This is the way.
From cute Baby Yoda photoshops to wild Episode 9 theories, Star Wars has set the internet on fire in the past few weeks.
The galactic soap opera continues to capture the hearts and minds of avid fans, all while providing pop culture with more and more material.
In a tribute to The Rise of Skywalker coming out in a few weeks, I took it upon myself to analyze NFL players and imagine them in a galaxy far, far away.
The results of my wacky experiment are below.
Emperor Palpatine - Tom Brady QB New England Patriots
This one just fits.
Palpatine is the cunning mastermind behind the Empire’s rise to prominence and arguably the most powerful threat in the galaxy. After being thrown down the reactor shaft during Episode 6 it seemed as if the sith lord and finally met his match, but from all indications, he’s back and ready to go for Episode 9.
Much like Palpatine, Brady is highly intelligent and makes a living using his strong football IQ to the best of his abilities. Many have ruled him “washed”, but each time he meets those responses with more and more success. His old age has left him in a relatively weak state, but make no mistake - he’s still a dangerous foe with a winning formula.
Darth Vader / Anakin Skywalker - J.J. Watt DL Houston Texans
At one point Anakin Skywalker was the “Chosen One” and the most talented Jedi in the galaxy. Unfortunately, with the help of Emperor Palpatine, he succumbed to the dark side, where he would go on to dawn the Darth Vader persona. Suffering severe burns after his evil turn, Vader’s injuries ended up making him more man than machine, but he remained just as - if not more - feared than before.
Watt, Houston’s prized possession, began his career on a pace unlike any defender in history. Multiple season-ending injuries have occurred since, but the pass-rusher is still a dominating presence. His talent and passion for the game line up with many of Anakin’s characteristics, as do his unfortunate health issues.
Yoda - Russell Wilson QB Seattle Seahawks
Yoda was a wise Jedi master who was able to find extreme success despite his lack of height. Mentoring Luke Skywalker, he realized size wasn’t what mattered. It was how he used his big green brain and his understanding of the force that truly counted.
Wilson, a strong candidate for MVP, has a similarly small stature - yet like Yoda - doesn’t let it impact his game. The Seahawk signal-caller has provided a path to the NFL for many other short passers like Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, all while displaying the same wisdom and skill that made Yoda so special.
He even wears green - Yoda’s signature color.
Baby Yoda - Kyler Murray QB Arizona Cardinals
If Wilson is Yoda that means Murray - a smaller and younger version of Wilson - has to be Baby Yoda. Now, (without spoilers) we know that Baby Yoda isn’t actually the name of the sensational new character, but without any other information present, it’s his moniker for the time being.
Jumping onto the national stage quickly at Oklahoma, Murray is similar to Baby Yoda in his microscopic frame and fun style of play. The energy he provides is a breath of fresh air and he looks to be one of the top players in the next generation of the game. Maybe he’s a flash in the pan, but Murray - like Baby Yoda - looks to have a long and successful future ahead of him.
Chewbacca - Quenton Nelson OG Indianapolis Colts
Chewbacca is a fierce and powerful Wookie who has served a large portion of his life protecting Han Solo. Much like the gargantuan character, Nelson is an elite pass protector and one of the best offensive linemen in the game. His aggressive mindset and fluid movement skills are borderline unfair, while he’s also about as sturdy and dependable as they come.
If you want Chewbacca as your bodyguard, Nelson isn’t exactly a bad replacement option.
Luke Skywalker - Deshaun Watson QB Houston Texans
If J.J Watt is Anakin Skywalker, it would only make sense for Luke to come from the same lineage (or in this case the same team).
Watson - like Skywalker - has defeated the Empire multiple times, conquering both Alabama and New England (football’s two biggest dynasties). His presence has provided Houston with “A New Hope” and his infectious personality makes him an extremely easy player to root for.
Han Solo - Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers
Solo is a complex smuggler who likes to do things his own way. Carrying himself with a certain cockiness, Han’s ego can get him in trouble at times, but he always finds a way to make things work.
Rodgers is similar in both his individuality and swagger. Sometimes opting away from easy check-downs and reads for more complex plays, Rodgers’ confidence in his abilities can make things complicated in an unnecessary fashion, but more often than not he still executes to perfection.
The Mandalorian - Stephon Gilmore CB New England Patriots
At this point, we don’t know much about “the Mandalorian” other than the fact that he was saved by the Mandalorians after his family was killed (no, that’s not a spoiler).
Gilmore - arguably the league’s most underrated player - is an elite CB who lets his play speaks for itself. Similar to the Mandalorian, he was saved by New England after a solid but relatively unspectacular stay in Buffalo, turning from a decent starter to an easy All-Pro.
Mace Windu - Lamar Jackson QB Baltimore Ravens
A flashy and dynamic individual with a connection to the color purple. Need I say more?
Lando Calrissian - Jimmy Garoppolo QB San Francisco 49ers
Lando Calrissian is a sophisticated and smooth businessman with an impeccable sense of style. Jimmy “GQ” Garoppolo has those same charming qualities and isn’t afraid to use them (even unintentionally).
Just ask Erin Andrews.
Jar Jar Binks - Mitchell Trubisky QB Chicago Bears
I apologize Mitchell, but it had to be done.
Chicago had high hopes when they traded up and selected Trubisky 2nd overall in 2017, passing on both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the process. Since then it’s been a string of unfortunate gaffes and errors for the Chicago passer, leading a strong Bears roster to a mediocre record. It hasn’t all been bad, but the ruthless nature of fans has made Trubisky the butt of every joke.
Binks is all too familiar with that feeling, providing the prequels - mainly Episode 1 - with an irritating and childish character that left fans furious.
Rey - Patrick Mahomes QB Kansas City Chiefs
The new face of Star Wars, Rey is a scavenging orphan with an absurd and unexpected amount of power. She’s a natural without even having been trained, which speaks to her raw ability and massive potential.
Mahomes came out of Texas Tech with a similarly raw profile, yet won league MVP in his first year starting. Certain people are mad he’s this good this quickly, but when you’re that talented (and determined), it’s hard not to be impressed.
Kylo Ren / Ben Solo - T.J. Watt EDGE Pittsburgh Steelers
The main villain of the sequel trilogy, Ren is best known as Anakin Skywalker’s grandson and Darth Vader’s biggest fanboy. It only makes sense that Watt looks up to the aforementioned Vader - who happens to be his own brother - in this scenario.
Ren’s infatuation with his grandpa isn’t his only redeeming quality either - it turns out he’s pretty darn talented himself.
Watt - a legit defensive player of the year candidate - deserves similar recognition for his elite level of play.
Obi-Wan Kenobi - Ryan Fitzpatrick QB Miami Dolphins
An aging veteran in a mentor role with a nice beard. Can’t you just picture it?
Darth Maul - Odell Beckham Jr. WR Cleveland Browns
Darth Maul was easily the best part of Episode 1, looking like a straight badass in every sense of the word. The only problem? There wasn’t enough of him.
Like Maul, Beckham is as fresh and cool as they come. His incredible one-handed catches are reminiscent of Maul’s crazy flips, while he seems to terrify his opponents similarly. The only problem? Cleveland is criminally underutilizing him, even after trading a 1st Round pick and Jabrill Peppers for his services.
Both he and Maul deserve better.