincidence: the NFL is often about the same things!

Walkthrough knows what scares you most: the truth about your favorite team. So let's reimagine each team's 2022 season as a horror flick.

Arizona Cardinals

Three individuals with nothing in common and dubious emotional maturity are trapped in a room together and forced to spend eternity coming to grips with their clashing egos and agendas. Steve Keim, Kliff Kingsbury, and Kyler Murray star in the thrilling adaptation of Sartre's No Exit entitled No Accountability.

Atlanta Falcons

Arthur Smith wanted to protect his quarterback and young playmakers with a conservative offense. Now, they are blanketed in so many pistol-option rushing concepts that they can no longer breathe, let alone come back against a quality opponent. Who will save Kyle Pitts and Drake London from the evil clutches of The Smotherer?

Baltimore Ravens

Ah, it seems that you are about to resume your career as an All-Pro left tackle. You simply need to walk down this corridor toward the field and…

Oh, you have chosen a different corridor. No worries. There's plenty of time to turn around. Didn't you notice that the other route clearly led to excitement and treasure? The direction you have chosen just leads to a maze of unfinished levels. So go ahead. Turn around. Please?

Several years have passed, and yet you insist on walking about in circles. Let me reassure you, as the narrator, that you are not on the correct path. Your teammates need you! Are you doing this just to determine how much unique narration was recorded? Pro football is not meant to be experienced meta-textually! So please, get back onto the football field, help your team get on the right track, and stop playing The Ronnie Stanley Parable.

Buffalo Bills

Even the best team in the NFL cannot escape its generational curse to fail spectacularly at the worst possible moment. Make sure you watch to the bitter end of Buffalo 66, the 2022 sequel to the 2021 remake of the 1990 remaster.

Carolina Panthers

A battle for survival with dwindling resources and disappearing allies. Even main characters get killed off unceremoniously. And this may be merely a long prequel to a much better show. Matt Rhule Robbie Anderson Christian McCaffrey Brian Burns stars in Fire Sale of the Walking Dead.

Chicago Bears

There's something different about Justin Fields' head coach and general manager. It's as if they have been replaced by replicants who say all the right things but make glitchy errors, such as trading key veterans away just as the team is starting to look competitive. Ownership may prefer these more obedient lookalikes, but Fields may discover that his future is wedded to The Stepford Ryan, and Matt.

Cincinnati Bengals

A brash, cigar-chomping hero and three ultra-talented buddies find themselves at the mercy of a manipulator with an inscrutable agenda. Predictable rushing plays? Stagnant game plans? Find out what other perils will befall Joe Burrow and company at the hands of The Semi-Competent Puppet Master.

Cleveland Browns


Dallas Cowboys

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. An entire organization finds itself at the mercy of a petulant manchild. Adults have been forced to play his silly games for decades, forever smiling and catering to his whims as their lives are squandered. Is America's Team really a not-so-subtle metaphor for American exceptionalism? That sort of talk will make it snow tomorrow. Bill Mumy reprises his famous role as Jerry Jones in It's a Good Life.

Denver Broncos

A friendly alien lands on earth. He claims he's here to help. He even carries a weighty tome titled "How to Serve Teammates." But … IT'S A COOKBOOK. Whatever you do, Broncos, do not Let Russ Cook.

Detroit Lions

That rugged rapscallion you have fallen for isn't who he claims to be. He isn't even some mere rakish troublemaker or cult leader. He's Satan himself! Joyce Carrol Oates-worthy Southern Gothic meets Motor City chic in The Devil Wears Camo.

Green Bay Packers

Meet a madman so terrifying that he will hurt himself to hurt others, someone with a long-range plan so subtle and passive-aggressive that those around him do not even realize they are being drawn into his nightmarish funhouse-mirror version of the world. Is he a coach-killer, or will he manipulate the coach into becoming the killer? From the creators of Se7en, it's Twe12e.

Houston Texans

Get ready for raw, gory 1970s grindhouse realism. The Texans hammer the ball between the tackles 25 times per game because that's their way of life: how DARE the freaks and hippies expect them to change! Don't take a wrong turn in the prairie or you may become a victim of the Texans I-Formation Massacre. Starring Dameon Pierce as Leatherface and Davis Mills as himself.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Trent Baalke hears a siren singing from the shores. She promises glory and acclaim which, no matter which way he steers, is always shimmering on the horizon. Will Baalke realize that he is being tantalized, or will his crew die of thirst on the high seas as a result of his hopeless quest to achieve Potential?

Kansas City Chiefs

He's brilliant and successful until his compulsion to experiment turns him into an unpredictable monster of pure id who calls wishbone backup tight end triple options on fourth-and-goal in playoff games. This is the story of Dr. Jekyll and Andy Reid. (Yes, that's backwards; Reid should be Jekyll. But this scans better!)

Las Vegas Raiders

Chucky's not gone, folks. The creepy little moonfaced doll with the heart of a serial killer has just transformed into a different cantankerous offensive guru whose teams underperform in freaky, unpredictable ways! Find out how a team can still be in last place when all of its stars are playing well in Child's Play: Even Chuckier!

Los Angeles Chargers

First Down: We're Super Bowl sleepers!
Second Down: Justin Herbert is basically Dan Marino!
Third Down: Brandon Staley is Sean McVay crossed with Wade Phillips!
Fourth Down…

(wind howls)
(candles flicker)
(creepy whispers) Where's Ekeler? Your offensive line is full of rookies.
(spooky little girl sing-song while ripping the head off a doll) Don't goooooo for ittttttt.
(ghostly voice) But the analytics, -lytics, -lytics…

You will be on the edge of your seat for I Know What You Did on Fourth Down. Presented in punt-o-vision!

Los Angeles Rams

The hotshot young genius auteur spent a little too much money on his last blockbuster. Now it's time for a low-budget, back-to-basics approach: shaky cameras, small cast, on-location shooting, self-referential nods. Will it be a masterpiece or just hours of Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald wondering what the hell they signed up for? Find out in Sean McVay's New Nightmare.

Miami Dolphins

Do you feel welcome in the home of that eccentric white millionaire, Mike McDaniel? Well, don't get too comfortable. He's just using you to dodge the Rooney Rule. Or to hide what he did to the last coach. Or as a placeholder until he can hire Sean Payton. Or sign Tom Brady. Or so you can lose games on purpose, maybe? He doesn't even know. Maybe he just wants to eat you. But it doesn't matter, because this is a Jordan Peele movie, and if you know what's good for you, you'd better Get Out.

Minnesota Vikings

Everyone is acting a little strangely. Opposing receivers keep dropping touchdown passes. Other team's quarterbacks drop like flies. At first, everyman Kirk Cousins enjoys reaping the benefits. Then he begins to wonder: is the schedule becoming too easy? Unfortunately for planet earth, Cousins is too oblivious to investigate, and the world falls prey to the Invasion of the Opponent Snatchers.

New England Patriots

That new young quarterback sure is helpful, isn't he Mac? Why, it's like having a nanny to take care of things when you are unavailable! But beware: innocent-looking Bailey is here to steal your coach, your job, your team, and your soul. Mac Jones discover that terror lives where he lives in The Hand That Rocks The McCorkle.

New Orleans Saints

A mad scientist has discovered the secret of unnaturally extending the length of human life simply by extending contracts in the far-flung future. Watch as Cam Jordan begs for the sweet release of retirement, only to see his contract stretched to gruesome lengths. Scream along with Michael Thomas as he awakens strapped to a gurney while accountants harvest the ligaments of his knees to implant them into Taysom Hill. It's body horror meets bad financial planning on The Island of Dr. Loomis.

Philadelphia Eagles

Howie Roseman and Jalen Hurts had it all, but Hurts craved a long-term relationship while Roseman had been burned by a past lover. The scarred general manager and thrilling but flawed quarterback could work things out, but they might also be doomed to tear their lives apart because of the one thing men fear more than anything else: Commitment.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett lock themselves safely inside their suburban home to escape a killer. But when the phone rings they realize … the call is coming from inside the house! And the authorities won't help them, because Mike Tomlin doesn't like firing his buddies. It's boring! It's repetitive! It's not really all that scary! It's Matt Canada's House of 1,000 Screens.

New York Giants

Whatever you do, don't give in to the sleepover dare.


No, Brian Daboll, don't say it in front of a mirror!


Not a third time!


Muahahahahaha. I have been SUMMONED. And now I shall sign Saquon Barkley for $90 million and Daniel Jones for $250 million! And I will also sign, I dunno, A.J. Green as a free agent! And I will taunt you if you question me, you geeky little beancounters!

You guessed it: this is clearly a send-up of Hellraiser.

New York Jets

Are your hopes up, Jets fans? Get ready for them to be dashed. Breece Hall and Alijah Vera-Tucker are gone. Elijah Moore is talking his way out of town. And Zach Wilson? Yeah, don't look too closely. Disappointment is an annual Halloween tradition in the unsettlingly moody children's classic The Jets are the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

San Francisco 49ers

He's suave. He's well dressed. He likes Phil Collins solo material. But don't let his carefully crafted "game manager" facade fool you: this sociopath destroys football teams for his own amusement. Not even drafting and grooming a replacement can help a team escape American Garoppolo.

Seattle Seahawks

A mysterious stranger comes to town. He offers salvation. He appears too good to be true. He has knuckle tattoos: "Jets" on one and "GMen" on the other. Is he really here to help, or will he do ANYTHING to get his hands on the gold that Russell Wilson buried in the woods before revealing his true character? That's right, classic thriller buffs: it's Night of the Geno.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bored by his immortality, a legendary vampire craves death. Will foolishly exposing himself to his longtime enemies in broad daylight be enough to do it? And what terrors await someone who sacrificed everything in the name of earthy pursuits once he reaches the afterlife? Tom Brady stars in Dracula: C'mon, it's Hard to Come Up with 32 of These Without Making Some of Them Really Obvious.

Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry must roll a boulder up a hill for all eternity in Sisyphus: The Myth.

Washington Commanders

Dan Snyder has grown so wealthy and powerful that he is beyond consequences. His peers don't want to stop him, lest it upset the balance of power in their little cabal. The government? Forget about it. And Snyder is just your typical power-abusing billionaire: our contempt for him is mostly a proxy for our frustration at the futility of trying to improve society when so much wealth and authority is in the hands of a few corrupt, avaricious individuals. Yes, no boogeyman or slasher could possibly be as terrifying as … Reality.

OK, that got too real at the end. Rest assured that Football Outsiders is still open for business. And if your doorbell rings and there's nobody there, that was not Dan Snyder. It's Halloween.


26 comments, Last at 31 Oct 2022, 10:58pm

#1 by Pat // Oct 28, 2022 - 10:25am

but Hurts craved a long-term relationship while Roseman had been burned by a past lover. 

Wentz was extended in '19 and traded in the '21 offseason. Philly ended up paying $56M for 2 years of quarterback play plus a first-round pick.

That's... not actually that bad. I mean, obviously '20 was terrible QB play, but that's why they traded him. His play in '19 was $25M value easily, and even if you say his play in '20 was only $10M/value, that's $21M for a first-round pick. Which is... kinda cheap, actually?

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#2 by Tutenkharnage // Oct 28, 2022 - 10:34am

That's all!

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#12 by serutan // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:50pm

In reply to by KnotMe

I thought something like "Truth is more terrifying than fiction" would have worked especially since he did more or less the same thing for Snyder.

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#15 by mehllageman56 // Oct 28, 2022 - 1:07pm

In reply to by KnotMe

The title makes more sense for Cleveland than the movie itself, even though I thought it was great, much better than Us.

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#16 by Paul R // Oct 28, 2022 - 2:07pm

In reply to by KnotMe

I haven't seen it. Does that film have a "happy ending?" Asking for a friend.

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#4 by Mike B. In Va // Oct 28, 2022 - 11:20am

American Garoppolo was a real lol.

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#5 by Will Allen // Oct 28, 2022 - 11:21am

Very good.

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#6 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:01pm


You seem to be confusing your Clive Barker films. The mirror thing is from Candyman, which was Clive Barker's version of The Wicker Man. The taunting hedonist was from Hellraiser, which was Clive Barker's version of From Beyond

I'm not sure Gettleman is kinky enough for either Hellraiser or From Beyond, and there aren't nearly enough images in your post of Barbara Crampton in fetish gear. For shame!

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#8 by mehllageman56 // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:04pm

Wow, never noticed the similarities between The Forbidden and The Wicker Man.  Although only Barker could have come up with the toilet bowl scene.

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#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:10pm


Both are about an outside professional visiting an isolated minority population undergoing an economic depression for official purposes. The locals then scheme to entrap in said professional in order to immolate them as a sacrifice to a local god.

Barker, as is his style, basically adds gore and sexual deviancy to this basic plot.

Eye of the Devil is also basically the same film as The Wicker Man, but told from the perspective of Lord Summerisle's new wife.

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#7 by mehllageman56 // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:01pm

Loved this, but I think you missed an opportunity with the Tampa Bay one.  Given that the plot Tanier laid out is similar to the plot of the last Christopher Lee Dracula film (Drac just wants to kill everyone and get over it), The Satanic Refs of Tomb Brady would have worked.  The Vikings one seemed a little off too; maybe a voodoo curse film like I Walked with Kirk Cousins would be better.  And just to be pedantic, Barker didn't have much to do with the film, although he told writer/director to "run free with it".  My source is a Den of Geek article about the Candyman movie.  Although giving that one the wrong title was hilarious.

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#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:12pm

If your goal was that Vikings opponents are mysteriously turning into a lesser version of them, well I have a film that's about a bunch of bored guys stuck in a frozen white hellscape while slowly turning into their enemy -- The Thing (from Another World).

\either version, really

Re: Washington --

You have an owner who terrorizes and is hated by the locals after taking the place over from a bunch of dinosaurs, but he hooks up with some hot shots from NY and sexually harasses an outsider and suddenly finds himself jailed and then tossed from a tall building in Manhattan? King Kong!

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#14 by mehllageman56 // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:56pm

Only if you cut out the ending, sad in the film version, joyous in real life (it's not happening folks).

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#9 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:04pm

If you wanted to be really mean, you could have cast Brady as The Mummy.

Dude has his organs ripped out and spends 3,000 years in a box, gets out, finds the reincarnation of his lost lover, and halfway through the regeneration, she bails on the process and kills him.

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#13 by serutan // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:56pm

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. An entire organization finds itself at the mercy of a petulant manchild. Adults have been forced to play his silly games for decades, forever smiling and catering to his whims as their lives are squandered. Is America's Team really a not-so-subtle metaphor for American exceptionalism? That sort of talk will make it snow tomorrow. Bill Mumy reprises his famous role as Jerry Jones in It's a Good Life.

[nitpick]You should have been consistent with yourself and used this for Danny Boy like you did previously.[/nitpick] But it's a Twilight Zone reference, so all is forgiven.

A friendly alien lands on earth. He claims he's here to help. He even carries a weighty tome titled "How to Serve Teammates." But … IT'S A COOKBOOK. Whatever you do, Broncos, do not Let Russ Cook.

This is sheer brilliance.  Glad to see this side of Tanier still lives.

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#18 by JoelBarlow // Oct 28, 2022 - 6:44pm


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#19 by Kire // Oct 28, 2022 - 7:03pm

Hey everyone, sorry for my english as i am a french person from Quebec.

Wow, sir, you took an obscure piece of theater written by Sartre, sans issues.

Then you also use sysypheus the myth, wich Albert Camus wrote a philosophy book on (Camus and Sartre were the Manning-Brady of the existentialist philosphers you could say loool :))

You guys are funny too with the king kong and the mummies, for example.

I have one too for the GB packers. The grounhog days.

A QB is force to replay each season of football. Every year he is always close to the SB, but every year his special team let him down in the playoff???

Nah! Thats not a horror movie, its a satire or a comedy...

Im kidding, GB movie should be : The last temptation of the christ loooool.

Keep on the good work sir. And of you too.

Gosh i love this site, the contributors and football :)

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#20 by TomC // Oct 28, 2022 - 10:50pm

Gosh i love this site, the contributors and football

D'accord, my friend. 


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#21 by wwhitman // Oct 29, 2022 - 8:02am

Logged back into FO for the first time in years just to say…Bravo, Mike Tanier. These were exquisitely clever. The Broncos one takes the cake. 

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#22 by felton51 // Oct 29, 2022 - 1:44pm

Mickey's Inferno works for me as well as The Island of Dr Loomis

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#23 by Shattenjager // Oct 29, 2022 - 3:53pm

I just want to applaud the ending.

I spent nine years having to close in a grocery store every Halloween and my last announcement was always "That grinning, glowing, globular invader of your living room is an inhabitant of the pumpkin patch. And if your doorbell rings and there's no one there, that was no Martian--it's Halloween." 

I also listen to that every Halloween. So, it's been almost exactly a year since I heard it if I got any of the quote wrong.

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#25 by GoDog // Oct 30, 2022 - 2:36am

Given the nearly impossible task of coming up with tying every team's foibles to a ghoulish movie, you hit this out of the park.

The Los Angeles Chargers one with I Know What You Did On Fourth Down nearly ruptured my spleen. 

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#26 by Ben // Oct 30, 2022 - 2:30pm

While I appreciate the QB Centipede for the Colts, I think I would have gone with the low hanging fruit of a Frankenstein reference about trying to bring dead QB careers back to life. 

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#27 by LionInAZ // Oct 31, 2022 - 10:58pm

American Garoppolo, the Texans I Formation Massacre, I Know What You Did on Fourth Down, and Invasion of the Opponent Snatchers are priceless, as is Twe12ve.

So many dreams punctured on so few words.

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