We’ve reached spooky season, folks.
Spirit of Halloween stores are popping up in abandoned strip malls. The most abominable foods thinkable are turning pumpkin spice-flavored.
But for sports fans, we also associate the little things with fall, like the little graphic of foliage on the score bug on the television during the broadcast or jack-o-lantern’s decorating the booth that Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calls a game in. We notice these things, trust me.
But for the normal people out there, this time of year can be mostly-associated with your traditional aspects of Halloween. One of those associations is the classic Frankenstein’s Monster, so in the spirit of the approaching holiday, we’re going to combine the creation of Frankenstein’s Monster with the NFL by creating the best possible monster team in a lab. We’ll take the best passers, runners, pass-catchers, offensive line, run defense, pass defense, coaching, and uniforms and bring it to life.
However, there are some ground rules: if we were to use every team, it would be as simple as picking the best group in every category. It’s obvious that Patrick Mahomes is the best passer right now, so you would easily pick the Chiefs’ passers.
What do monsters do? They disrupt and wreak havoc, and every season there’s a team that wasn’t in the playoffs the past year that disrupts by defying expectations and makes it the following year as the sleeper team.
Thus, we’ll only be selecting the best position groups from teams that weren’t in the playoffs in 2019.
The other rule: we can only select from a team once. The monster can’t be ⅔ worth Los Angeles Rams even if they’re the best because then it just becomes the Rams.
Passers: Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub as backup)
Matt Ryan won MVP and had a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. He’s the elite selection here. The Falcons have seemingly never recovered from the loss, but that’s because of their terrible defense rather than on Ryan, who will pretty much guarantee you a minimum of 250 yards passing and a touchdown per game.
He’s also 8th all-time in fourth-quarter comebacks- that’s a leader heading this monster.
Runners: Cleveland Browns (Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt)
Nick Chubb already looked like a top-ten caliber running back when the Browns drafted him, then Cleveland picked up Kareem Hunt, another top-ten caliber running back after being released from Kansas City due to a massive suspension.
And like so: the Browns have a dynamic two-headed hydra in the run game at the same time that gets to split the carries when one or the other gets tired.
Pass-Catchers: Pittsburgh Steelers (Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Chase Claypool, Vance McDonald)
The Steelers are an absolute receiver factory; they lost arguably the best one of this generation in his prime because of his ego-driven fallout (Antonio Brown) and the production didn’t skip a beat from the position. They get Pro Bowl-level talent out of guys drafted in the third round and beyond and this group is no different.
Juju Smith-Schuster headlines it as a renaissance man- he has a pro-gaming endorsement, an internet-famous pet dog, provides leadership as voted Teammate of the Year by his colleagues, and was the youngest player ever to reach 2,500 receiving yards. The fact that he’s only 23 is, dare I say, (pun-intended) scary.
Offensive Line: Las Vegas Raiders (Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown)
There are several factors here that make them the perfect selection for the NFL monster team:
- They’re the biggest position group and they play for the Raiders, a franchise associated with being feared in their silver & black getups that are absolutely terrifying.
- Pro Football Focus ranks them as the best at that position group, with all of the starters coming back after playing together already. Continuity for this position group is key.
- Rodney Hudson is the smallest player. He’s 6’2 300 pounds.
- Anyone who puts in that much effort to protect quarterback Derek Carr, arguably one of the most boring people in the NFL after watching HBO’s Hard Knocks, you could trust with your life.
Run Defense: Los Angeles Chargers (Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Linval Joseph, Kenneth Murray, Denzel Perryman, Drue Tranquill)
Bosa and Ingram on the opposing sides already made for pressure coming from both ends, then LA went out and added 2x Pro-Bowler Linval Joseph in the middle. Good luck making a decision on where to go.
Pass Defense/Secondary: Los Angeles Rams (Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, Taylor Rapp, John Johnson)
The Rams may have lost Talib and Robey-Coleman, but they still have arguably the best corner in the league (at least the highest-paid) in Jalen Ramsey. Plus, they have a history of getting favorable treatment.. *cough* 2019 NFC Championship Pass-Interference *cough*
Coaching: Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins)
The Dolphins actively fielded a roster last season in an attempt to lose every game last season to tank for the best chance of drafting Tua Tagovailoa. They still were able to draft him, but they got him at #5 overall because Brian Flores was so talented and compelled to rally his players that he went against the game plan and they accidentally won five games, including one against the New England Patriots that they needed to win. The fact that he won any games at all given the circumstance he was under (players jumping ship and requesting to be traded AWAY from somewhere as beautiful as Miami) in his first season is a miracle.
He’s a guy that can do more with less and has a glowing reputation early; the Dolphins have now been lauded as a team with a vision as big names signed there this offseason, and Flores is the man behind the magic.
Uniforms: Chicago Bears
A classic look that they haven’t strayed away from, that dark navy and orange just make everyone who wears them look bigger and more intimidating. They’re some of the best in sports.
May your favorite team escape Spooky Season nightmare-free this fall.
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