We can’t help but look up to our favorite athletes. When they put on their uniforms and step out onto the field of play, we immediately see them as different creatures. Their sheer athleticism is beyond human. Their strength, endurance, agility, and reflexes are oftentimes so incomprehensible, that we tend to characterize them as something more. For all intents and purposes, these individuals are superheroes — especially those in the National Football League.
Aside from these giants of the gridiron, some of the other more recognizable superheroes belong in the Marvel Universe. Not only are these characters successful on the big screen, but if you’re a real fan, then you feel more than just the need to go and support the latest superhero movie — you feel a connection to these characters. Perhaps you read the comics, or wore the outfits. Perhaps you looked to their stories for advice and guidance.
These characters, like you, had hopes and fears and dreams and values, and they stood for something. And that made them worth investing in. And in that respect, among others, there is a clear connection between the NFL and the Marvel Universe.
Graphic designer Justin Kozisek recognized this, and he decided to do something about it. Like those who came before him in a galaxy far, far away, he decided to design NFL helmets to give them their own Marvel character counterpart. And they are super awesome. Of course, we can’t help but have a few favorites. With that in mind, here’s a look at 7 NFL teams and their Marvel superhero helmet designs.
1. Miami Dolphins
Marvel name: Miami Namors
The reason this redesigned Miami Dolphins helmet is so sweet is because it stays true to the aquatic theme of the team, while also managing to create a more powerful image. For those unfamiliar with the Marvel character Namor, he is the half-human/half-Atlantean Prince of Atlantis. He is strong, durable, agile, and has a true connection to the water.
With the offseason addition of Ndamukong Suh, there is a strong chance the Miami defense will reflect the attributes of this Marvel character counterpart. At least, that’s what the Dolphins front office is banking on — they sure paid enough for it.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marvel name: Tampa Bay Punishers
This revamped Tampa Bay Buccaneers helmet is crazy aggressive — and it works. The Punisher logo fits perfectly in the center of the red flag and it looks as if it could’ve been there the entire time. In a way, that’s what makes this new top so cool. Not only are the changes to this helmet minimal, but they are still enough to help it stand out.
Also, if you focus on the handle of the flag, you’ll notice a new piece that acts as a perfect tribute to the Punisher character. If the Buccaneers were to ever sport this helmet on the regular, let’s just say you’d come to know it well.
3. Carolina Panthers
Marvel name: Carolina Wolverines
We’re not sure if we can envision Wolverine roaring like the current Carolina Panthers logo, but this new design is a solid hybrid of the two images. The fangs, the claws, the unpredictable animalistic tendencies, they all come through in this redesign. This helmet would look perfect on Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly for so many reasons. He’s a relentless performer, an instinctual player, and incredibly focused. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say he was the Wolverine reincarnate. Just think about the possibilities.
4. Oakland Raiders
Marvel name: Agents of Oakland
Brooding, stubborn, and unamused, the Oakland Raiders logo had Nick Fury‘s face written all over it. This redesign is completely effortless. The only real difference between this new figure and the one before it, is the placement of the eyepatch. Left eye, right eye, it makes no difference to us. Any character that can pull off this piece of apparel is OK by us.
This revamped helmet is smooth and perfect on so many levels. The Raiders are already trying to return to past glory, perhaps this is the right helmet to wear as they move toward a bright future.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Marvel name: Kansas City Spideys
This is Spider-Man — no other way around it. This is a great use of Kansas City‘s bright red. Then on top of that, the addition of the webs to the background, coupled with that massive eye, we don’t even see a face mask after awhile. Honestly, we’re convinced that if we put on this helmet, we may actually be able to web sling. Our spidey senses are simply tingling at the possibility.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Marvel name: San Francisco Ironmen
It’s nice to see someone build off the classic scarlet and gold of the San Francisco 49ers. These days, some folks take things too far — big mistake. The identical color palettes of both the Niners and Ironman make redesign a no-brainer. However, in case you weren’t satisfied with the obvious similarities, then ask yourself one important question: Is there any player in the NFL more qualified to be Ironman than Colin Kaeparnick? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
7. St. Louis Rams
Marvel name: St. Louis DocOcks
It may take a few looks, but eventually you’ll see how incredibly smart this redesign actually is. Taking the ram’s horn and converting it into Doc Ock’s mechanical arms is brilliant. There is so much subtlety in this piece, and yet it is also fairly detailed.
The closer you look at this particular logo, the more you have to take your hat off to the designer. He kept the same shape and the same feel. But he also incorporated enough minor changes to make this look super original. There’s no way around it, this St. Louis Rams helmet is fantastic.
To see the rest of Justin Kozisek’s Marvel NFL helmets, click here.