The Dungeonmaster’s Guide to the 2016 NFL (National Football League) Season

A founding principle here at The Renaissance Fan is that we believe sports fandom is every bit as geeky as any other passion. Like the Sci-Fi/Fantasy lover, the sports fan loves a narrative. Here, for the convenience of any George R.R. Martin/ Frank Herbert/ Isaac Asimov fans making their first foray into NFL fandom is a guide to the good/evil “alignment” of every NFL team to help you decide which squad you will throw in with this season. The league is divided into two conferences, the AFC (American Football Conference) and NFC (National Football Conference); this article will cover the former and a second, which we will put up tomorrow, will cover the latter.

PART 1: THE AFC

Guide to the 2016 NFL

THE AFC EAST

The Buffalo Bills

Guide to the 2016 NFL
The Bills have been to the Super Bowl (the NFL’s championship game) several times but have never won, and they are frequently stymied by the New England Patriots, the most dominant NFL team of the last decade, and they have gone sixteen seasons without reaching the playoffs, the longest active streak in the NFL, making them one of the most rootable teams in the league. They are led by, arguably, the most exciting young quarterback (the man who throws the ball and is often the face of the team) in the league, Tyrod Taylor, and one of its most likeable running backs (the player to whom the quarterback hands the ball to run with) in LeSean McCoy. Their eccentric, possibly foot fetishist, coach was run out of his previous coaching job in New York only to land with the Bills upstate and be given the opportunity to rankle his old fan base on an annual basis. All considered, the Bills are a lot of fun.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Real player and not a Star Wars character: Reggie Raglund

The Miami Dolphins

Guide to the 2016 NFL
They have a very cute mascot and they have not been to the playoffs in the last seven seasons. It is hard to root for any team that plays in a city that averages temperatures in the high sixties in January but it is also hard to find anything in particular to dislike about the Dolphins except for the employment Ndamukong Suh, renowned as one the league’s dirtiest players. In recent seasons the Dolphins have been working on rehabilitating their image after a pretty ugly hazing controversy that resulted in the ejection of the horrific bully Richie Incognito from the team (Incognito now plays for the Bills).
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Real player and not a GOT character: Jarvis Landry

The New England Patriots

Guide to the 2016 NFL
The Patriots are the NFL’s reigning “Evil Empire,” the team have experienced unparallelled success for more than a decade now. While allegations of cheating have plagued the team (and by “plagued” we mean “slightly distracted”) none of the allegations explain the team’s dominance, which is likely less a result of bending the rules and more the result of being really, really good all the time; so good that people care about their, fairly petty, rules violations. This year The Pats (that’s what people call The Patriots, for short) have some underdog appeal because their handsome talented supermodel espoused quarterback Tom Brady is suspended (unjustly, if a drunk Ben Affleck is to be believed) for the first four games. Their team also features the doofy fratboy-esque tight end (like a wide receiver but clumsier) Rob Gronkowski (shown above in his natural habitat), maybe the best player ever to play the position who, despite his doofiness, seems like an okay guy, even though he and his brothers are a nerd’s nightmare. Even if you are not a Patriots fan the team may hold some interest simply for being history in the making.
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Real player and not the bully from a recurring dream about middle school: Rob Gronkowski

The New York Jets

Guide to the 2016 NFL
There are two teams that play New York City (actually New Jersey!) and this is the one that does not win very much, though they have nicer uniforms. The Jets are the Mets (the second-tier baseball team from New York) of football. There is little to like or dislike about The Jets. Their quarterback is a Harvard graduate with a giant beard.
Alignment: True Neutral
Real player and not a one-episode character on Star Trek: Darrelle Revis

The AFC South

The Houston Texans

Guide to the 2016 NFL
For years the Texans seemed to be on the cusp of greatness but never quite made it. They have the league’s most dynamic player in defensive end J.J. Watt (who in addition to being great at football, is quite a jumper) and one its most productive receivers (a player who catchs balls thrown by the quarterback) in DeAndre Hopkins. Their quarterback is white guy Brock Osweiler.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Real player and not a comic book vigilante: Tom Savage

The Indianapolis Colts

Guide to the 2016 NFL
Great uniforms. The have a pretty great quarterback with a not-so-great beard Andrew Luck who gets points for having appeared on an episode of Parks & Recreation. Receiver T.Y. Hilton is really good at celebrating touchdowns, or terrible, hard to tell. Likely a so-bad-it’s-good scenario.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Real player and not a Batman villain: Frank Gore

The Jacksonville Jaguars

Guide to the 2016 NFL
The Jags have become synonymous with failure mostly because they are not good. They have a couple of promising players in quarterback Blake Bortles and receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns but the team itself is somewhat less than promising. A true underdog in that they are not expected to do well.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Real player and not a hero from a space opera: Blake Bortles

The Tennessee Titans

Guide to the 2016 NFL
The Titans are working on a healthy 7-season playoff drought and don’t seem likely to improve anytime soon. They have not yet won a Super Bowl, are they an interesting team? No, but there’s no reason to not like them, really. Their quarterback is another Hawaiian guy named Marcus Mariota and their most interesting player is the once-great running back DeMarco Murray.
Alignment: True Neutral
 Real player and not the alter-ego of a Marvel superhero: Tajae Sharpe

THE AFC NORTH

The Baltimore Ravens

Guide to the 2016 NFL
With their all-black uniforms and death-bird mascot, not to mention their history of employing a coterie of evil players, The Ravens have essentially adopted evil as their trademark. Also they win a lot, which makes them fairly hateable. Their quarterback is the highest paid of the league’s bland white quarterbacks despite being nowhere near the best at the position.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Real player and not a Starfleet trainee: C.J. Mosley

The Cincinnati Bengals

Guide to the 2016 NFL
They have the coolest helmets. They also have have quarterback Andy Dalton who is alternately good and bad as well as being, perhaps, the most prominent red-headed athlete. They also have A.J. Green who may be the most talented receiver in the league. They sometimes win the division but they have never won the Superbowl, which makes them very rootable.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Real player and not a sorcerer: Vontaze Burfict

The Cleveland Browns

Guide to the 2016 NFL
Since the airing of ESPN’s 30 For 30 documentary “Believeland,” it has become every American’s duty to root for every team from Cleveland, even with the Cavs (The Cleveland Cavaliers, the basketball team from Cleveland) finally winning some hardware for the city. There is a fun narrative in the potential comebacks of the very likeable Robert Griffin III and, to a less-inspiring extent, Josh Gordon.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Real player and not a plucky sidekick from a medieval adventure movie: Scooby Wright III

The Pittsburgh Steelers

Guide to the 2016 NFL
They have a long history of winning (most Super Bowl victories of any team) and their quarterback has a reputation for being sexually monstrous (we didn’t forget, Ben).
Alignment: Neutral Evil
 Real player and not a GOT character: Senquez Golson

THE AFC WEST

The Denver Broncos

Guide to the 2016 NFL
They’ve just won the Super Bowl, which makes them the team to beat. However, the most evil player on their team last year has now retired (Peyton Manning, it was Peyton Manning), and the most prominent player on the team is the very likeable Von Miller.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Real player and not a smuggler from the Star Wars universe: Paxton Lynch

The Kansas City Chiefs

Guide to the 2016 NFL
They have the league’s most loveable coach in Andy Reid. Their uniforms are pretty good and their name is only marginally, not outwardly, racist. It would be nice to see running back Jamaal Charles make a comeback after losing a season to injury.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Real player and not a Klingon warrior: Tamba Hali

The Oakland Raiders

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The Raiders have had a hard time of it since their Tecmo days. They’ve got great, evil-looking uniforms but the evil look cannot hide their year-to-year ineptitude. They are not a compelling team, but they do play in Oakland, which is compelling because it is just across the bay from hoighty-toighty San Francisco (no offense, San Fran). Their fan base dresses like they came right off the set of a Mad Max movie. Which is great.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Real player and not the face of a bioengineering firm in a sci-fi movie: Sebastian Janikowski

The San Diego Chargers

Guide to the NFL 2016
Most of the time they wear bad uniforms but some of the time they wear really great uniforms (powder blue ones). Their quarterback used to be one of the premier bland white quarterbacks but now he is just one of the marginal ones.
Alignment: True Neutral
Real player and not a Sith lord: Manti Te’o

One thought on “The Dungeonmaster’s Guide to the 2016 NFL (National Football League) Season

  • September 9, 2016 at 7:33 am
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    A point that while something of a quibble must be made. The division of this and other Universes along lines of Good-Evil and Lawful-Chaotic has nothing to do with those latter day Juvie-Fic writers you reference. You are talking Old School Dungeons and Dragons there, back to Gary Gygax. (who totally does sound like a D and D character). Now ascended, or descended/translated etc, to another plane we can’t ask GG his influences although H.P. Lovecraft would seem a likely intermediate step along the way from Norse mythology sources. You wanna talk some serious paper bag over the head fandom? A true D and D old timer will say they were around when the Blue Rule book was new. All players below 8th level will fall silent…..

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