CAM NEWTON, PANTHERS:
Lightning (Mario Kart 64, Nintendo 64, 1997)
If you're in first place in a game of Mario Kart, you're never gonna get the lightning power-up. You'll get a banana peel or something. The lightning is reserved for the player who's stuck back in sixth place.
Like that player, the Panthers are not going to win, but they are going to wreak absolute havoc with Cam Newton. Newton, at his best, makes everyone else on the field look three feet tall. In the above video, we see the Panthers detonating the Falcons' playoff hopes in Week 14, just as they're going over the ramp.
JOSH FREEMAN, BUCCANEERS:
Crowbar (Half-Life, PC, 1998)
He's called "Freeman." I couldn't not make him the crowbar.
Josh Freeman, who had the second-lowest yards-per-completion average in the NFL last season, is basically a melee weapon. The Buccaneers will have to use him to hack through a cavernous, Hellspawn-infested research laboratory (Florida), pausing occasionally to receive sardonic congratulations from a two-piece-suited man with nebulous intent (Roger Goodell).
DREW BREES, SAINTS:
Spread gun (Contra, NES, 1987)
This is perhaps the most obvious comparison on this list. Drew Brees distributes the ball in all directions, trashing every defense in sight. He figures to do so again this year, despite the absence of coach Sean Payton, who is serving a one-year suspension for using the Konami code.
MATT RYAN, FALCONS:
Hunting rifle (Oregon Trail, PC/Mac, 1985)
Generic as all get-out. Also, whenever I watch a Falcons game, I can almost hear my fourth-grade teacher scolding over my shoulder. "OK, I think it's time to move on to the educational parts. You aren't learning anything here."
RUSSELL WILSON, SEAHAWKS:
DD44 Dostevei (Goldeneye 007, Nintendo 64, 1997)
Russell Wilson has been so lost in the Andrew Luck/RG3 discussion that a couple weeks ago, when I was looking through depth charts, it took me a minute to even remember who he was. He's the Dostevei: the nondescript pistol you think nothing of until you actually start using it. Is Wilson as good as the KF7 Soviets and RC-P90s of the league? No. But he's fun to use, and he sure as Hell ain't a Klobb.
ALEX SMITH, 49ers:
Power line building tool (SimCity, PC, 1989)
welp, guess i'll build an offensive drive
wait, why are my receiver icons blinking?
oh, i guess i have to connect them to the quarterback, huh
ah dammit, i didn't draw it straight. whatever.
i am bored.
"Citizens demand a Stadium."
SAM BRADFORD, RAMS:
Steel claymore (Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, 2006)
The Rams are staggering through their own existential dungeon, picking up draft picks and other treasures along the way. They also acquired this giant, two-handed, heavy-ass sword in Sam Bradford. They could use him effectively if they were a Warrior, but they're more of a Mage, so they can't accomplish much of anything with him.
Still, he's worth some gold, so they just keep on dragging him through the dungeon. The Rams will probably end up trading Bradford away for a sackcloth tunic and a sprig of nirnroot, which ought to give their offensive-line some much-needed depth. Hello and welcome to my joke about the St. Louis Rams being bad.
JOHN SKELTON, CARDINALS:
All the traps (Home Alone, PC, 1991)
The Arizona Cardinals are quite a resourceful little eight-year-old. In 2012, they're just going to kind of throw everything they have at the rest of the NFL -- including John Skelton, who is arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league. I say "all the traps," but Skelton is probably less "paint can trap" and more "implausibly elaborate Saran-wrap-and-feathers trap."
I never once beat this game when I was a kid. I was caught every time, and the game made no mention of any beshoveled neighbor to save you, leaving the implication that Harry and Marv probably just murdered Kevin. And just like that, a story they printed coloring books about became terribly macabre. Like, Arizona Cardinals macabre.
Bless this highly nutritious microwave quarterback and the people who sold it on sale.
(P.S. Kevin Kolb is the Klobb for every possible reason.)