As the Patriots go into the Super Bowl against the Rams this Sunday, I decided to do a little writing exercise for my favorite football team. Throughout the years, the “Patriots haters” have tried to deride and insult the Patriots by comparing them to a certain despotic government in the Star Wars universe… The Galactic Empire…or as the phrase has evolved: “The Evil Empire”. So I decided to assign each Star Wars Imperial character to a person or player within the Patriots organization. You know… so there’s no confusion as to who’s who when you’re rooting against my squad this Sunday.
Coach Bill Belichick as Emperor Palpatine:
Besides the obvious physical similarities (HOODIE!!!), Belichick and Palpatine align with each other in some troubling ways. Ruthless, despotic and cold hearted; each leader is fearless in their decision-making and isn’t afraid to make the hard choice. Belichick’s game plan switches from game to game often taking away the opponents best weapon. In the rebellion against the Empire, Palpatine also sought to take away the rebels best weapon: Luke Skywalker. Emperor Belichick rules over his Patriots with an iron fist and it’s led to 9 Superbowls in 18 years. Coach Sheev Palpatine ruled the Galactic Empire similarly for two decades. The success speaks for itself with these two men even if their morals leave their personalities with something to be desired.
Tom Brady as Darth Vader:
First mates and steady hands, Tom Brady and Darth Vader are the cold and efficient fists of their chosen organizations. Tall, brooding and ruthlessly efficient, each man asserts his dominance over his chosen battlefield. As Belichick plucked Brady in the 6th round of the NFL draft, Palpatine handpicked Vader out of the Jedi ranks. Each man is setup for success and this led to a run of dominance with their chosen occupations. Vader quickly and efficiently eliminates Jedi knights and threats to the Empire just as Brady quickly and efficiently dispatches AFC challengers for the crown.
Josh McDaniels as Grand Moff Tarkin:
When Emperor Palpatine sought an officer to run his giant, cylindrical death-ship, he knew he needed the most brilliant military mind in his army: Grand Moff Tarkin. When Coach Belichick needed a coach to harness the offensive firepower of Tom Brady, he called on Josh McDaniels. Each man is a brilliant strategist willing to risk it all in battle. Tarkin was so confident in his ship’s “fully operational” capabilities that he risked an all-out assault on the enemy rebel planet knowing full-well they had the key to destroying him. McDaniels, like Belichick switches his gameplans up from week to week but he’s also not afraid of calling a big play: (click)
Bob Kraft as Senator (Prequels) Palpatine:
Prequels Palpatine was the face of the Republic, a shining example of what politics and hard work should look like. Bob Kraft embodies the spirit and soul of the Patriots more than anybody, just without the despotic tendencies. Kraft does hold a quiet confidence as well though in that he knows his team is better than yours. It’s almost as if a smirk is hiding behind his eyes, like the look young Sheev Palpatine gives as his Galactic Empire is built around him to “thunderous applause.”
Rob Gronkowski as Boba Fett:
Stone cold assassins, both men are elite at what they do yet both are criminally underrated and underused. Boba Fett is one of the coolest characters in Star Wars history yet he hardly speaks and is given an underwhelming death. Gronk is going to go down as one of the best tight ends in NFL history but he often speaks too much and his body is falling apart late in his career. However, each man is incredibly efficient and skilled in their chosen fields. Each is able to wield elite weaponry (Boba’s jetpack, suit modifications; Gronk’s catch radius, blocking ability). Each man is technically a foot soldier within the larger schemes of their organizations but they are memorable in specific and important ways.
The Running Back Corps as Stormtroopers:
Stormtroopers in the Galactic Empire serve numerous and varied functions. Some are used in snow operations, others in desert environments while others are your plain run-of-the-mill stormtrooper. Every year, the Patriots use anywhere from 2-5 different running backs. Like the stormtroopers, each back serves a specific function. Sony Michele, the every down back, is your standard stormtrooper: capable of running 100 yards or shooting down 100 rebels. James White is the speed/receiving back. He’s your sandtrooper. Swooping through the desert searching for holes in the defense and lost protocol droids. Finally, Rex Burkhead is your snowtrooper. Fighting in the snow is brutal and requires a power back like Burkhead who is adept at gaining that tough yard and also blowing up a frozen wall to get to a rebel control station.
Julian Edelman as Admiral Piett:
Vader/Brady’s first and most trusted officer/receiver who has survived under their superior even through numerous replacements. Both men are consistent and sturdy and get their chosen jobs completed. Piett is the one who ends up trapping Han Solo at Cloud City and Edelman does everything from running crisp routes to throwing touchdowns (see the McDaniels/Tarkin section). Both men are trusted by their organizations with incredible responsibility and both come through when needed most or die trying.
Drew Bledsoe as Count Dooku:
Poor Dooku and Bledsoe….both were seemingly destined for greatness. Dooku as the first hand man to a rising Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine and Drew Bledsoe as the starting quarterback for the eventual 2001 Superbowl Champion Patriots. Dooku gets decapitated by his replacement Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader), in front of his boss. Bledsoe gets hurt, gets replaced by his backup and loses his job to a 24 year old Tom Brady…
The rest is history….