Friends, we’re at the point in the NFL offseason where anything goes. Football won’t actually be played until maybe August, and as teams begin their offseason workouts, content is DRY.
EXCEPT HERE AT SB NATION.
The crossover between professional sports and anime is vast, especially in football. The traditional shonen amime mantra of pushing past your limits and defeating your enemy is synonymous with football, and everyone at some point wanted to be a Super Saiyan.
Well let’s flip that today. We’re going to build an entire football team out of anime characters. That’s right. An entire starting offense, an entire starting defense and special teams. For the sake of the teambuilding, we will be running God’s favorite personnel, 21 personnel and use a 4-2-5 defense.
Alright, let’s start with the most important position.
Quarterback: Shikamaru Nara, Naruto
Alright so hear me out. My QB needs to be smart enough to put everyone in the best position to succeed, yet be able to win off his own power and what he does best. Shikamaru might look like your traditional game manager at QB, but what he does best is win with his mind and thinking ahead, while also being able to improvise when things get sticky. His quick thinking should help keep the offense on track, while also keeping the ceiling high with his ability to make plays out of structure.
Backup: Trafalgar Law, One Piece
Running Back: Son Goku, Dragonball Z
Universe 7’s strongest warrior is my lead back in this offense, and while he might not score very high in the S2 Cognition test, you cannot doubt the measurables. His speed makes him a home run threat every time he touches the ball, and he has the power to do the dirty work between the tackles. It’s said that Saiyans get stronger during battles too, so Goku won’t be tired when we hit the 4th quarter. Ultra Instinct Goku would be a PROBLEM in the run game.
Backup: Mash Burnedead, Mashle: Magic and Muscles
Fullback: Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Alphonse has shown he’s willing to do the dirty work when it comes to alchemy, often being second fiddle to his brother Edward. However, his versatility comes in handy here as a fullback. He’s got the size (he’s literally a steel machination) and the strength to be a lead blocker in the run game, but also has the agility and quickness to be a problem against opposing linebackers. He’s also extremely reliable, something that’ll come in handy on this team.
Backup: Tien, Dragonball Z
Tight End: Katakuri Charlotte, One Piece
Versatility is the name of the game with this pick, and Katakuri will help the offense in both the run game and the passing game. With his Mochi Mochi fruit powers, Katakuri should dominate at the catch point, while also being extremely aggressive and physical in the run game. Just put it in the area code and Katakuri will go and get it. He might take a break to get some snacking in, but hopefully we can keep that under control.
Backup: Mirio Togata, My Hero Academia
Wide Receiver: Monkey D. Luffy, One Piece
Apply the same thought with being a monster at the catch point for Katakuri to Luffy here. Despite being a little undersized, Luffy has the speed and play strength to dominate on the outside. He could be kind of a Ja’Marr Chase type of player, just get the ball in his hands and let him work.
Wide Receiver: Shinra Kusakabe, Fire Force
This offense needs a big boost of speed, and we get that in Kusakabe. The man’s feet make him go so fast that he can disintegrate into particles that surpass the speed of light. He might be one of the overall fastest people in anime, and that speed makes him a dangerous deep threat. Combine that with Luffy and Katakuri’s ability to make tough catches and we’re cooking with gas here, folks.
Backups: Kakashi Hatake, Naruto, Piccolo, Dragonball Z
Left Tackle: All Might, My Hero Academia
The Symbol of Peace comes in at left tackle here, and in this case we’re choosing the All Might from seasons one and two, NOT after he completely loses his power. All Might has the power, agility and the mindset to be an elite left tackle, just as long as he keeps the peak form of All Might in the game.
Left Guard: Big Mom, One Piece
Every offensive line needs one and only one lineman who is slightly unhinged. This is the Big Mom role. At left guard, she can use her raw power and nasty disposition to cave in that side of the offensive line and leave opposing defenses in her wake. She also can literally take souls so we needed that on our team. The hunger pangs are a massive issue, but I’m sure we can figure that out.
Center: Jimbei, One Piece
The First Son of the Sea is at center because we need someone to tie this offensive line together. Someone who doesn’t mind going under the radar in order to keep this ship steady. Jimbei is strong, smart and is willing to do the dirty work, something we’ll need at center.
Right Guard: FatGum, My Hero Academia
Who’s getting around this?
I rest my case.
Right Tackle: Alex Louis Armstrong, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Armstrong probably isn’t the thickest player to put on the inside at guard or center, but placing him out at right tackle feels like a good spot for him. He can use his strength and willpower to solidify the offensive line, an Armstrong family special.
Now, let’s move on to the defense, where we got some real heavy hitters.
Defensive End: Thorkell, Vinland Saga
HE PUNCHED A HORSE SO FREAKING HARD THAT THE HORSE FLEW UP INTO THE AIR! HE THREW A BOULDER AT A VIKING SHIP AND DESTROYED THE FLEET! PUT THAT MAN ON THE EDGE AND LET HIM COOK!
Defensive End: Yujiro Hanma, Baki
They call this man “The World’s Strongest Creature”. Not man. not human. CREATURE. Easy lock for this defensive line.
Backups: Eustass Kidd, One Piece, Silva Zoldyck, Hunter x Hunter
Defensive Tackle: Kaido, One Piece
In the One Piece universe, this man is the World’s Strongest Creature. A massive human being who can also turn into a dragon and destroy islands by himself. Line him up at nose tackle and let him go to work.
Defensive Tackle: Broly, Dragonball
This is probably the biggest boom-or-bust pick on the roster. Depending on which Broly we get, this defensive line is absolutely fearsome. Dragonball Z Broly gave all of the Saiyans the absolute beats, and while Dragonball Super Broly was probably not as unhinged, he’s just as strong. Super Broly would be fine here, we’d just need some extra coaching on the side to unlock his full potential.
Backups: Franky, One Piece, Toppo, Dragonball Super
MIKE Linebacker: Jiren, Dragonball Super
This was a pick I had locked in from the moment I chose to do this exercise. Jiren is versatile enough to wear multiple hats for this defense, and has the destructive power to make plays all over the field. The battles between he and Goku were legendary in the Tournament of Power, and the practice battles between the two will be just as awesome.
Backup: Asta, Black Clover
WILL Linebacker: Baki Hanma, Baki
Range, athleticism, and a nasty disposition give Baki Hanma the start at WILL. This defensive front is full of badasses and it’ll be tough trying to move the ball against them.
Backup: Eijiro Kirishima, My Hero Academia
Cornerback: Vegeta, Dragonball
He might be short, but you cannot measure the amount of DAWG in him that Vegeta has. The Prince of All Saiyans talks a lot of shit, and we need that energy on the outside at corner. He’s got the athleticism to hold up despite his size, and his pride won’t let him lose to anyone ever.
Cornerback: Ichigo Kurasaki, Bleach
Remember that shit talking point I made about Vegeta? Ditto for Kurasaki, who’s bigger than Vegeta, and gives our defense the coolest outside CB duo of all time.
Backups: Yusuke Urameshi, Yu Yu Hakusho, Sasuke Uchiha, Naruto
Nickel Corner: Naruto Uzumaki, Naruto
This was an easy pick. Nickel corners have to wear a lot of hats, and in the modern defense they have to be able to do many things. Uzumaki can literally be everywhere on the field at the same time with his shadow clones, and flooding the field with multiple Naruto’s will make this passing defense impenetrable.
Backup: Krillin, Dragonball
Safety: Gohan, Dragonball
Another pick that I had as a shoo-in when I first started this exercise. Gohan can wear multiple hats for this defense, playing the deep parts of the field or coming down into the run game. That ability to be versatile combined with his seemingly limitless potential makes him an easy pick as my QB of the defense. He’s definitely wearing the green dot.
Safety: Saitama, One Punch Man
The range and raw athleticism that Saitama can bring to this team is immeasurable. He also has one-hit knockout power, making him someone to be feared for opposing defenses coming across the middle.
Backups: Future Trunks, Dragonball Z, Katsuki Bakugo, My Hero Academia
Special Teams matter too, so we also have our kicker and punter on the ready.
Kicker: Sanji, One Piece
The man literally doesn’t do any fighting with his hands. You gotta have some educated feet to get that done. Sanji’s power and range also make him a lock from any distance once we pass the opponent’s 40 yard line.
Punter: Nezuko Kamado, Demon Slayer
She’s a demon, yes, but she can also literally kick the heck out of opposing demons, making her a great pick for our punter. Just catch the ball and kick it far.
To top it all off, here’s who we have as our head coach and coordinators.
Head Coach: Erwin Smith, Attack on Titan
Listen to this, and tell me you wouldn’t run through a brick wall for this man.
Offensive Coordinator: Anya Forger, Spy x Family
Now you’re probably wondering: JP, why are you putting a five year old in charge of the offense? Well, it’s simple. This five year old has psychic powers and can tell what someone is thinking by looking at them, which will come in handy when we need to make offensive adjustments. I would make her head coach, but she’s five and I don’t think she’s ready for that yet.
Defensive Coordinator: Senku, Dr. Stone
An incredibly smart character who can create and solve problems when things get rough. The defense is in great hands.
This team would likely destroy every NFL team en route to a Super Bowl, because it’s simply the greatest team ever made. If they devote their hearts, set their hearts ablaze and go beyond plus ultra, they’ll win every game.