TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS:
Gravity gun (Half-Life 2, 2004)
Credit Spencer for this one. I asked him which video game weapon Tom Brady best personified, and he immediately said, "gravity gun." It's Belichickian in its brilliance: it just picks up any item that's lying around and wreaks destruction with it.
What's your ammunition? Well, what do you have sitting around? 5'9" undrafted wideout? CFL castaway? Semi-pro javelin thrower? Guy you met on the bus who knows a lot about, I don't know, sand? Yep, now they're all deadly instruments, fine-tuned to decapitate the rest of the league.
RYAN TANNEHILL, DOLPHINS:
Knife (Wolfenstein 3D, 1992)
It was practically impossible to run out of ammo in Wolfenstein 3D, so there was never really any reason to use the knife. As well as I can figure, it only existed as a means of explaining how you killed the guard at the very beginning of the game. Thing is, the game starts right after you kill the guard. That's how determined the game programers were to make sure you never had to use it.
But eventually, "knife runs" became popular. If you wanted an extra challenge, you could try to beat the entire game using only your knife. The Dolphins' 2012 season is a knife run, and Ryan Tannehill is their knife. If this offense wants to succeed this season, it's going to need to be on the lookout for chicken dinners that are just sitting on the ground in the middle of the field by an industrious but absent-minded Nazi chef with poor organizational skills.
RYAN FITZPATRICK, BILLS:
Debris launch (Silent Service, NES, 1989)
Silent Service, to this day, remains one of the greatest games of all time. Basically, you took your submarine, wandered around the WWII Pacific, and waged war using maps, engine controls, torpedos, and all this other stuff that should have been overwhelming for an eight-year-old to comprehend. That it wasn't is a huge credit to the people that made it.
Anyway, one of the many maneuvers you could attempt was the "launch debris" option. When activated, your sub would launch a bunch of garbage to the surface of the water -- the idea being that it might trick enemy ships into thinking you'd sunk so that you could make your retreat.
THIS NEVER WORKED. ONCE. EVER. Neither do Ryan Fitzpatrick's attempts to throw opposing secondaries off the trail, given that he led the NFL in interceptions last year.
There are absolutely no analogies to be made between the Bills and submarines. None. Next slide!
MARK SANCHEZ, JETS:
Portal gun (Portal, 2007)
Between the mere presences of Rex Ryan and Tim Tebow, the thoroughly unreliable quarterbacking of Mark Sanchez, the team's penchant for defeating itself, and the 10 million crazies who cheer them on, the Jets are a work of mad storytelling brilliance. So is Portal.
Mark Sanchez could open a portal to victory if he aimed correctly. Instead, he sort of just looks up, blasts one window at the ceiling, then looks down and blasts another at his feet. In so doing, he, and the Jets franchise, are left to forever wander a confusing, endless, somewhat quirky nightmare.
BRANDON WEEDEN, BROWNS:
Cougar Magnum (Perfect Dark, Nintendo 64, 2000)
Brandon Weeden is a rookie. He's going to turn 29 in October. There's something anachronistic about that, and there's no greater anachronism in the "video game weapons" game than, "six-shooter in game set in the distant future."
Perfect Dark, the endlessly fun spiritual sequel to Goldeneye 007, was one of many games to do this. The year was, like, 2800 or something. You had an alien gun that was quasi-alive, a gun that shot through walls, a rocket launcher with a remote-controlled rocket ... and a Magnum. Who the Hell is going to use a Magnum 500 years from now? It'd be like using Windows in 2012.
JOE FLACCO, RAVENS:
Launcher arm (Cyborg Justice, Sega Genesis, 1993)
The Ravens, who are coming off back-to-back 12-4 seasons, might be the favorite to win the AFC North in 2012. Their offensive line is solid, Ray Rice has emerged as an elite running back, there's talent at the wideout positions, and even after the loss of Terrell Suggs, their defense is still among the best in the league.
Joe Flacco, at quarterback, is the chair in the blanket fort that keeps tipping over. The criticism directed at Flacco isn't entirely fair -- even though 2011 was the worst season of his career, he wasn't terrible, just mediocre.
You wonder what this team could do if they had a great quarterback, and that brings us to Cyborg Justice. In this game, you were a robot who wandered around and fought a bunch of other robots. You could customize your robo-arm to be a circular saw, a laser cannon, a mace, or a flame thrower.
Flacco is none of those. He is the "launcher arm," one of the most ludicrous additions to a video game I've ever seen. You can see it briefly at the 0:12 mark of this video. When activated, the arm seriously just shot off, and after that you were just this sad-ass one-armed robot. Look for Flacco to do exactly one great thing per game.
ANDY DALTON, BENGALS:
Bible verses (Bibleman, PC, 2005)
At the start of last season, the Bengals looked like they were in for a few seasons of losing and rebuilding. They had just endured a 4-12 season, their franchise quarterback was out the door, and their old receiving corps was crumbling. And yet, somehow, rookie Andy Dalton stepped in at quarterback to lead Cincinnati to the playoffs. Serious football experts could probably explain in rational terms how and why this happens, but I'm chalking it up to an act of God.
Similarly, Bibleman uses Bible verses to destroy his enemies, but the most important thing the two have in common is this: they exist in inhospitable environments. Bibleman, by all accounts, is a terribly-made game that is borderline unplayable. Trying to play your way through this game is like trying to win in the AFC North.
Oh, third thing in common: keep in mind that Dalton went to TCU. There are probably homeschooled kids across the country who think that both Dalton and Bibleman are ****ing awesome.
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, STEELERS:
GEP gun (Deus Ex, PC, 2000)
Deus Ex is probably the best game I've ever played for a lot of reasons. One is the ability to play it in so many different ways. If you want, you can play through the entire game without killing a single person. Or, if you'd prefer, you can use a giant futuristic bazooka to solve all your problems.
The GEP gun made your character extremely slow, took a long time to fire, and took up so much room that you didn't have any room left over for first aid kits. Sounds like Roethlisberger to me.