FAN-ticizing: Gotham On The Gridiron
How would the Batman universe look if asked to play fictional football? Who would play where, and why!? Click on to have some fun with CBMer ericchase's insight into a fantasy football league which takes the fantasy way more seriously than the football..
You’ve spent all summer familiarizing yourself with players foreign to the team you’ve rooted for your entire life. Who is the emerging second or third year wide receiver on the cusp of double digit touchdowns, which players who could thrive in innovative new offenses, will you decode who’ll be the next dual threat quarterback that creates league wide hysteria.
Your ethics as a devoted, lifelong fan are challenged; Can you dare roster a player of your team’s sworn mortal enemy?
Hours of your workday have been wasted on a litany of fantasy sites. You’re having a hard time remembering the last time you spent nearly ten dollars on a magazine that had no gorgeous naked women and will be completely useless by the second week of September. You’re in more leagues than you can keep track of, or your big money league is actually way more than you should be gambling with anyway.
It’s fantasy football season.
This post is going to take the fantasy, way more seriously than the football.
If you’re imagination isn’t ready for more sweat than what a two-a-day in the ceaseless summer heat can bring – and some contradictions I’ll need some charitable comic latitude on - now is the time to move on…
Because we’re going to Gotham.
What good and fun is being a superhero, supervillain, super-anything (save me the Batman isn’t a superhero dreck - I sought your boundless imagination, remember!?) if you can’t put those superlative skills to some athletic use?
Batman’s unmatched physical prowess has captured our imagination for over seventy years and while he’s been battered, bloodied and bruised – just like any football player - by the greatest gallery of rogues comics has to offer, as far as I know he’s never scored a single touchdown.
It’s time for that to end. We’re putting Batman…no, ALL of Gotham on the gridiron.
By the time I’m done constructing this organization, it’ll be the most indomitable and acclaimed sports franchise on the planet. The Yankees, Lakers, Real Madrid, Manchester United and…this!
First up, we need an owner. Clearly, this person has to have endless financial resources, perhaps someone with a replenishing trust fund. Since we don’t want any debt clouding our future decision making – on or off the field – we’re buying the franchise with cash. The check to the league will be written by none other than the venerableBruce Wayne.
Who’s going to be the detail oriented overseer of the front office? You can hire savvy talent evaluators, but in my management offices I want someone familiar with the law. Having become Gotham’s District Attorney at the young age of 26, Harvey Dent is just the right legal superstar we need to make sure our franchise operates smoothly, and on the good side of the Commissioner. General Manager, Harvey Dent.
Assisting Dent in the front office, with the responsibility of overseeing scouting and player personnel decisions will be the distinguished and incontrovertible Alfred Pennyworth. Armed with decades of war stories, Alfred’s seen, heard, and done everything! Yet he’s no old timer. His ability to adapt to complex technologies of contemporary times makes Alfred the right addition to our front office. We also like his knowledge and skills to help out the trainers if ever called upon. If you can stitch up a superhero, you stitch up a pro football player. Alfred will DEFINITELY know a concussion when he sees one.
In our organization we’re going to do our best to be inventive and creative, but most of all we want to be ahead of the times. We want to set trends around the league. We want to create followers. We need a head coach with Belichick-ian qualities, even if it creates an immense amount of dislike around the game. We’re here to win, not make friends. To find those trends before our competition, sometimes you just have to recognize what’s right in front of you + a little common sense deduction. Being one of the very first villains to deduce Batman’s secret (not-so-secret to him) identity, it reasons that Dr. Hugo Strange will be the sideline CEO for our team.
Often a coach is only as good as his players, yes, but also who he employs as his lieutenants. Sometimes we’ll just lineup and plow through teams like the Batmobile through weak concrete, but the foundation of our offense will be to create open space and mismatches. It should feel like we’re on a never ending power play. To be so cutting edge on the offensive side of the ball, we need a true architect of cunning play design. I can’t think of a better inventor than the ingenious, and pithy, Lucius Fox. He’ll be our offensive coordinator. Assisting Fox as the eye in the sky, up in the booth will be our Asst. OC, Oracle. No one is quicker at gathering and disseminating intel down to the sidelines than she.
On the defensive side of the ball we want to create confusion. We want the quarterback unable to read man or zone. We want the backs to be uncertain of who to block on a blitz, and wonder what side they’re coming from. In essence we want our defensive unit to be an eleven man riddle. If you can conjure up puzzles and games that genuinely make the incomparably brilliant Batman spend precious time on solving them, then the you’re the person to helm our defensive coordinator role. The Riddler will be baffling offenses all season long.
Now that we’ve developed our leadership and brain trust, we need players. For the first time in the history of Gotham, and for the sake of me building a sports juggernaut, Batman’s friends and foes will collectively join forces.
You’d think Batman is the straightforward choice for our quarterback, but no. I have other plans for the Dark Knight. Count me as an advocate of the dual threat quarterback who can engineer the deception of the zone-read. So, we need speed, almost a slitheryness. Escapability is the more sports-centric term. And if by some chance he does get sacked or chased down in the open field well, we need him to bounce right back and into action. In a sense, no jail or asylum should be able to shackle this guy from getting back on the field. Many times, due to the viciousness of hits he’ll take, we’re basically asking this guy to cheat death. Oh, and as I mentioned, deception. Physically and mentally. Yea, that Peyton Manning guy sure sounds like a chump farm guy, especially with all those goofy commercials, but on the field he’s…hmmmmmm, a cold blooded (defense) killer, I guess you could say. Though it may eventually backfire on us due to his devious off field doings, the Joker will be our quarterback.
We’re going to employ a one back offense. This player will be asked to do everything. Run for power, yet have breakaway speed. Catch passes out of the backfield, and in wide formations, and he’ll need to block and save the life of our quarterback from time to time due to the nature of our offense. Essentially this guy will have to be Superman. But we’re in Gotham, not Metropolis. Give me the guy who beat Superman. Acting as our nearly indestructible Adrian Peterson, none other than the Batman will be our running back.
At our other skill positions, while size and length for red zone success would be optimal, I prefer to have the best athletes possible at our wide receiver positions. If you were trained by the one and only Batman, we want you. If you can spend a night evading Batman OR partnering with him, we want you. Robin/Dick Grayson/Nightwing and Catwoman will be our fleet footed receivers.
To make up for that size we’re missing at the receiver position we’ll need a tight end who can run past linebackers and bully safeties like a lawyer in a courtroom on a sketchy witness. However, this person’s also going to have to block. We’ll need a multidimensional player. Actually, two dimensions will work just fine. Two Face at tight end even turns into a nice alliteration for the broadcast teams as well!
Now for the big uglies on the offensive line. We want brawlers and maulers. This oversized group of players will become more legendary than the Hogs that once created chasms in Washington. They shouldn’t ALL be sloths though. In our high tempo offense, some athleticism is required. Your more nimble linemen usually play the tackle position so we’ll man our better big uglies (and it’ll be ugly) out there.
Left Tackle – Bane (Venom permitted, in fact encouraged against JJ Watt)
Left Guard – Mr. Freeze (Could anyone be better for frigid January playoff games)
Center – Clayface (Versatile enough to transform into other line positions)
Right Guard - Penguin (On soggy, rainy days, can keep the ball dry at the line of scrimmage)
Right Tackle – Killer Croc (Likely to lead our team in penalties. Violent Personal fouls is my guess.)
We’re short one player on offense. Our QB could be out of commission from time to time, our star back might need a blow every now and then, and our receivers aren’t exactly blessed with unstoppable Megatron type skills. We need an x-factor. To obtain such a player, we’re willing to delve into the darker side and bring in someone who’s made a hobby out of killing Wayne’s. It’s a shadowy risk. However, if you’re able to stand toe to toe with Batman, seemingly die, but get up walk away, we’ll make you a lethal weapon in our offense. The Talon is our final piece on offense.
Our offense will be dynamic and potent. We realize though there’ll be days though where our defense will be asked to secure the victory. Let’s staff this side of the ball.
Our defense will be a fairly conventional 4-3 setup. If by fairly conventional you can accept, nasty, undeterred, relentless and utterly ruthless.
At the defensive end position we’ll have two stout, yet seemingly ageless, veterans. Ra’s Al Ghul has been around forever (centuries), yet each year - with a slightly greener glean in his eye – he comes back physically fresher than ever. We’ll happily accept that even if it means each year he seems to become less and less controllable after the whistle. We’ll suggest he start up a stash of money to pay his in-season fines. We’ll suggest to the league that they go to a very humanitarian cause.
On the other side of the line, we’ve got a guy who does nothing more than show up for work every day. Night after night of getting his ass and mind kicked, Jim Gordon puts his hand in the dirt and with feverish and tireless determination rushes the quarterback. We don’t expect it to happen often anymore at his advanced age, but we look forward to his distinctive ’Bat Signal’ sack dance this season.
To complete the defensive line, philosophically we look for nothing more from our defensive tackles than making lives miserable for the center and offensive guards and creating space for our linebackers to blow up plays. We don’t need nearly superhuman athletes like Ndamukong Suh and Geno Atkins, we want the old Williams Wall of Minnesota, or Tony Siragusa from his days as a Raven. Yea, we want fat guys, and reduced mental capacity is actually something encouraged and desired for this position. Harvey Bullock and Amygdala, two of the biggest imbeciles in Gotham will be the girth on our defensive line.
Even if our defensive tackles can’t make life simpler for our linebacking core, we still want ferocity and stopless engines from this trio.
Strong Side Outside Linebacker – Victor Zsasz (Those tally marks are for tackles, right?)
Middle Linebacker – Thomas Elliot/Hush (Master strategist and tactician calling plays to lead our defense)
Weak Side Linebacker- Jason Todd (We’re certain he’d die on the field for his teammates)
Truth be told, we’re a little concerned about our cornerback situation. We’ve made an excessive effort to emphasize speed and athleticism across our roster. Unfortunately when it comes to this position we had to settle on a duo that relies strictly on head games. What the Scarecrow and Mad Hatter lack in physical gifts, they make up for with their innate ability to be wicked, bewildering psychologists across from the receivers they’re covering. Sometimes these guys get so disoriented by their own hallucinations and daydreams, opponents are able to streak by them for easy scores. We concede, cornerback will be a position of need in the upcoming draft.
Since we expect the first line of defense in our secondary to drive us insane from time to time with their mental lapses, we needed a beefy, heavy hitting safety tandem. Having a sonar-like expertise has given us confidence that Man Bat can often play ‘centerfield’ in our defense. In addition to his skill of sonar, Man Bat has the size, strength and particularly the wing span to mix it up with the bigger receivers in the league. We also like a player willing to experiment, in coverages that is.
Not that we want our guys intentionally injuring our opponents, but we saw an opportunity to fill our second safety role with a player who we knew would never miss, an explosive hit that is. Deadshot may not have the keen ball hawking (bat-ting?) skills of his partner in the defensive backfield, but he’s the perfect hired gun to hunt down oblivious receivers who troll the middle the field looking for clean first downs. Deadshot will figuratively (maybe literally, we’re not sure) put a target in between that receiver’s two numbers on his chest, showcase his marksmen skills and when complete, that’ll usually temper the opponent’s passing attack for the remaining duration of the game.
Lastly, even teams who expect not to lose need special teamers. This can be chalked up to nepotism, but we like his kamikaze I’m-gonna-make-a-special teams-tackle-too attitude, even for a kicker, Damian Wayne will handle place kicking duties.
For those rare occasions we don’t march down the field and score, or when we just want or need to relent on an opponent, we’ll punt. He’s often called a dummy, yet still dresses like a gangster we call him Drake, the Ventriloquist will handle punting duties.
There you have it! The universe of Gotham, on the gridiron.
Home Stadium – Thomas & Martha Memorial Stadium
Executive Assistant to Bruce Wayne – Talia Al Ghul (she may seek the desires of our owner)
Team Psychiatrist – Doctor Hurt (They say you have to be crazy to treat crazy)
Cheerleaders – Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy (Calendar forthcoming)
League Commissioner – Gillian Loeb (We suspect mob ties to the Falcone family)
Other (corrupt) league owners – Roman Sionis, Sal Maroni, Henri Ducard, Roland Daggett
Lifetime league suspensions for behavioral issues – Jean Paul Valley, Solomun Grundy
Director of League Scheduling – Calendar Man
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