Space Jam But Football: Building The Roster
With the brief but exciting football season finally making its annual return, I, as well as other fans, are excited to finally see teams battling it out on the gridiron. Sure, there are plenty of reasons to criticize or question the league, but if your goal is to see some of the largest, fastest, and strongest people alive in the United States come to all but blows in the service of moving a ball up and down a field, there’s not much else that compares. In fact, in my excitement of football’s return, I started to wonder about another form of media I’m a fan of: the movie Space Jam. The Looney Tunes/Basketball crossover is still a touchstone piece of cultural reference, so why didn’t they ever branch out into other sports? Why did we never get a Space Bowl? And if we did, what positions would our stalwart toons find themselves in? As someone whose job is, in part, to explore meaningless thoughts, and as someone with some experience doing just that as far as football goes, I took this challenge upon myself.
Now, as far as quarterback, we can expect that to be the role played by whatever real-life athlete gets pulled into the toon universe. We can pretend it wouldn’t be Tom Brady, but it probably would be. He LITERALLY sells fancy water that’s basically “Tom’s Secret Stuff”. Plus he’s actually thrown passes to a cartoon character before, in Rob Gronkowski. Maybe Patrick Mahomes if we’re lucky, since he already sounds like he’s voiced by Mel Blanc. Nevertheless, we’ll consider that position filled. But let’s fill out the rest of the depth chart.
Bugs Bunny - Wide Receiver/Cornerback
I’m not going to be contrarian here. We all know Bugs is the face of the franchise. In fact, I’m going to place him as one of the rare players to play on both sides of the ball (also increasing his screen time, which I’m sure would be paramount.) With the natural grace of a rabbit, and his proclivity for taunting, he fits right into the mold of an animated Jalen Ramsey or Deion Sanders.
Daffy Duck - Running Back
A positive trait often given to running backs is that they “run angry.” No one on the Looney Tunes roster has a shorter fuse than Daffy Duck. All it would take was a light-hearted line or two from Bugs on the perimeter to send Daffy into a fury that would carry him straight to the end zone. If you’re thinking this should be the Tasmanian Devil, he would pop the ball, you FOOL.
Speedy Gonzales - Return Specialist
Speed is his name. Literally. That sort of speed can’t be ignored on the football field, but because he is a literal tiny mouse, Gonzales would have big problems with the physicality of opposing cornerbacks. The solution, then, is to get him the ball in space, and let him take off. Speedy Gonzales on PR/KR would make Devin Hester look like a garbage truck full of molasses.
Sylvester - Center
A center in football needs to be equal parts intelligent and large. As most of the Looney Tunes are, as far as I can tell, not even the size of a standard human, it’s slim pickings. Sylvester, as a disturbingly large cat that walks on hind legs, who is also known for his craftiness, is our best option at “thenter.”
Barnyard Dawg/Sam Sheepdog/Hector The Bulldog/Gossamer - Offensive Line
Given that the offensive line can often unfairly feel like background characters on the field, it’s strangely fitting that we just pull in a murderer’s row of Looney Tunes’ big bruisers. You may not know their names, but you probably know each one as “that big scary guy.”
Porky Pig - Kicker
I’m no physicist, but I have to think smacking a football with a hoof is going to send that thing flying. Plus, when a character is known for ending every single episode, how are you not going to place him in the position to end games with a clutch field goal? Who doesn’t want to hear a 55-yarder capped off with a “That’s All Folks!” Plus, you can’t really have him playing any non-special teams snaps because of the sheer amount of false starts.
Marvin The Martian - Offensive Coordinator
Who’s a better offensive coordinator than a literal tactical officer? Inventing plans of attack is already his bread and butter. Plus, most modern football plays sound like some sort of weapon he would have invented anyways. Spider 2 Y Banana? How about we try Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.
Pepe Le Pew - Suspended
That, or quarterback for the Browns.
Tweety Bird - Safety
Safeties need to be fast enough to cover the whole field, while still being able to hit like an absolute truck. Tweety Bird fits the bill to a T. Her ability to, well, fly, gives her the range to close, and she has, as the players today would say, that dawg in her.
Related: A Timeline Of The Looney Tunes Cast
Tasmanian Devil - Defensive Line
Finally we get to Taz. As mentioned before, you can’t really have him on offense because he would obviously rip the ball to shreds, which has to be some sort of foul. So instead, we’ll put him on the defensive line. Talk about a spin move.
Road Runner - Wide Receiver
No complex math here. You can write this one down in pen. You’ll take a few taunting penalties for ill-timed Meep Meeps, but the speed and acceleration is undeniable. No one’s beating Road Runner off the line.
Lola Bunny - Tight End
OK STOP. That is NOT why I made Lola Bunny a tight end. It is because of the combination of grace and grit required to be both a solid blocker and receiver. You nasty little cartoon perverts. Grow up.
Wile E. Coyote - Defensive Coordinator
You want to talk scheme? Let’s talk one of the greatest schemers of our generation. I don’t care who you are, you can’t score points when you’re running into a fake endzone painted on the wall of the stadium.
Related: A Timeline Of The Looney Tunes Cast
Yosemite Sam - Project Quarterback
Incredible firepower, huge problems with accuracy. Perfect candidate to spend a year or two on the sidelines and then never pan out anyways.
Foghorn Leghorn - Head Coach
I’d watch the movie if this was the only character. Come on. Tell me you can’t imagine Foghorn Leghorn ripping off a headset and chewing out a ref over a bad spot. I say i say i say i say FIRST DOWN, sir!
Any disagreements? Free agent suggestions? Let us know in the comments!
Top Image: Pixabay/Warner Bros