Sunday’s morning game between the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars, which took place in London, was unique for more than just the game itself. ESPN opted to air a “Toy Story” version of the game in the animated style of the movies. While it has been considered a massive success by fans and critics alike, an interesting question could come out of this: Which character from this beloved franchise would you want on your team? Would you want the athletic superstar of Buzz Lightyear, a true tank with Rex or another choice? Our writers will opt to answer this question in today’s Daily Campus sports roundtable!
Associate Sports Editor
Big Baby: Offensive Line
In terms of a potential football lineup, “Toy Story 3” gives us some insane options to choose from. It’s easy to overlook how great Big Baby can actually be on the offensive line for this team, especially considering he towers over the other toys he goes up against. He also has some insane strength as shown by how he was able to easily lift up Lots-o-Huggin’ Bear and throw him in the dumpster at the end of the third installment in the “Toy Story” series. He’s certainly not the fastest toy on the planet, but in terms of pure offensive lineman mechanics, there’s not a better option on the table here. I expect nothing less than pure domination on the offensive line with Baby as my cornerstone piece.
When I’m recruiting for my roster, there’s nobody I’m calling quicker than Rex. Though I don’t have the “Toy Story” lore knowledge that my associate editor does, I go by the eye test. Rex is a dog; he’s absolutely massive and has the build to anchor an offensive line. Though he likely lacks the mobility and quickness of other players, I have a hard time imagining him missing a block. I’m also not afraid to get creative. Similar to UConn football’s usage of defensive lineman Jelani Stafford, I could also envision using Rex in short yardage situations. On fourth and two, who’s stopping a Tyrannosaurus Rex barreling towards the sticks? I don’t think anyone could bring him down, much less reach his stubby arms to try to strip the ball.
Chunk: Defensive Lineman
No character in any of the four “Toy Story” films epitomizes defensive end JJ Watt more than Chunk from Sunnyside Daycare. During his 12-year NFL career, Watt prowled the trenches like a beast on the field and displayed a light-hearted personality off it. A muscular rock, just like the three-time Defensive Player of the Year was with both the Houston Texans and the Arizona Cardinals, Chunk possesses two unique personalities that set him apart from most players in the game’s modern era. When he is not on the gridiron, Chunk’s happy face makes him an instant fan favorite. On the field, however, his angry face and red eyes mercilessly freeze opposing quarterbacks, while his big arms and short, bulky legs make it impossible for the offensive line to create lanes for their playmakers. His intellect and speed might not be the best when compared with the rest of the toys, but there is no doubt that Chunk’s will to win and bulky aggression make him a defensive anchor and a natural team leader.
Slinky Dog: All-around superstar
If I were a general manager, the first “Toy Story” character I’m giving a call is Slinky Dog and the reasoning is simple — he is talented and willing to put aside his ego. In the first film, Slinky used his stretching ability to pull Buzz and Woody into the van. Slinky’s attempt was unsuccessful as the RC’s batteries died and he stretched to his breaking point, but he refused to let go, suffering a catastrophic injury in the process. When the toys consulted him, all he thought about is what would have happened if he had held on for just a second longer. His heart and ability to stretch to unbelievable lengths makes him a great guy for short yardage situations. No other toy matches his selflessness and ability to fight for those extra yards. Even if you manage to wrap Slinky up, he will just stretch out. He’s also a matchup nightmare on defense; you can stretch him the length of the field, blocking off any running lanes for the offense, and setting his teammates up for an easy tackle.
Emperor Zurg: Quarterback
Now this seems extremely illogical given the fact that Emperor Zurg isn’t the most mobile option out of the cast of “Toy Story” characters, but if given a clean pocket, Zurg can get rid of the ball quickly from any angle with his ion blaster attached to his arm. We saw in the elevator scene of “Toy Story 2” just how accurate Zurg’s cannon can be, drilling his arch nemesis Buzz Lightyear directly in the chest with the utmost precision over and over again. With explosive weapons like Bullseye, Slinky and Rex burning through opposing secondaries, you need a guy who can put the ball right on their chest. In addition to his accurate arm, Zurg has a freakishly big frame and would be a tough quarterback to bring down in the back field. This will help extend plays and buy time for his wide receivers to get open down the field.
Buzz Lightyear: Safety
The fact that we’ve determined five “Toy Story” characters fit for a football roster and have yet to name Lightyear is absolutely absurd to me. Well, we’re taking him here, and we’re giving Buzz the responsibility of deep coverage at the safety position. At safety, Lightyear will need to step up and challenge the opponent’s receivers while simultaneously having awareness to read the quarterback and rover the deep portion of the field. For a guy whose main responsibility at Star Command is to patrol the galaxy, playing safety should be a piece of cake. Buzz is no slouch of an athlete, either. Remember in “Toy Story 2” when he used the toys from Al’s Toy Barn to his advantage, parkouring to escape the store? Or when he parkoured his way out of the classroom in “Toy Story 3?” He’s a team player and a leader, too, as evident by the fact that he led the group that tracked down Woody after he was taken by Al in “Toy Story 2.” This pick just makes sense and we know that Buzz will lead this defensive unit “to infinity and beyond.”