Trick or Treat! 32 Costumes For 32 NFL Teams
by Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)
In the macabre tradition of Celtic Samhain
Blood soaks the hills with indelible stain
Far grimmer than candy and costumes
Bloodletting befits some football teams
Dragged to Hell with curdling screams
They're the early losers, one assumes
Ahh, Halloween. An olive of merriment in the martini glass of our sordid work; a fun distraction from real-life horrors. There's little decorating to do upon our gaunt surroundings. Add a few spooky jack-o-lanterns and some Hitchcockian ambiance, and presto: a real haunted house!
Back when my father ran the Cold Hard Cremetorium, he employed the use of a smoke machine, just to add further shuddersome overtones. Unfortunately, that came to an end in 1981 when Hollywood Henderson burned his lips on the pipe. Just can't have nice things....
For the many parties we've had here, we find Halloween a nice way to treat death with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, rather than the stiff upper lip my undertaking subordinates and I are compelled to have.
We even give out prizes for the best costumes. Last year, Katie Nolan of FS1's Crowd Goes Wild scared Jaguars and Raiders boosters out of their shoes by dressing as "Success." Very clever, Katie! Fellow FOX employee Dick Stockton took second prize for his rendition of The Cryptkeeper, although he tried to tell us he wasn't wearing a costume.
Of course, choosing the perfect costume is never easy. Topical items work, as a number of Ravens players dressed as Bane last year (because Gotham's 'reckoning' killed the Steelers). Then again, there's always the nostalgic looks that get rave reviews. I very much enjoyed Jerry Jones' '1996' costume, although he spent half the night crying and muttering about 'glory days' and 'is it me?' and stuff of that nature. Poor guy.
This week, a number of players have picked my brains (not literally, that's *my* job) regarding costume ideas. While I can't speak for everyone's specific tastes, I'm capable of offering costume suggestions for the teams at large. Feel free to balk at these suggestions, but I feel they're accurate representations of each squad in 2013.
Kansas City Chiefs - Genghis Khan
Khan, the architect of the Mongol Empire, was once a homeless urchin, making his rags-to-riches story one of the most impressive in world history. The Chiefs' having gone from garbage to great in such little time (first team to go from "worst team" one year to last unbeaten the next in 57 years) calls for this fitting tribute.
Denver Broncos - Dexter Morgan
On the one hand, Peyton Manning's relentless and meticulous play is akin to a forsenic scientist that secretly kills would-be-free offenders. On the other hand, given Dexter's disappointing finale, is anybody else anticipating another sudden 'unexpected' ending to another promising Manning season?
New Orleans Saints - Jeffrey Lebowski with Walter Sobchak's body
What better way to honor the rotund, yet galvanizing, Rob Ryan? New Orleans needs only a half-decent defense, and Drew Brees' Air Coryell 2000 offense will handle the rest. Turns out, Ryan's provided a boost to the pass rush, and New Orleans may be the class of the NFC.
Seattle Seahawks - Muhammad Ali
Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch would be A-OK with playing the role of boxing's most renowned fighter, as when Ali opened his mouth, he backed it up. The Seahawks, especially on defense, are prone to running their gums, but, as the San Francisco massacre in Week Two showed, they cash the checks that those mouths write.
Indianapolis Colts - Any Character from Godfather II
Some folks believe (and in my own opinion, it's close) that the second Godfather was better than the original. A year ago, it'd be laughable to say that Andrew Luck would be as great as Peyton Manning. After a top-notch start to 2013, watching Luck is akin to watching Bill Goldberg plow through jobber after jobber in his first months in WCW: you know you're watching a legend in the making. Is he better than Peyton? Not yet, but if you said he will be one day, I'd have a hard time proving you wrong.
San Francisco 49ers - Freddy Krueger
After Seattle and Indy incinerated the Niners in back to back weeks, San Fran's clawed their next four opponents to shreds, by an average of over 20 points a game. Seattle visits on December 8, which could very well become 'Nightmare on DeBartolo Way'.
Cincinnati Bengals - Timothy Dalton's Version of James Bond
Back in the 1980s, even during Dalton's run, when you thought Bond, you thought Sean Connery or Roger Moore, the two men most synonymous with the role. Dalton was a worthy Bond, just as the Bengals are worthy claimants to the AFC North. But when you think North, you think the Steelers and Ravens. In that sense, perhaps Cincy could also dress as Rodney Dangerfield.
New England Patriots - Any Costume You Throw Together with Household Objects
Prior to Sunday, The Patriots went 5-1 without Gronk, Jailbird, Welker, and Lloyd. Bill Belichick's kids have probably won costume contests when their Dad dressed them in a Bernie Kosar jersey and had them carry a pink slip. The Cleveland schoolteachers were probably so enamored with the Bernie jersey, that the kids got straight A's for the year. Because Cleveland.
Green Bay Packers - The Professor from Gilligan's Island
Aaron Rodgers can build a deadly offense around a disgraceful offensive line. The professor built a radio out of a coconut. Geniuses, both of them.
Detroit Lions - Stop Signs and/or Traffic Cops
To remind Ndamukong Suh that there's a line that he shouldn't cross. Not that they care about his checkbook any, but if the D's already stopped somebody on third and eight, they don't need to concede an automatic first down after Suh tries to turn Christian's Ponder neck into a Pez Dispenser.
San Diego Chargers - Marine Corps Privates
Given that Philip Rivers is a self-righteous hothead at times, makes sense to let him be Gunnery Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, and add a little humorous dialogue to his usual ravings. Shame Norv Turner got fired; he'd be an ideal Private Pyle.
Dallas Cowboys - Howdy Doody
Fits the cowboy motif, and it explains Jason Garrett's predicament. Not just because the ginger-haired Garrett resembled the old-time dummy, but as a figurehead coach and little more, he pretty much has Jerry Jones yanking his strings as is.
Chicago Bears - Speed Bumps
Last year, the defense would have been spike strips. This year, unless their able-bodied secondary forces a takeaway, you can go 90 MPH on them, with little more than an occasionally bumpy stretch.
Carolina Panthers - Viruses
Viruses are invisible killers, and the Panthers defense has been killer in its own right. The Panthers are holding opponents to 13.8 PPG, and have racked up 19 sacks, but you never hear about anybody but Cam Newton. Not thinking about them won't quell their wrath any.
New York Jets - A Punching Bag Covered in Spikes
Not the most conventional of outfits, but it fits the Jets situation to a T. Drafting Geno Smith, trading Darrelle Revis, and allowing Mark Sanchez to get hurt had the New York, and national, media getting their swipes at Rex Ryan. Now the Jets are 4-3, and far, far from out of it. You can still punch at them, but it won't do ya any good.
Miami Dolphins - Tom Hanks in Big
First three games: carefree, idyllic childhood. Next three games: harsh reality (like adulthood) proving how much life sucks as time goes on. From optimistic to pessimistic and troubled at an accelerated pace. For the Dolphins, this is sometimes a common costume.
Baltimore Ravens - Peter Frampton
One big hit, and then you're never heard from again. The 2002 Buccaneers, they do feel like you do, Joe Flacco.
Tennessee Titans - Bum Phillips
Not so much a reflection of the team's season to date, but rather a nice way to honor a colorful individual with many chuckleworthy quotes. Can we get Mike Munchak to wear a Stetson on the sideline? The NFL needs coaches who wear cowboy hats and fedoras again. Tell Reebok or Nike or whoever to put out a line of them so we can seal this deal.
Philadelphia Eagles - Cans of New Coke
New Coke's gonna be around forever, just like the up-tempo offense! Or maybe they'll fail to revolutionize as advertised, either or. Poor Bill Cosby: first his soda goes by the wayside, and then his Eagles are, sadly, the only team with any semblance hope in Philadelphia.
Cleveland Browns - Flash Gordon
Sure, it could be a clever nickname for Josh Gordon and his blazing speed, but I feel it's better suited for Brian Hoyer's short-lived run as the next big thing. Blink and *FWOOOOM*, he's gone. At least you still have Trash Boredom, aka Brandon Weeden, to fall back on.
Buffalo Bills - Mushrooms and Fire Flowers
Mario Williams is already playing like Super Mario, with ten sacks in just seven games, so why not encourage him to play even more mightily? I'm sure there's plenty of hard-bitten Bills fans that won't mind seeing Williams throw a fireball at Tom Brady, either. Shame Roscoe Parrish is long gone; he's tall enough to be Toad.
St. Louis Rams - Cloves of Garlic
To keep Tim Tebow away. Or is that vampires? I can never remember these things.
Houston Texans - Marshmallows and Hot Dogs
Sooner or later, the pretentiously bitter Texans fans will wanna cook every Houston jersey over an open flame, so they may as well make the occasion tasty. Regardless of how his teammates dress, J.J. Watt will be going as Frankenstein for the 23rd year in a row.
Atlanta Falcons - Mr. Freeze
Matt Ryan didn't quite live up to that "Matty Ice" moniker in the NFC Championship game, and the defense couldn't chill Geno Smith's Monday night comeback. Let's spot the Falcons some frost, and keep them from getting thawed too quickly. They can even make Arnold's bad puns from Batman and Robin, so long as they're winning consistently.
Oakland Raiders - Storm Troopers
The wackies at the Black Hole have always embraced the villainous Darth Vader, but the knockaround secondary, and a below-average pass rush, make for defensive liability. Until they can find continuity (Lamarr Houston's the only notable defensive player remaining from last year), they're relegated to Vader's hapless goons.
Arizona Cardinals - Bill Murray in Groundhog Day
Larry Fitzgerald was supposed to wake up in a new day. A horrid running game and bad quarterbacking were left in yesterday. It's a new day, and his offense still can't get anything right. The new day brought a new coach, too. Given time, that could flip Fitz's calendar, but for now, a whole lot of familiar ineptitude.
Washington Redskins - Puppeteers
The likes of Peter King, Bob Costas, Bill Simmons, and others are speaking through the closed mouths of others, so for a change of pace, the Redskins could do the same.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Narcoleptic Security Guards
What else befits an offensive line that's allowed Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked 21 times, and sees its running backs gain just 3.48 yards a carry? Maybe someone can wear Maurkice Pouncey's "FREE HERNANDEZ" hat in tribute to their lone competent blocker, who's better on one leg than Mike Adams is on two.
New York Giants - Ludwig van Beethoven
I'm not sure how musically gifted any of the G-Men are, but I figure being deaf would aid in tuning out the perpetual outbursts of Tom Coughlin. There have been many of those this season, to be sure.
Minnesota Vikings - Deer
Adorn every Viking except for Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen with antlers. Then tell them to start running, because Allen's going into bow-hunting mode. The ones not motivated enough to haul ass don't get to be on the team next year. If you see someone among the fray with a unicorn horn, that's just Chris Kluwe looking for a job, in case Allen plugs Jeff Locke.
Jacksonville Jaguars - The Brooklyn Brawler
Longtime wrestling patsy Steve Lombardi turned losing into an artform as the Brawler. Nonetheless, it was fun to cheer him on in futile situations, just in case he pulled off the upset. Same thing with the Jags: it'll be pandemonium from underdog backers if/when they finally win this year. Unless they beat your team, naturally; then it's off to get Snyder-faced to try and eradicate the pain.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Death Row Inmate
Your last words, Mr. Schiano?