It’s Halloween, so I undertook the ghastly task of finding a horror icon that perfectly sums up all 32 NFL teams. Some of these are funny, some are salty, but none of them should be taken too seriously. Happy Halloween!
All 32 NFL Teams as Horror Icons
The Baltimore Ravens: The Raven (The Raven)
Duh? I mean, the team is named for a poem by the master of macabre, Edgar Allen Poe, so why mess with perfection? I also considered “The Crow” from the film of the same name, but we all know that A. It’s not really a horror movie, and B. The only scary thing about The Crow is all those dreadful sequels.
The Cleveland Browns: Cujo (Cujo)
I was tempted to give the Browns something lame, just to be cruel, but my love for Stephen King won out, and the rabid dog won out. TRY to tell a Browns fan that Baker Mayfield isn’t good, an the possessed Saint Bernard will look like a sleeping puppy in comparison.
The Cincinnati Bengals: Gage Creed (Pet Semetary)
When Louis Creed just couldn’t stomach the loss of his child, Gage, he took a risk, burying him in the Pet Semetary, a magic graveyard that brings pets back to life. When Gage came back, he wasn’t the same boy, in fact, he was hardly human.
Paul Brown had a similar experience when he was kicked out of Cleveland, where he coached for nearly 20 years, he helped create a new team in Cincinnati, called the Bengals. After winning three NFL championships with the Browns, the Bengals have never sniffed the same kind of success.
The Pittsburgh Steelers: Count Dracula (Dracula)
You couldn’t make a list of the most iconic horror villains without fiction’s most iconic Vampire, just like you couldn’t make a list of the most iconic American pro sports teams without the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s as simple as that.
Even though there hasn’t been a good Dracula in sometime, and the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers suck in a different way than the iconic Vamp, their legacies remain intact.
The Houston Texans: Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
The teenagers in Texas Chainsaw Massacre are idiots. They pick up hitchhikers, investigate old spooky houses, and break literally all of the slasher rules. I’m not saying anyone deserves to die, but these kids made it way, way too easy on their monster counterpart.
The only thing dumber than the things these kids do? Is spending multiple first round picks on talented quarterbacks that they have no intention of drafting or signing protection for.
Seriously, Houston. They’re called offensive linemen.
The Indianapolis Colts: Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
Just when you think Jason Voorhees is gone forever, he comes back with a vengeance, just like Colts quarterbacks. No more Johnny Unitas? Just hang around, Peyton Manning will show up eventually. No more Peyton? Here’s Andrew Luck. Luck stepped out? Turns out this Jacoby Brissett kid isn’t half-bad either. Not every version is as good as the last, but they just keep coming regardless.
The Jacksonville Jaguars: The Predator (Predator)
The original Predator was amazing. Despite using “advanced” special effects at the time, the film has aged well, and is still very enjoyable today. But every film since then feels like a misstep. They’re so close to recreating the original product, which everyone loves, but they keep making small mistakes.
Like not bringing Arnold back. Or like trading Jalen Ramsey instead of just paying him. Smell what the Rock is cookin?
The Tennessee Titans: The Thing (The Thing)
Nobody really knows what “The Thing” from The Thing is. It shapeshifts to avoid capture, and then strikes on it’s prey when you least expect it. Kinda like the Tennessee Titans. Nobody really knows what the Tennessee Titans are, but they have this propensity for winning more games than you expect every single season, without fail.
The Buffalo Bills: Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs)
I almost don’t have to read into this more than I have, but if we want to focus on Jame Gumb’s (Bill’s real name) confusion, we can discuss why they’re starting a tight end at quarterback?
Would you start me? I’d start me.
The Miami Dolphins: Jigsaw (Saw)
The Miami Dolphins are confusing. They have this great legacy, but this year, all they seem focused on doing is losing. Not only do I believe they’ll go 0-16, but I think that’s the plan. Meanwhile they’re doing things like picking up Aqib Talib’s contract for picks, and trading young talent like Minkah Fitzpatrick away. They’ve got some kind of plan, but it is so, so, so very hard to watch.
The New England Patriots: The T-800 (Terminator)
I was tempted to go full dork and give them the T-100 from the (shh) superior sequel, but like Bill Belichick would say, keep it simple, stupid. A seemingly unstoppable, unkillable machine setting on doing it’s job. If only the Jets had drafted Sarah Connor instead of Sam Darnold, they might have a shot.
The New York Jets: The Beast (Poltergeist)
Why Poltergeist? I dunno, ask Sam Darnold, he’s the one “seeing ghosts.”
The Denver Broncos: Imhotep (The Mummy)
Once considered an icon, dominating in the 90’s, and then suffering a disappointing resurgence recently, the iconic undead pharaoh might as well be wrapped in 20 year old number seven jerseys.
The Kansas City Chiefs: Bruce (Jaws)
Once upon a time, the horrifying beast from the depths was frightening enough to keep beach-goers out of the water. The most iconic shark in cinema established a new kind of fear and tension in it’s original form.
But the sequels… They lack the same bite as the original, and it’s not particularly close. How scary can a shark really be? Just stay out of the water?
Just like the Chiefs. They had arguably the NFL’s most underrated defense of all time back in 1969, when they won their lone Super Bowl. But they haven’t quite found their way back to the top yet, despite several tries.
So whether you’re hiding from the Chiefs or sharks, just wait until winter, they’re both nowhere to be found in January.
The Los Angeles Chargers: The Babadook (Babadook)
Remember when the Babadook first came out? There was SO MUCH HYPE about this movie. Everyone was calling it the scariest movie they’ve ever seen, and I was genuinely worried the first time I sat down to watch it.
Then… it was just fine. It wasn’t really scary, and it never really lived up to the hype. Get where I’m coming from?
The Oakland Raiders: Chucky (Child’s Play)
C’mon. This was too easy. It’s ironic, because if any team could lay claim to multiple horror icons, it is these Oakland Raiders, but one glance at Jon Gruden leaves little-to-no doubt about which horror superstar best suits the Silver and Black.
The Chicago Bears: Godzilla (Godzilla)
Come. On. This one is the easiest of all 32 teams. Godzilla might spend most of his time destroying Tokyo, but if he emerged from Lake Michigan, wouldn’t he be a monster of the midway? Just think, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Brian Urlacher, Godzilla? Not a single name out of place there.
The Detroit Lions: The Hash-Slinging Slasher
I’m sorry Lions fans, I really am, but… I was a baby the last time your franchise won a playoff game. And not just any kind of baby, I mean a several-month old infant. I couldn’t lift my head, just like your franchise couldn’t turn the likes of Barry Sanders or Calvin Johnson into post-season success. So you get arguably the scariest monster on this list, the Hash-Slinging Slasher from Spongebob, season two, episode 16. You’re welcome.
The Green Bay Packers: Count Orlok (Nosferatu)
An undeniable classic, one of the NFL’s oldest teams lays claim to one of cinema’s most iconic monsters. There’s something kinda timeless about primetime in Lambeau, just like Bram Stoker’s vampire thriller.
The Minnesota Vikings: One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater (Purple People Eater)
Firstly, don’t tell me this isn’t a horror movie, because it gave me nightmares as a kid. Secondly, you don’t get to lose as many big games as the Vikings have and get rewarded with one of the elite all-time scaries. Thirdly, c’mon guys, the pass rushing unit. Let’s be fair.
The Atlanta Falcons: Freddie Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Imagine your worst nightmare. Maybe you’re being chased by a monster, maybe you forgot to do your homework, maybe you drove all the way to the office without putting pants on.
Is it worse than losing a Super Bowl where you were up 28-3? Talk about a nightmare on NRG (parkway) Street.
The Carolina Panthers: Gozer (Ghostbusters)
You know what really bugged me about Ghostbusters? Obviously, it’s more of a horror than a comedy, but there are points during that film which are genuinely kinda creepy. The dog-beasts that come before Gozer are actually kinda terrifying.
But then Gozer finally arrives, and looks like a dollar store David Bowie. After hearing how horrifying and powerful Gozer is, he’s just kinda underwhelming. And then he turns into the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man.
Imagine that, thinking you’ve got this awesome, powerful thing, and then when you need him the most, it turns out he’s soft.
Kinda like Cam Newton in the Super Bowl.
The New Orleans Saints: The Xenomorph (Alien)
Despite being the focus of many ill-fated sequels, the Xenomorph is always terrifying. Maybe it’s the subliminal freudian design, or hey, a giant alien is scary enough, but this iconic space-beast makes our hearts burst through our chests every time, even if the quality of movie isn’t consistent.
Just like New Orleans. They’ve only won one Super Bowl, but they’re always in competition. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas are always a threat.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Creeper (Jeepers Creepers)
The original Jeepers Creepers came out in the early 2000’s and is genuinely scary, just like the Tampa Bay Super Bowl team from that era. Poor offenses didn’t stand a chance against this unit, just like poor Justin Long and Gina Phillips couldn’t outrun the Creeper in his truck, or that damn song.
But… every version since has been laughable at best. At least this (film) franchise has one version to be proud of, because the rest of the series has been hard to watch.
The Dallas Cowboys: Pennywise (It)
Because the Cowboys, and all of their fans, are clowns. Boom, goodnight.
The New York Giants: Seth Brundle (The Fly)
Seth Brundle was once a respected scientist, nearly winning a Nobel Prize for his work, and damn-near successfully created a teleportation device. Then, when his own experiment faced an unexpected obstacle, he transformed into something horrible and unrecognizable. Kinda like trying to rebuild a franchise that had won two Superbowls in a decade into one that leans on Daniel Jones to win.
The Philadelphia Eagles: The Birds (The Birds)
There’s something classic about the Philadelphia Eagles, even if they didn’t win their first Lombardi trophy until a couple of years ago, they’re still NFL royalty. Just like Alfred Hitchcock is horror royalty. Sure, a film about scary birds might not send shivers down your spine today, but back in 1963, when it came out? It horrified people. Or hell, in 2003, it horrified my little brother. It’s a timeless classic, just like the birds from the city of Brotherly love.
The Washington Redskins: Jack Torrance (The Shining)
The Redskins are a staple of American culture. They seem so wholesome on the surface. Those great Joe Gibbs teams, John Riggins, even the pretentious Joe Theisman (he literally changed his last name to sound like an award he didn’t even win), but dig a little deeper, and there are some shadows surrounding this franchise. Just ask Trent Williams.
Plus! In the film adaptation from Stanley Kubrick, there’s been speculation that the hauntings are a result of the Native American genocide. So… take from that, what you will.
The Arizona Cardinals: The Birds (Birdemic)
There’s something kinda charming about Birdemic, right? It’s not the best bad movie (that’s The Room), but it’s still good for a chuckle! And look what happened to The Room? After being one of the best bad movies, eventually someone made a genuinely good movie about it. Maybe that’s what Kyler Murray can do for Birdemic??
The Los Angeles Rams: Sadako (Ringu/The Ring)
Remember that string of movies about young Japanese ghost girls that came out in the early 2000’s? There was Ringu, then the American version, the Ring, and then the Grudge, and all accompanying sequels. Kinda reminds me of how the Rams hired offensive wunderkind, Sean McVay a few years ago, experienced some success, and then everyone else went out to find their own young quarterback whisperer. And yes, I did just compare Sean McVay to a young Japanese ghost girl.
The San Francisco 49ers: Michael Myers (Halloween)
One of the genre’s most iconic figures, the masked Michael Myers never really seems to go away for good. Joe Montana is long, long, gone, and so is Steve Young, but the 49ers are still around. Frank Gore plays for the Buffalo Bills, and Jim Harbaugh is… attempting to coach in Michigan, but the 49ers are still around. No matter what you do, they never really stay gone.
The Seattle Seahawks: Ghostface (Scream)
Ghostface, like the Seahawks, is just so gosh dang underrated. When people think of Scream, they just think of the Scary Movie parody, not realizing that Scream itself was a parody of slasher cliches. Just like how people think of the Seahawks, they think of a tailback that’s been gone for almost five years, and a defensive unit that actually gives up the third most yards in the NFL instead of poor, poor Russell Wilson.