By Paul Pabst
April 23, 2013

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1. Reno Hightower (Kurt Russell) ::: The Best of Times

Strengths Too many to list. The hair, the teeth, the cannon and the white shoes. Ran the huddle like Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.  This cat is a franchise QB with an all-time name.

Weaknesses Decision-making: While it worked out, trusting any character played by Robin Williams to make a big catch is questionable. Balky knees.

NFL equivalent Johnny Unitas, with an epic mullet and the ability to rebuild an engine.


2. Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) ::: Flash Gordon

Strengths Preventing Earth’s destruction. More importantly, he showed off his cannon while dropping Emperor Ming’s henchmen. Forward-thinking vis-a-vis self-promotion: always wore “Flash” shirt, even off the field.

Weaknesses Romantic two-timing (Dale Arden, Princess Aura) evidence of indecisiveness. Propensity towards ssssmedium shirts.

NFL equivalent Tebow. One of them took down Ming the Merciless, the other saved the world.


3. Paul Crewe (Burt Reynolds) ::: The Longest Yard (1974)

Strengths Scrambling ability. Legendary chest hair. Cool enough to meet women even while in prison. Showed flashes of a future career as a GM when recruiting other cons for the Mean Machine squad. Notoriously accurate, especially when targeting prison guards’ man regions.

Weaknesses History of point shaving is a red flag. (You have to respect how upset the other inmates become when they meet Crewe. They're surrounded by killers and felons, but nothing turns their stomachs more than a QB on the take.)

NFL equivalent Mark Sanchez for looks; Joe Namath for ability; Art Schlichter for the company he keeps. Also, any quarterback whose jersey number is in the 20's.


4. David Greene (Brendan Fraser) ::: School Ties

Strengths He was the original read-option quarterback—and he did it face-maskless. Excellent dancer. Stringent adherence to honor code.

Weaknesses Bad wingman. Stealing Charlie Dillon’s girl will be hard to overlook for teammates at the next level. Public dancing could turn into public embarrassment in age of cellphone cameras. QBs with his name have historically flopped.

NFL equivalent Jay Fiedler, for academics if not ability.


5. Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) ::: Point Break

Strengths Quick hands: can catch a Rottweiller mid-stride. Tackling on sand. Unchanging expression suggests unflappability (or just bad acting).

Weaknesses The knee: can plant and throw, but not chase down Bodhi, who was running in a tuxedo. Also, reckless: in softer NFL, jumping out of a plane sans parachute is frowned upon.

NFL equivalent Rob Johnson, with more civic responsibility.


6. Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) ::: Heaven Can Wait

Strengths Movie-star looks. Can return from the dead.

Weaknesses Indecisiveness—pick a body and let’s move on, man.

NFL equivalent A clairvoyant Vince Ferragamo.


7. Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx) ::: Any Given Sunday

Strengths Confidence to shoot a music video two starts into his career.

Weaknesses A bit soft: booting all over the field is not cool. When Lawrence Taylor lectures you for being out on the town too much, you may have a self-control problem.

NFL equivalent Donovan McNabb for the whole upchuck thing, Vince Young for the shirtless-at-the-club thing.


8. Seth Maxwell (Mac Davis) ::: North Dallas Forty

Strengths Bounce-back-ability: Can play full game after a night hot tubbing with groupies.

Weaknesses Failure to stick up for best friend and sure-handed teammate Phil Elliott betrays a certain selfishness.

NFL equivalent Character was based on Don Meredith, so … Don Meredith.


9. Bird Williams (Mykelti Williamson) ::: Wildcats

Strengths Throws beautiful deep ball. Works comfortably with female coaches. Can easily "obtain" video equipment for film staff.

Weaknesses Petty theft and fencing stolen goods to teammates are likely violations of NFL morals clause.

NFL comparison Steve Young, if Young were a kleptomaniac. If.


10. Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) ::: The Last Boy Scout

Strengths Ability to land a young Halle Berry as an NFL has-been. Arm strength: ropes one to save the Senator while wearing leather pants, on a horse and with bullet hole in hand.

Weaknesses Self-loathing. Substance abuse. Sense of humor not enough to compensate for history of point shaving.

NFL comparison Google crashed when "NFL quarterbacks and leather pants" was searched.


11. Frank Cushman (Jerry O’Connell) ::: Jerry Maguire


Strengths Talent, while never actually shown in film, had Broncos and Chargers salivating. Guitar playing.

Weaknesses Football father might micromanage son into obscurity. Only knows one song.

NFL equivalent A top overall pick engineering a move from the Chargers to the Broncos evokes shades of Eli Manning and John Elway.


12. Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) ::: The Replacements

Strengths Adaptability (boat washer–turned-QB). Quick-drive capacity (makes it from boat to stadium in the space of halftime).

Weaknesses Lacks confidence—except when it comes to asking out cheerleaders, a clear violation of team rules.

NFL equivalent 1987 replacement QB Sean Payton.


13. Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass (Kip Pardue) ::: Remember The Titans

Strengths Great hair. Cannon arm. Toughness of a young Bert Jones (upends star nose tackle from Groveton). Kiss on teammate shows refreshingly progressive attitude.

Weaknesses Cannot run the pitch-option. Buckles when confronted by coach.

NFL equivalent A rich man’s Blaine Gabbert.


14. Rifleman (Walter Briggs) ::: All the Right Moves

Strengths Comes from western PA, a QB hotbed. Great deep ball. Better nickname.

Weaknesses Refusal to audible away from clearly terrible play call (i.e., a handoff in a torrential downpour when taking a knee would have sufficed).

NFL equivalent Randall Cunningham’s arm; Joe Pisarcik’s game management.


15. Jonathan Moxon (James Van Der Beek) ::: Varsity Blues

Strengths Always on toes. Sitting behind Lance Harbor, you have clipboard duty written all over you—but Mox was ready.

Weaknesses Passed on a whipped-cream-clad Ali Larter. Chose Brown instead of walking on at Texas and having an Applewhite-ish career.

NFL comparison A WB version of Frank Reich.


16. Paul Blake (Scott Bakula) ::: Necessary Roughness

Strengths Overcomes fact that best blocker is two-way lineman Sinbad.

Weaknesses Makes Brandon Weeden look young. Not smart enough to stay out of bar brawl with Texas jarhead. Glacial foot speed.

NFL equivalent An even slower version of USFL legend Greg Landry.


17. Joe Kingman (Dwayne Johnson) ::: The Game Plan

Strengths Proves to be standup guy when eight-year-old daughter arrives out of nowhere.

Weaknesses Size, skill set seem better suited to defensive line (or professional wrestling). Questionable commitment to team and career.

NFL equivalent Jim Druckenmiller—too much time in the weight room.


18. Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid) ::: Any Given Sunday

Strengths Cagey veteran. Fictional accolades too many to enumerate.

Weaknesses Back and backbone. An injury to the former opened the door for Willie Beamen. Lack of the latter kept him from standing up to social-butterfly wife.

NFL equivalent Tom Brady with a less-awesome spouse.


19. Joe Kane (Craig Sheffer) ::: The Program

Strengths Catch phrase—“Let’s put the women and children to bed and go looking for dinner”—has clear marketability.

Weaknesses Self-destructive. Father issues. Susceptible to SI cover jinx.

NFL equivalent An even more messed-up Schlichter.


20. Johnny Walker (Anthony Michael Hall) ::: Johnny Be Good

Strengths Survives entire film alongside young, pre-rehab Robert Downey Jr., which had to have taken a toll on the body. Beyond that, none.

Weaknesses Cocky. Corruptible. Lacks comedic skills. Universally disliked (film has a 0% score at Rotten Tomatoes).

NFL equivalent

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