Commissarial Decree: NFL 40K

In the year 30000, the Emperor of Mankind will launch his many legions of soldiers to reclaim the galaxy under one banner. Leading these numberless armies are the Primarchs: Genetic superfreaks made in a test tube that are more or less the 18 sons of the Emperor himself. Each son in turn has his own private legion of slightly smaller super freaks (Astartes) that are based on their DNA and have the same personality traits as their Primarch. The bad news is that 9 of his sons get a worm up their ass about this thing or that and decide to turn against their proud Papa and his 9 loyal sons. Civil war ensues and the Emperor’s dream of a united galaxy go up in flames faster than the Packers’ dream of back to back Super Bowl wins. This is the premise of Warhammer 40000, a popular table top miniatures game that has given birth to tons of spin-offs including video games, comics, novels, and other stupid stuff I waste my money on. My brain is so infused with Warhammer lore that I now see it everywhere I turn but no where more than in the NFL. It is common knowledge that athletes are better than the rest of us because of their ability to throw and catch balls and if the situation arises, run fast. The Primarchs and Astartes of Warhammer 40K are very similar. They are big flesh bags of muscle that are basically human but a little bit better. I have compiled a list of 18 “men” in the NFL who I believe are representative of the Emperor’s Primarchs because in a league of drug-infused supermen these guys are just a little better. I have also listed teams that I believe are perfect dopplegangers to the 18 legions of Astartes. This selection was made by play style and attitude mostly. If you are familiar with Warhammer 40K and the NFL but disagree with the following picks then I suggest that you reevaluate your opinion. Because you are wrong.

Dark Angels / Green Bay Packers

The first legion and one of the most loyal, the Dark Angels are certainly one of the greatest legions of the Imperium. It is only fitting that the Green Bay Packers, a team with a rich and impressive history, should be compared to them. The Packers loyalty can never be called into question either since they were in the NFL pre-merger. For crying out loud, it’s called the Lombardi trophy!

Lion El’ Jonson / Aaron Rodgers

Much as the Lion is the beloved leader of the Dark Angels, Rodgers is the now-respected leader of the Green Bay Packers. They both possess a similar amount of arrogance and I believe jealousy towards primarchs/QBs that receive a little more attention than them, however, neither one’s skills are in question. Also, if you know the history of the Lion then you know that he was found as a child in a dense and dangerous jungle and raised by the greatest knight of his generation, Luther. Under Luther’s tutelage, Lion grew to be an even greater knight and leader of men all the while alienating Luther and making him feel slighted. When the Emperor was reunited with his adult son he offered to make the knights in his service Astartes but unfortunately Luther was too old to undergo the process further isolating him and causing him to feel bitter. During the Horus Heresy, Luther betrayed his one-time friend and would eventually get his ass kicked for starting all this trouble. Um, Brett Favre anyone? The power struggle of 2008 when Brett would be benched for this younger quarterback caused him to go into a maddened rage and leave his team only to return with the Vikings at his back a year later. Rodgers would eventually slay this aged brute and peace returned to Green Bay as no one mourned for their fallen hero.

Emperor’s Children / San Diego Chargers

Never have I seen a team accomplish so little with so much. Every season they are supposed to matter and then they have only one two games by Halloween. The Emperor’s Children are a legion that never had a significant victory and whose history is riddled with loss. Their arrogance is off the charts particularly since they are THE legion that has the Emperor’s name in it but they have done nothing to warrant that respect. Much like in the 2009 playoffs when the Chargers began celebrating during their first round bye only to be eliminated at home by Mark Sanchez. Another team that fits this motif is obviously the Dallas Cowboys who are the greatest team in the world if you ask them.

Fulgrim / Philip Rivers

It pains me to list my favorite quarterback as one of the douches that betrays the Emperor but he is the leader of this motley bunch of braggarts. Not only that but his attitude this season speaks for itself. When he squeaked a victory against the abysmal Miami Dolphins he only responded that “Hey, we won, right?” Yes, that’s the road to the Super Bowl. Self-evaluation is foreign to the narcissist and that is exactly who Fulgrim and Phillip Rivers are. Some would argue that Tom Brady would be a good fit because Fulgrim seems to be more interested in his hair than war and obviously Tom was distracted by the loss of his hair a few seasons ago and thought attending a clinic for implants was more important than attending practice but I put the golden boy somewhere else. The undeserved ego of Tony Romo fits here too but Rivers is cooler than him so he gets a mention first.

Iron Warriors / Baltimore Ravens

The Iron Warriors are basically known for one thing: defense. What a coincidence? Even better, the Iron Warriors are really known for being the SECOND best defense around. How fitting. The only thing colder than playing in Baltimore in the winter is playing in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ shadow. The Iron Warriors betrayed the Emperor and I don’t know about you but I trust the Ravens about as far as Joe Flacco can throw a football.

Perturabo / Ray Lewis

Most of my Primarch picks are quarterbacks because ESPN and football commentators tell me everyday that they are the only ones that actually matter but every once and a while I will pick another position. Ray Lewis is certainly a Primach and more specifically, Perturabo. The man is still a factor out there despite his waning years and is clearly the leader of this team. Both he and Perturabo have a mind for defense and little else. It also helps that he has to share a division with a team whose defense is mentioned every season and has had more success. No wonder these two both have a worm up their ass.

White Scars / Atlanta Falcons

My reasoning for this is simple: In the battle for Terra, which was the final battle that ended the Horus Heresy, there were three loyal legions on Earth. They were the Blood Angels, the Imperial Fists, and the White Scars. Guess which one no one gave a shit about? If the playoffs were looked at the same way as the end of the Horus Heresy, which team has been there recently and has made zero impact? Yeah, you guessed it. Teams in the past that earn this title would be Donovan McNabb’s Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills of the 90′s.

Jaghatai Khan / Hines Ward

It was hard to find an Asian man in the NFL.

Space Wolves / Minnesota Vikings

This really has more to do with who I chose to compare to the Primarch of the Space Wolves than anything. I guess they too come from a cold climate and the Vikings sometimes seem to have a tough defense and that is what I think Space Wolves football would be about.

Leman Russ / Jared Allen

The hairy, wild, avid hunter of the Minnesota Vikings is too similar to Leman Russ for comfort. They are both nothing more than barbarians who are practically animals. Have you ever listened to Jared Allen in an interview? He practically howls when discussing the joy of sacking QBs.

Imperial Fists / Chicago Bears

THE pinnacle of a stalwart defense in the NFL throughout the entire history of the league. There is no team that relies more heavily on that side of the ball than this team. Remember the 2006 season when they reached the Super Bowl under the QB play of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton? Never before have I seen such a Herculean feat. It would almost be funny if the entire city didn’t allow their hopes to build up and think an adequate offense isn’t necessary for a championship.

Rogal Dorn / Brian Urlacher

At the helm of the current Chicago D is this beast of a man. Bear just about sums it up. His neck is just about the size of my thigh and nothing stops him from playing (injury, family matters, Jay Cutler as a teammate, etc.). A brilliant mind for defense, he curb stomps quarterbacks. Finally, for a man so big he appears everywhere on the damn field. Clearly not just an astartes.

Night Lords / Oakland Raiders

The Night Lords are the one legion in the Imperium that forces the convicted convicts of their planet to join it. There is no NFL team that fits this legion better. Left tackle has a bad attitude? To Oakland! Wide receiver rubs his ass against a goal post in Lambeau? To Oakland! A player was drafted and then made zero effort to play the game? TO OAKLAND!

Konrad Curze “The Nighthaunter” / JaMarcus Russell

When the Emperor was first reunited with his long lost son, Konrad, he spoke of how he needed him to lead a legion in the war. Konrad Curze responded by trying to claw out his own eyes. Excessive. JaMarcus Russell responded by sitting on his ass and doing nothing to improve his game. More passive but the spirit of the rebellion is the same.

Blood Angels / Denver Broncos

This is another clear comparison based solely on who I chose as the Primarch but I can think of a couple of similarities. Like the Blood Angels, the Denver Broncos are overrated and too popular for my liking. I look at them and just don’t get it. What makes them so special? Nothing. They’re just a team from Colorado. I also feel that if their Primarch was annihilated they would all go into a blood rage and attack everything they see. Remember the fourth quarter this past Saturday night? They just started punching Patriots in the face.

Sanguinius / Tim Tebow

Pious, pure, courageous, and magnificent to behold. Tim Tebow is better than the rest of us. Love him or stupidly hate him, he is still a lot of fun to watch. Like a Primarch, he was destined for greatness at an early age. The media has been following this boy since he chose which high school he would play for. He took that nothing school with no history to a state championship. Don’t be surprised. That’s just Tebow. Sanguinius was the angelic son of the Emperor and there is no athlete that fits that to a T more than Tim Tebow.

Iron Hands / New York Giants

This team is so underrated it’s not even funny anymore. Sports commentators would rather predict that the Washington Redskins are going to win the NFC East than the downtrodden Giants. And when the Giants actually win the NFC East people begin to discuss how the NFC East has grown soft and that whoever wins is going to be one and done in the playoffs. They’ve become the second most loved team in New York even though the Jets have an obnoxious fat guy, another failed USC QB, and an aged Tomlinson on their roster. What does this have to do with the Iron Hands? Everyone thought they sucked too. Also, they will forever be linked to the Emperor’s Children much like the Giants are linked to the Chargers for the Manning/Rivers trade.

Ferrus Manus / Jay Cutler

Show of iron hands, how many of you thought I was about to pick Eli Manning? Ferrus Manus was a Primarch that Horus just assumed would help betray the Emperor but ended up remaining loyal. Jay Cutler is that same kind of a douche. He is such a double-chinned asshole that he has to be a bad guy, right? Not to mention that Jay injured himself this last season in the hand trying to do something stupid just like Ferrus Manus lost his hands and needed robotic implants. Also, Ferrus Manus would be slain by Fulgrim at the infamous Drop Site Massacre and in week 16 of the 2008 season that is exactly what Philip Rivers did to Cutler by preventing the Broncos from going to the playoffs yet again. You suck, Cutler, but apparently you’re one of the good guys.

World Eaters / Detroit Lions

This season the Detroit Lions began running around like a pack of uncouth hooligans. They were little better than the Oakland Raiders. Their defenses tore to shreds several teams and their offense picked apart the rest. Even on the verge of defeat, they decimated teams in hostile territory like the Dallas Cowboys. The World Eaters, as their name would indicate, were the Emperor’s most fearsome legion. They tore worlds apart and killed more enemies than they subjugated much to the Emperor’s woe. Guess if this legion of roid-raging renegades went rogue or not.

Angron / Ndamakun Suh

Such fury, such hatred. Best to stay away from Mr. Suh when his blood pressure is up. Unfortunately, it’s always up. Best to stay away from him altogether then or else he may smash your head into the turf and then start stomping on your back regardless of who is watching. The best was after the Thanksgiving game when he had to go before the Commissioner and his council to explain his actions much like Angron was often called before his father, the Emperor, to explain why he couldn’t play nice with others either. Both Suh and Angron feigned remorse and acquiescence and no lessons were learned and everything continued to spiral out of control. Keep you eye on this one. He may actually try to rape Aaron Rodgers on the field next season. Calvin Johnson would also have made an acceptable Angron. This choice would have nothing to do with his personality but rather his style of play. I once saw him throw off three defenders while catching a touchdown pass. Who the hell does that? Primarchs.

Ultramarines / Indianapolis Colts

The notoriously stiff and always all business Ultramarines could be represented by no other team in the NFL besides the Colts. Under the leadership of their Primarch, they get the job done and they do it well. Though not the highest decorated of the Emperor’s legions they are certainly the most dependable. The Colts even have the omega symbol on the sides of their helmets. Horseshoe? Eh, same thing.

Roboute Gulliman / Peyton Manning

These two are so similar I almost believe that Gulliman traveled back in time after the heresy and adopted the identity of Peyton Manning. Roboute Gulliman is basically Emperor junior. He is strong, intelligent, and well-organized. Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks the world has ever seen. His numbers are amazing and before his surgery this past off-season his durability was too. Do you remember when he beat the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football even though the Colts had possession of the ball for less than a quarter? Last decade, no team won more games in the regular season than the Colts. Also, take into account that he is surrounded by incompetent coaches and equally incompetent players and he still took them to two Super Bowls and even won one. I’d say that’s a Primarch-like feat.

Death Guard / Pittsburgh Steelers

There is nothing fancy about the Death Guard. They go to a planetary system and they make it comply. They don’t even color their armor because that seems too festive to them. The Steelers have the same approach to football. For decades, they have been known as a team that uses the time-honored combo of a solid running game and an impenetrable defense to win their games. The Steelers game plan has changed slightly over the past few seasons but the mentality is still the same.

Mortarion / Ben Roethlisberger

The tragic character Mortarion… a Primarch who was loyal for a time. He was once a voice of reason on councils but came to believe that the Emperor did not care about him as much as some of his other brothers. If only his father would have given him more hugs. Roethlisberger had a similar story arc in that he was a premiere QB in the NFL, expecially after such accomplishments so early in his career, but things took a wrong turn with his off the field activities. Whether Big Ben is guilty of the accusations made about him ( *cough* he is *cough*) he was never found guilty of anything. Still, the Commissioner laid down the heavy hand of justice and banished him for four games. Shunned by his brother QBs, Big Ben went into hiding where he plots his revenge to this day.

Thousand Sons / Dallas Cowbooys

I know what some of the 40K aficionados are thinking right now: “The Thousand Sons are one of the most intelligent legions in the Imperium and the Cowboys are just a bunch of rock heads”. You’re right on both counts. That is not where this comparison stems from. It stems from the fact that that the Thousand Sons watched their homeworld get decimated before their very eyes and they were helpless to defend it much as the Dallas Cowboys appear to be helpless against opponents when playing at home in that monstrous coliseum of capitalism that Jerry Jones had built as an affront to the football gods. It’s just too big and to help pay off the cost of that monstrosity they have to have bands like the Jonas Brothers come and have concerts there. Let it burn, I say.

Magnus the Red / Donovan McNabb

Booed when he was drafted because Philadelphia wanted Ricky Williams (Philadelphia is a great judge of character), booed on the sidelines for disagreeing with Terrell Owens (T.O. usually gets along so well with his QBs), booed, benched, and removed by the Eagles so Michael Vick could take over (which is why Vick is now taking his dream team to the NFC Championship…), booed, benched, and removed from Washington so Rex Grossman could take over (yikes), AND Minnesota actually had to get rid of him but you see the trend. McNabb has always been crapped on for reasons beyond my understanding much like Magnus the Red was always the outcast of the Primarchs because of his mutation. These two unfortunate souls never had a chance. Michael Vick could also have been Magnus the Red because of Magnus’ hatred of the Space Wolves and Vick’s hatred of canines.

Luna Wolves “Sons of Horus” / New England Patriots

This spoils my pick for Horus but I prefer listing the Legions first. Loyal to a fault and highly decorated, the Luna Wolves were the most cherished of the Emperor’s legions. Their treachery was surprising to say the least. The New England Patriots were cherished as perhaps this century’s new dynasty until reports of cheating came up. The whole thing has been covered up and forgotten but the mark is still there. I used to look at Gronkowski and Hernandez as Tybalt Marr “the either” and Verulam Moy “the or” but Gronkowski’s sheer strength, size, and power have made me change him to Ezekyle Abaddon. Wes Welker is “little Horus” for his stature and loyalty and Bill Belichick with his misshapen frame is the spitting image of Maloghurst the twisted.

Horus / Tom Brady

One was named Warmaster of the Imperium and the other was the only NFL player to be unanimously voted for MVP just last season. Where did it all go wrong? Tom “the golden boy” Brady has all the makings for an NFL Horus. He has many accolades, several records, three super bowl rings, and overwhelming feelings of insecurity. Have you ever seen him when things aren’t going correctly? He falls to pieces fast. The best is watching him shake the other qb’s hand after a game he’s lost. If you blink you’ll miss it. During the final battle on Horus’ flagship, he was confronted by Sanguinius who he decimated with his new powers. If you’ve seen the Broncos play the Patriots this year then you know what I’m getting at.

Salamanders / Jets

I was inspired by this comparison because both this legion and this team suck. I like the Jets just fine but how often can I watch a team perform so low? I know that they had just gone to back to back AFC Championship games but did you see how they did that? It says more about the AFC then it does the Jets. Remember that both the Colts and Steelers would go on to lose those Super Bowls too. The Salamanders are just one of those throw away legions that nobody cares about. If you ever meet someone who says playing with the Salamanders chapter is his favorite in Warhammer 40K, slap him.

Vulkan / Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez doesn’t really have the makings of a Primarch but neither does Vulkan really. He is the most forgettable of the Primarchs and the least important. When he was reunited with the Emperor the two participated in a contest to see who could capture a larger salamander. WTF? Worse, Vulkan almost got himself killed in the process and had to be rescued by the Emperor. Useless, the both of them.

Word Bearers / New Orleans Saints

The Word Bearers are the most devout of the Emperor’s legions and the Saints are named after, well, saints. However, religious devotion is not the only comparison I have thought of between this legion and team. Two years ago, the Saints met the Colts in the Super Bowl. The Saints surprised both the Colts and viewers everywhere with an onside kick that sent Indianapolis reeling. This act is very reminiscent of when the Word Bearers bombarded Macragge, the Ultramarines’ homeworld, at the start of the Horus Heresy. Much like the Colts were out of the game after that surprise attack, the Ultramarines would also not be a factor in the Horus Heresy after recovering from the devastating losses they sustained.

Lorgar / Drew Brees

It is said that Lorgar turned against the Emperor before even Horus. Lorgar was devout to a great extreme and the Emperor had to tell him to cool it. This chastisement caused Lorgar to be a little bitch and start worshiping dark gods and plotting revenge. Drew Brees is a bitch too and he certainly is little. Six feet my ass. Michael Vick claims to be six feet too and he is definitely taller than Brees. Most importantly, Brees this summer was one of the faces for the players’ union fighting for better contracts. Seeing the Saints’ QB with that union most likely caused Emperor Goodell to weep.

Raven Guard / Miami Dolphins

The other useless legion of the Warhammer 40K world. The Raven Guard is known for the use of jet packs and guerilla tactics to throw their opponents off. This strategy reminds me of the wildcat offense that the Dolphins tried to utilize in recent seasons that worked with moderate success. Undisciplined teams didn’t know how to handle it but Peyton Guilliman decimated the Dolphins easily.

Corax / Matt Cassel

The Raven Guard and the Luna Wolves used to work in tandem on many campaigns. Corax and Horus had a very deep friendship but an unknown falling out caused them to become estranged and Corax quickly took his legion away and fought alone. Matt Cassel once served as Tom Brady’s back up QB but after having to take over the entire 2008 season it was obvious Cassel would have to leave. Especially since Cassel won 11 games in 08 and Brady would only win 10 in 09. Screw you, Brady, you’re not better than Manning because you can be replaced.

Alpha Legion / Houston Texans

The newest legion and the newest NFL team are both mysteries. We don’t know much about the Houston Texans and what they can do. They made it to their first play-offs this season but with their third string quarterback. They lost to the Ravens but after a couple of costly special teams flubs. The jury is still out on how good this Texans team is. Post-heresy, the Alpha Legion was nearly wiped out by the Ultramarines. Ask the Texans how they feel about the Colts.

Alpharius / Cam Newton

Alpharius was the last of the Primarchs to be found again by the Emperor. He’s very quiet and mysterious. It is still unknown why he betrayed the Imperium and joined forces with Horus. Cam Newton is also a quandary. Is he the next big passing sensation or is he going to become some sort of super-Vick in terms of rushing QBs? Only time will tell.

What did you learn? The answer is nothing. What you just read was a waste of time but I appreciate you sticking it out nonetheless. Were you bummed not to see Matt Forte or Calvin Johnson get their own picks? Perhaps your favorite team didn’t make the cut, or worse, I said your team was like one of the treacherous or crappy legions. That’s too bad but I’m a Chargers fan and Norv Turner isn’t fired yet so we all have our problems.