Recasting 'Game of Thrones' with Sports Figures
The two best things in life are watching sports and Throning out. It is known.
Indeed, the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones on April 6 is nearly upon us, meaning it's time to cut the japes, strap on our half helms and return to the couch (godswood).
In honor of this most violent and sensuous occasion, I've taken it upon myself to combine the best of two worlds and recast GoT with athletes and figures from the realm of sports.
This is my personal all-star cast of knights, lords and hired swords from Westeros and beyond. These men and women were selected for their character traits and certain physical attributes, but mainly because they're perfect.
Theirs is the fury, the snow and the sword. They are the sports cast of Game of Thrones, and they know exactly when winter is coming.
Jim Harbaugh—Stannis Baratheon
"He's not a bad guy. He's just an A-hole."
Stannis Baratheon and Jim Harbaugh are the same spirit in two different bodies. They don't want to be hated; they just want what they believe is their rightful due.
And they'll murder conquer anyone who gets in their way.
Strengths: Bluntness, jaw-grinding, hellfire.
Weaknesses: Usurpers from Seattle.
Ronda Rousey—Brienne of Tarth
The only problem with casting Ronda Rousey as Brienne would be the part where she kills Jaime 10 minutes after they escape Riverrun.
Brienne is slow to anger. Rousey will just punch you in the neck and continue eating lunch.
Strengths: Endurance, durability.
Weaknesses: Likability, loose battle attire.
Kobe Bryant—Ser Barristan Selmy
He's old, battle worn and tired of serving incompetent leaders.
Kobe Bryant, when healthy, is still one of the most deadly amigos in sports. Like Barristan the Bold, the Black Mamba has been killing it on the highest level since he was a teenager. The thought of failure keeps both men up at night, and they do everything in their power to stay sharp.
Strengths: Experience, preternatural skill.
Roger Goodell—Tywin Lannister
All hail Lord Goodell, crusher of dreams, policer of fun and loyal Hand to himself the king!
Roger Goodell doesn't play games, and he doesn't have time for goal-post dunks and childish tomfooleries. He is intelligent, and he didn't become the (not-so) invisible hand that runs the NFL empire by worrying about public opinion.
I also like to think the "Rains of Castamere" plays every time a player receives one of his FedEx envelopes.
Strengths: Intellect, cunning.
Weaknesses: Alienating his allies, profit lust.
Lolo Jones—Margaery Tyrell
Whatever it takes to reach the top, right?
Margaery Tyrell and Lolo Jones are competitors to the bone and will do what it takes to get on top of that podium/throne. Marry Renly? Got it. Switch to bobsledding? If it keeps me relevant!
And they're both still completely innocent. They promise.
Strengths: Perseverance, adaptability.
Weaknesses: Climbing podiums.
I don't know what I wouldn't do just to see Rob Gronkowski yell "Hodor" and carry a child on his back for an hour.
Strengths: Brute strength, one-liners.
Weaknesses: Advanced math, thunder.
Zdeno Chara—Gregor Clegane
Behold: The Mountain That Skates.
Zdeno Chara is a tall, tall man. At 6'9", the Boston Bruins defenseman is the tallest man in the NHL and boasts the hardest slap shot in the league.
Just get out of his way and you might live. Maybe.
Strengths: Size, power, awesome accent.
Weaknesses: Door frames, Miatas.
Who does Darrelle Revis answer to? Whoever has the guap, player.
Strengths: Speed, timing and a sense of humor.
Weaknesses: Conditional loyalty, can take up a lot of cap space on your City Watch.
Alex Morgan—Daenerys Targaryen
Tom Brady—Jaime Lannister
Some people you hate solely because they have everything.
Tom Brady and Jaime Lannister are two such men. Good looks and money and skill? Must be nice.
Watching Brady and the Patriots march to playoffs each year is like watching the Lannisters slowly mount the Iron Throne. They may not win the Super Bowl, but rest assured, whoever does is just keeping their seat warm.
Strengths: Chiseled jaw, skill at arms.
Weaknesses: Vanity, recklessness.
Anderson Silva—Khal Drogo
Who better to play the most feared, big-swinging warrior in all of Essos than Anderson Silva?
Silva likes to look in his enemy's eyes when he dishes out the brutality. He gets in close, and like Khal Drogo, his confidence in his skills can backfire on him in a big way.
Also, Silva has that whole not-talking-thing down pat.
Strengths: Hand-to-hand combat, terrifying stare.
Weaknesses: Ego, gypsy curses.
Peyton Manning—Eddard Stark
A dyed in the wool leader by example, Peyton Manning is Ned Stark with a passing tree and a pizza business.
You'd be hard-pressed to find men in the NFL or the Seven Kingdoms with a better reputation for honor and loyalty than Manning or old Ned. Many still whisper of Manning's great Super Bowl victory against the Bears at the Battle of the Trident.
The biggest difference between these two is that one was stopped by a neck injury, while the other was seemingly made stronger by it.
Strengths: Leadership, battlefield strategy.
Weaknesses: Blindside hits, Ice.
Jeanie Buss—Cersei Lannister
Co-owner Jeanie Buss will do what she must to keep her Lakers afloat and in contention.
She's surrounded by powerful men and combatting egos, but doesn't care. Jeanie is pulling the strings, and she'll put you in the dirt if you threaten her baby.
As Jeanie says, "I'm the boss."
Strengths: Cunning, leadership.
Bill Belichick—Varys the Spider
He has eyes everywhere.
People admire Bill Belichick because the man has every angle covered. People fear Belichick because he may be watching us at this very second.
He'd make a perfect Varys, considering he already has all the surveillance equipment ready to go.
Strengths: Planning, probing for weakness.
Weaknesses: The BBPBJ.
Adrian Peterson—Beric Dondarrion
He just keeps coming back.
Like Beric Dondarrion himself, Adrian Peterson practically came back from the dead after his 2012 ACL injury. It was almost unnatural how well Peterson performed after this career crippling blow.
I'm not saying he juiced up. I'm just saying...blood magic.
Strengths: Speed, perseverance, immortality.
Weaknesses: Orange peanuts.
Bryce Harper—Jon Snow
Johnny Manziel—Joffrey Baratheon
Strong-willed and thrust into a leadership role before he was prepared, Johnny Manziel is the boy king of American sports.
The people love him, the people hate him. Some believe King Johnny is just a spoiled brat riding on family money. Regardless, all you have to do is picture him sitting atop the Iron Throne in his Scooby outfit to know this casting needs to happen.
Strengths: Fame, fortune.
Weaknesses: Anger control, wine.
Mike Ditka—Lord Mormont
If old bear Mike Ditka pointed a huge sausage finger at me and commanded me not to die, I'd be more terrified of disobeying him than actual dying.
You don't disappoint Mike Ditka, and you do what the Lord Commander tells you to do. Also, can we just give Ditka a giant pet crow? I'd like to see one on his shoulder during broadcasts.
Strengths: Gruffness, leadership, mustache.
Weaknesses: Overzealousness, Italian beefs.
Andrew Luck—Robb Stark
No one has bigger shoes to fill than Andrew Luck.
The Indianapolis Colts quarterback is talented, smart and has proven himself capable of winning tough battles. The question is whether or not he can win a war Super Bowl.
Also, I'd like to cast Luck as Robb for the sheer pleasure of hearing him try to deliver lines like "This one was only the watcher. Hang him last."
Strengths: Leadership, facial hair growing.
Weaknesses: The Rams, weddings.
Nate Robinson—Tyrion Lannister
I'll take heart and hilarity over height every day of the week.
Nate Robinson is the only tiny misfit hero in sports even capable of carrying Tyrion Lannister's wine skin. He is the closest we'll ever have to a real half-man genius with zero regard for social norms. Casting him would be a dream, too.
Just fill Nate up with strongwine, give him a foam axe and tell him the Heat are trying to breach the Mud Gate. Television gold will follow.
Strengths: Wit, creativity, general hilariousness.
Weaknesses: Never getting the credit he deserves.
Join me on Twitter. We'll Throne out something fierce.