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Free-For-All Friday: Superhero Edition

From action heroes to great Hawkeye duos to 90s video games, we cover it all. It’s a Free-For-All Friday and we are taking advantage.

Action heroes, video games and Hawkeyes. There’s nothing we won’t tackle to pass the time on Friday afternoon.

Hello Jerry: JP! We made it, my friend and I’m glad to see that you made it out of those Tornado drills unscathed. Speaking of which, when we were talking about your odds of getting out of your day job’s office alive if something like that were to ever occur, my mind started doing that thing where it goes from one extreme to another and amplifies to the point in my head when I start to create a movie (desk jobs suck).

So, as I am wont to do, I took your tornado drill situation and asked if a group of characters (including myself) were in a high rise building and some sort of natural disaster happened, which action hero would I have star in the movie that give me the best chances of getting out alive?

Some parameters of course exist. This is not a superhero movie, but there are certain traits your action star must possess: strength (obviously), charisma (i.e. panache), a subtle hint of anxiety of some sorts (we need character arc, people), a natural ability to deliver one-liners during intense moments (For example, say there was an avalanche created by a meteor, our actor needs to be able to deliver the line “Now that’s what I call an Avalanche” after he gets the entire cast to slide down the outside of a building on lunch trays to safety without anyone laughing in the theatre), a certain set of skills/interests that are weird in a normal office setting but important in a disaster, he can be a little dumb and he must have an overwhelming need to protect everyone, AT ALL COSTS.

So, with that said, JP, what action hero (real or make believe) would you choose to partner up with to make the perfect disaster duo?

JPinIC: Jerry, Jerry, Jerry. This is supposed to be a discussion so I’m going to make up a new action hero. Because if we are talking existing super heroes there really is no discussion to be had. There’s only one true super hero and it’s right in the name: Super Man. Everyone else is just a pretender. Batman? Just a rich guy with cool gadets. Iron Man? Different rich guy with better gadgets. Wolverine? Not a super hero, he’s a mutant. The Hulk? Dude with chlorophyll in his skin and anger issues.

Add to that Super Man can masquerade as Clark Kent and fit in perfectly at any office and I’m telling you, there’s no discussion.

Hello Jerry:

You’re right, there isn’t because superheroes were ruled out:

“Some parameters of course exist. This is not a superhero movie...”

You can now proceed with the proper assignment…


Well now my hopes and dreams of creating some hybrid super hero are crushed. Seriously, I blame my educatoin.

My high school, apparently.

I suppose if you’re still allowing partial credit for re-doing the assignment I can start from the beginning…

I’ve already trashed a handful of decent “action heroes” who aren’t super heroes so this is a little precarious. I’m going to go in another direction and say Captain America. First, he’s a captain so you know it’s legit. And he, like Clark Kent, looks like a normal, every day dude when he isn’t in his, whatever it is he wears. He has a sweet shield, hates Nazis is a practiced public speaker so can surely deliver your on-liners and he reminds me of a former Hawkeye.

Who you got from the existing realm of “action heroes”? If you had to create your own, what’s he/she like?

Hello Jerry: So we went from Superman to Captain America. Are you so anti-nerd that you didn’t even realize that Steve Rogers was injected with a serum that turned him from scrawny wannabe World War II soldier to Captain America?

Come on, J.


So, do we know what this so-called “serum” is? Because I can think of a couple of other real-world folks who’ve been, uhhh, injected with some things that have undergone some pretty incredible transformations…

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Now, you want to tell me that those were any less of a transformation than this?

I’m planting my flag right here, right now. Captain America is not a superhero, he’s a pioneer in the world of performance enhancement. Carry on.

Hello Jerry: I think this clip is absolutely necessary here:


Hello Jerry: Before our editors cancel our weekly display of this written bromance, I’ll end this gif/video/meme fight right here by telling you the ONLY two choices for anyone that read this website:

  1. The Obvious Choice: The Rock. Imagine this as The Rock meets The Wrestler meets Office Space. Years after retiring from the WWE, The Rock is out of money and in need of some sort of consistent job with benefits (wrestling is hard on the body). He gets a job with a major conglomerate that sells plastics as a Human Resources Manager. Can you imagine The Rock talking Mary out of filing a formal complaint about how loud Cheryl chews her ice in the cubicle next to her? Can you imagine him going home at night and trying to sleep through the itch to call everyone he interacts with on a daily basis a “Jabroni”? That’s comedy gold… that is until he needs to be our hero, to which, he flips the switch and nails each and every parameter I listed above, if you smell what I’m cookin’.
  2. The Iowan Low Budget Long Shot That We’d All Own and Watch Before Every Football Season: Pat Angerer. No seriously, think about this. Pat Angerer, a former football hero who then went to the NFL only to retire to join the Army because he felt it was his ultimate calling (he’d be a Purple Heart recipient, you know, for added effect) comes home and gets a job as an insurance salesman on the top floor of a 50 story building in some city that’s close to a mountain in Colorado. GOLD JONAH. GOLD!

You can’t top this… not with real superheroes or made up ones. Not ever. No way, no how.


Listen, I know the editors aren’t going to like this. It’s slowing down your phone or computer or whatever and it’s probably not even loading right. But I have a real problem Jerry! I can’t help myself! I got a fever, and the only cure is more gifs! I can’t stop gif-ing!

Now, you’re probably right. I doubt I can top your glorious creations. Not with words anyway. But Angerer has me thinking about Hawkeye superheroes. Given my clamoring for Captain America, my top two choices would be either Stanzi (he’s got the one-liners and he can overcome adversity - or pick-sixes - with the best of them) or the original Captain America: Nile Kinnick.

But every action hero needs a good sidekick. So that has me thinking about tandems. We gave out an NBA Jam Duo of the Year award last week, but if you are looking at great Hawkeye duos throughout history, who ya got?

Hello Jerry: What a great question. After thinking about this for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that in every possible way imaginable I would want to watch Bob Sanders and Robert Gallery do just about anything together. I don’t care if it happened to be a TV show that pits them together as roommates in an apartment Real World style, in an action movie where they save a building full of people from the world's biggest avalanche, as a country duo that sings songs about the heartland and riding mechanical bulls at Wildwood, or just as two dudes that talk about being gritty ass football players.

After combing through nearly every football and basketball roster that I had the fortunes of watching, this was the best combo I could come up with. Together, they possess the necessary tropes that some of the best duos of all time were built on. They both were awesome at their profession and excelled at the highest levels. They are polar opposites in more ways than the obvious one. Plus, physically, it’s both funny and intimidating seeing them side by side.

While I have no idea how much interaction these two dudes actually had when they were on campus together (being as they were on opposite sides of the ball), you know they still go together like lamb and tuna fish (or spaghetti and meatballs, if that suits you better).

JPinIC: I’m working so hard right now to refrain from dropping a Forrest Gump “peas and carrots” clip on you. The first step is admitting you have a problem, Jerry.

Now, that is a hell of an intimidating duo. Gallery by himself is scary as hell. Sanders reminds me of Kevin Hart from Ride Along in his diminutive stature, but we all know he is a badass among badasses. Much like the NBA Jam duo of Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook, those two offer really different skillsets that compliment each other quite nicely for any situation you may find yourself in. So hats off on that call.

When I asked the question, I was actually thinking more about on-field performance and was prepared to come at you with pairings like Brad Banks and Dallas Clark or Chuck Long and Ronnie Harmon. Productive as hell, but as far as action hero duos go, I suppose they may be flawed.

** Side note here: the mention of Clark and Gallery has reminded me of as slightly off-topic issue I’ve pondered every year since the movie came out - if you’re building and NFL version of the MonStars a la Space Jam, who’s on it? For me, that list has always included the likes of Peyton Manning (with a giant computer head processing information with a radar eye) and Rob Gronkowski (the a massive robotic arm where his brace is and being even bigger than everyone than he already is). Clark and Gallery are both guys who would be on that team for me. Gallery looks like at monster as is and Clark is a guy I can easily envision as one with a massive upper body in those giant shoulder pads he used to wear, with no gloves and a disproportionately smaller lower body racing all over the field and barreling over defenders. One of these weeks we’re spending 3000 words building our own MonStar teams.**

But back on topic, if I’m following your lead on a dynamic duo of Hawkeyes to act as my action heroes, I think I’m going with Chad Greenway and Matt Roth. Perhaps not the smartest group, but they sure as hell would strike fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere. Good combinations of size, speed and athleticism to go with some serious Hawkeye Pride.

What do you think Jer? You got any MonStars up your sleeve? Who was your go-to duo on NBA Jam?

Hello Jerry: Why hasn’t Warner Bros not rolled off a million of these Space Jam movies? I don’t NEED LeBron James to take the mantle. I’d be happy with Kyrie Irving at this point. Just give me athlete’s playing sports with cartoons. It’s a can’t miss. Serena Williams takes on the alien version of Maria Sharapova to save Earth? In. Eminem, Bugs and Daffy have to rap battle the leader of Moron Mountain? In. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are in a Home Run Derby for the rights to an existential planet that we will soon need to inhabit to continue our race against aliens who went back in time and took over Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire’s body? In.

Quick side note about your original side note: Tom Brady would have to be the Michael Jordan in your scenario. It’s only right for Brady to own Peyton Manning one last time. We could even have Chevy Chase play the schmuck commissioner/alien (he wouldn’t even have to break his normal persona) that has to inevitably shake Brady’s hand at the end of the movie while admitting that Brady is the future leader of the free world.

I think I’ve written at least five fake scripts in this post that would all make money. Get at me Hollywood.

As far as the go-to duo for NBA Jam, as much as I would like to say that I only played with Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, it would be a lie. I usually go (yes, go… instead of playing in my living room, I now attend bars that have the arcade version and give them all my money) right for Karl Malone and John Stockton. If they’re taken by the soon to be loser, I’ll go with Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin. I’ve also been known to get hot with Reggie Miller and my main man Detlef Schrempf from time to time as well.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter who I pick. You’re going to lose. I could roll with Tom Gugliotta and Harvey Grant of the Bullets and still wax any poor oncomer.

What was your go to? Also, since we’re on the subject, as a 90’s kid, what are your Top-5 video games of your formative years?

JPinIC: We are taking the “Free-For-All’ portion of Free-For-All Friday to the extreme this week my friend. And I love it. As you point out, I was a 90s kid so my formative years were spent glued to a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with the occasional foray into the original Nintendo Entertainment System at a friend's place. My later years were spent on the various versions of the Playstation console, but nothing compares to the good ol’ days on the SNES.

With that context, it’s important to note that NBA Jam had different rosters for the arcade version you mentioned and the SNES version I grew up on. Ya boy Detlef was paired with Shawn Kemp in Seattle and that was one of my go-tos. Loved me some Shawn Kemp. I, like every other kid in the Midwest (except maybe Detroit I guess?) was a Bulls fan so I spent my fair share of time with them, but the absence of MJ was disheartening. I always liked David Robinson and the dude could destroy backboards in that game like nobody’s business (and let’s be honest, young JPinSmallTowninIowa had no interest in doing anything other than catching fire or shattering backboards) so I played a decent amount with him and Sean Elliott. The Knicks were decent, but I didn’t like them so didn’t play with them. I always thought Charlotte and Larry Johnson were sneaky good in the game.

As usual, our discussion has sent me down a rabbit hole so I feel like I have to share what I’ve stumbled across. I already sent you this article about Michael Jordan not being in the original due to him owning his own likeness, not the NBA, but him requesting his own personal arcade game with himself included (and Gary Payton) and getting it. Now I’ve come across actual statistics and rankings to support what I should’ve known. Here’s a look at the statistics for each player, as well as their team totals.

I guess I should’ve put my dislike aside and rolled with the Knicks a bit more. The flip side is, look how damn good Pippen was and we all know you didn’t need a team to crush dreams in that game, a single player was plenty. Imagine if Jordan WAS in the game. Yikes.

So, on to your second question. Top 5 video games growing up? Man, it really was just a top 3, but I’ll do my best to re-read your question and actually attempt to answer it (although, I’ve always heard you should answer the question you wanted them to ask…).

5. Sim City

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been a dork my whole life. It isn’t a new dad thing. I don’t know why, but I always loved the idea of building some massive city out of nothing. Probably the fact I lived literally in the middle of nowhere and hoped somebody would build something, anything there.

4. Mortal Kombat II

OK, so I realize I ended up into a game that is inferior to Street Fighters, but this game was life for a good stretch. If you don’t like freezing people or slicing them to bits on a little 12’ tube tv screen, we probably shouldn’t hang out.

3. Super Mario Kart

Because not all parents are as awesome as mine and wouldn’t let their kids spend hours at a time killing people in Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart was the parentally acceptable game I spent entire weekends losing friends over. Sorry I’m not sorry I’m better than you at racing. And Super Koopa is the only driver worth using. @ me.

2. NBA Jam

I’m a sports fan. When it was time to play by myself, which was all the time because I both lived in the middle of nowhere and clearly had no friends, it was time to catch fire and put off homework until the wee morning hours. This is seriously one of the greatest games ever made.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball

As most of you know by now, I come from a long line of St. Louis Cardinals fans. And I will always be a Cardinals fan. But I grew up admiring The Kid almost as much as I admired Ozzie Smith. And his signature baseball game was literally the reason I ended up getting a SNES from Santa. It’s the only game I got with it and I would have been just fine never getting another one. This. Game. Was. Life.

Ah Jerry, the good ol’ days man. Not a care in the world, except losing in one of those games. Then it was literally the end of the world and controllers would get crushed against the wall. That reset button put in work, son. What about you? We grew up at almost the same time, did you like terrible games or did my list cover you too?

Hello Jerry: No issues with your list outside of Sim City… Sim City? Did the Sam Goody in Little Boston, Iowa only have a few games to sell at a time?

JPinIC: What was Sam Goody?

Hello Jerry: We lived totally different lives and we were only separated by a three hour drive. Fine, did the K-Mart run out of options?

I was a big Sega and Playstation kid, so my list is probably a little bit different than yours. Don’t get me wrong, I had a SNES but only because I loved Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball which still, to this day, might be my favorite game outside of NBA Jam.

Now, as far as a Top-5 for the Sega/N64/PlayStation kids out there here’s what I got:

5. Toejam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron

Just two stoner aliens walking around different planets opening up boxes. Looking back on it, this game was probably really stupid, but I played it every chance that I got.

4. Tie: GoldenEye/NFL Blitz

GoldenEye might be the one game outside of Mario Kart that aged WITH the kids that played it. There weren’t many pregame’s in college where someone wasn’t playing one or the other with a line of people waiting to get on the sticks.

NFL Blitz was a game changer in the sports VG industry. Seriously, think about all the games that came from Blitz… NBA Street, NFL Street, High Heat Baseball, MLB Slugfest. Classics all of them. On top of that, how many of you still freak out a little inside when someone says “Da Bomb”?

3. Comix Zone

This is going to be a controversial pick, but anyone that actually played this game is going to agree with me. One weekend, both my parents and my cousins parents went away and left us at my grandmother’s house. We worked it out to where I would bring over the Sega and he would go and rent a few games at Blockbuster (yes, A BLOCKBUSTER).

He came with a couple of classics (Joe Montana Football, Sonic) but the one we ended up playing all weekend until we beat it was a game called Comix Zone. It was about a dude that gets stuck in his own comic and has to fight his way out. You would jump through columns and pages and the bad guys were drawn right in front of you before you had to fight them. If you guys didn’t play this game, you missed out:

2. Twisted Metal

I don’t care which one you actually played, because they were all awesome and totally stupid. Just a bunch of cars in a battle royale ring where you could shoot napalm and missiles and other crap at characters that ranged from a killer clown in an ice cream truck, a dude that had wheels attached to his arms, a grim reaper on a motorcycle (extremely stupid given the amount of napalm that was being thrown out there) and a guy literally named Roadkill.

There were very few games where the actual game inside the game didn’t matter. Twisted Metal is one of those.

1.Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater or Pro Skater 2

If you’re a 90’s kid and didn’t play one of these two games, you need to order a Playstation on EBay and take a few days off from work immediately. You can thank me later. These two games were instant classics the moment they were released. The soundtracks were killer (Superman by Goldfiner!) and the levels were even better. I know you all remember The Warehouse and The School. Oh and if you didn’t play with Bucky Lasek (Kick Flip McTwist) or Bob Burnquist in favor of Geoff Rowley or or Chad Muska we can’t be friends.

Now that’s a list, JP.

JPinIC: Jerry, I want to play video games so bad right now it hurts. I got as excited thinking about old Nintendo games as I get thinking about Akrum Wadley collecting Michigan Wolverine jock straps. I got so excited I nearly left off a game that really should be in my top 5 and whose successor games on other consoles HAVE to be in my top 2: Madden NFL ‘96. It broke the seal on my Madden playing and my schoolwork would never recover.

Video games and sports go hand-in-hand, even if the NCAA doesn’t think they should. It’s one of the things I’m looking forward to most as my two sons get older (that and Hawkeye games, of course). But after looking back at our lists, I think it’s also one of the things I should be dreading most. Not only is it going to take me away from them for LONG periods of time, but lordy they’re going to be into some really stupid games.

What about you all? What system did you grow up on? What are your top games? Who you taking in your super action hero duo? Is it 5 o’clock yet?

Happy Friday people!