So, things have been a little bland and serious around the separated worlds of all the Waiver Wire writers recently. We wanted to shake things up a bit.
Last week, I talked about how I was falling out of love with The Walking Dead, and I wasn’t alone among the guys here at TWW. How do you make the premise of The Walking Dead a little more interesting for more people?
Well, what if you had to choose six active athletes currently in sports to be in your small zombie apocalypse survival group? Now we’re onto something!
Greg Kaplan, Vinny Ginardi, John Yorke, Alex Herd and Joe Binckes got together and picked through everybody available to come up with 30 athletes, six per person, we would want to survive the apocalypse with. Well, 27 athletes. Someone decided three of his athletes needed to be animals…
Be sure to vote in the poll at the end of the article for best team!
Round 1 -
GK: Kobe Bryant – For me, the first pick was obvious. I need a guy that would do anything to keep himself at the peak of his game. Someone who is widely seen as the ultimate competitor, and never gives up. However, that same person also needs to have a mean streak, needs to be able to make the tough decisions. He also needs to be comfortable being the leader of the group and dictating the pace. In other words, the ball needs to be in his hands at the end of the game, and there has to be a belief among his peers that he’s going to get it done. That’s Kobe Bryant.
VG: LeBron James – I’m sorry, but I feel like Greg made a mistake by skipping over King James with the first overall pick for an injured Kobe Bryant. LeBron is in his prime and built like a Greek God, except stronger and faster. In a life-or-death situation like we have here, I want one of the most athletic men on the planet leading my group. Oh, and LeBron has proven time and time again to be a team-oriented player. He’ll watch my back even though I probably won’t have to watch his.
JY: Metta World Peace – First pick for me had to be someone either so courageous or so stupid that they would do whatever was necessary. I think Metta fills both those roles. Is there anyone you think he wouldn’t fight? Seriously. Metta World Peace is crazy enough to fight anyone. One hundred zombies? Time to start throwing elbows. Seriously. He is a gigantic man, he’s strong, fast and athletic. But the best attribute is the crazy. And Metta has that more than anyone else. Something else I’m not sure anyone is considering: We’re not only fighting zombies, but other survival groups. I’m not going to share limited resources with other people. I’m going to have Metta and the rest of the squad bash their skulls in with elbows and penises(we’ll get to that later).
AH: Peyton Manning – Peyton Manning is the obvious first choice in a zombie apocalypse. The others all went with guys who are strong or fast or physically fit, but we’re picking from athletes, I’m not about to use my first pick on someone with physical skills. Peyton is the ultimate strategist. We need to go on a food run? Peyton plans out the route, transportation, formation, and weapons. Did zombies come in our escape route? Omaha! Peyton has us going out the windows like he planned for a backup. Did someone get injured and can’t run? Omaha! Peyton has the medical supplies and we’re already in a perfectly defensible location thanks to his great planning.
Round 2 -
AH: J.J. Watt – Since I already have the morally just strategist, I need his counterpart. The guy who, when someone has a broken leg in the middle of the street and we’re surrounded by 100 zombies, forces the group to leave him behind so we all survive. That’s J.J. Watt. Add in his ridiculous strength and competitive nature, and I love what he brings to the survivors. If someone tells Watt he can’t kill ALL the zombies, he’ll do it just to prove them wrong.
JY: Marshawn Lynch – I took Lynch here because I need someone who is capable of putting me on their back and carrying me to safety. Lynch could do that easily. He carried half the New Orleans’ Saints defense one time. I’m sure he’d have no problem carrying me around wherever we went. Plus, again, he’s another strong, athletic person, who’s more than capable of holding their own in a fight, against zombies or humans.
VG: Jay Cutler – You might be thinking that this is a bit early to draft Jay Cutler, but it’s not. One of the best strategies for any draft is knowing your draft counterparts. I know John and Greg love Jay just as much as I do, so I had to take him while he was still on the board. When thinking about a zombie survival group, I also took into consideration that these would now be the people who I would be spending the rest of my life with. So while I most certainly need a group that will be able to prolong my life as much as possible, I also want a group that is fun and cool. Smokin’ Jay Cutler brings both sides of the die (did I mean coin? Yeah, I meant coin) to the table. He’s got a cannon for an arm, so he can throw projectiles at oncoming walkers, but he also just looks like a cool dude. I mean look at the way that he takes a drag! And look at that hair! He’s got to be a cool guy. And the way those cigs dangle ever-so-lightly from his mouth makes me believe he would be awfully smooth with some sort of long distance rifle. In conclusion, Jay can help protect the group while also bringing the coolness level to a bajillion.
GK: Matt Harvey – With Harvey, I would have someone who would strive to be the best regardless of who is surrounding him. That means, if Kobe is leading the group, Harvey would be the guy that would want to be just as important as Kobe, without having that inferiority complex that would cripple a group otherwise. In other words, Harvey wants to be the best, but doesn’t have a problem admitting that someone around him could be better. Also, Harvey can throw stuff really hard. And has strong command of where he throws stuff really hard. That’ll help when we have walkers coming at us. (And if anyone jokes about his injured elbow, I’ll literally kill you. Right after I finish crying that you stooped that low…)
GK: Vince Wilfork – Two strategies about this pick. The first, Wilfork is a HUGE man, and anything he does, I find outrageously entertaining. Seriously. Someone needs to give this guy a reality TV show and call it “Vince Wilfork Does Normal, Everyday Things”. I’d watch 48-hour marathon of that show. Second, every survival group needs someone they view as expendable. Wilfork is big enough where 750 walkers can feast on him and be completely satisfied. That will come in handy when the rest of us are trying to escape an avalanche of body eaters. While he’s alive, Wilfork will provide constant entertainment and pure strength the unit will need to get out of sticky situations. And when he dies, we won’t have to worry about walkers for a while because that’s a lot of man they have to eat first. It’s a win-win!
VG: Mike Trout – What can’t Mike Trout do? He’s deadly with a bat (which will be handy for close-combat situations), he’s good at stealing (which will be perfect for when we need to take supplies from other surviving groups), and he’s good in the field (which will be good if we need someone to create some sort of farm-like environment to keep a constant flow of food). He’s not on a LeBron-esque level of athleticism, but he’s got speed AND power, which is essential. Advanced statistics say I’m making the right choice.
JY: McKayla Maroney – With my 3rd pick, I wasn’t really thinking about survival. I mean I was, but also about sex. Even in a post-apocalyptic world, I’m still going to want to use my penis. McKayla Maroney is a perfect fit here. She’s a gymnast, so she’s strong, fast and can climb shit and jump really well. Plus, she’s smoking hot and super flexible. Even if the whole team is killed, I’m pretty sure there’s a good chance I get to have sex with her. And really, that’s all that matters.
AH: Richard Sherman – Eventually, I have no doubt we’ll need to have someone collect things without bringing the whole group. I like to think of this role as the apocalypse ninja. Sherman is very fast and would be perfect for this role. If he did get surrounded, he could just outrun the zombies. The main reason I picked him, instead of all the other fast athletes is for comic relief. Sherman is known for his trash talk and I want to be in a group where the zombies are told how much they suck at flesh-eating as they’re killed.
AH: Caroline Wozniacki – Like John’s choice, this is purely a choice for re-population. Someone has to keep our species going once the world goes to hell and I’m willing to take on that task with Wozniacki. Plus she’s got good endurance which probably will be helpful at some point. But yeah it’s about sex.
JY: Sebastian Janikowski – SEABASS! Besides my fandom toward the Oakland Raiders, I decided to pick Janikowski because you can never have too little crazy on your team. And when it comes to crazy, Janikowski has yards of it. I’m pretty sure he’s played professional football games drunk, and there was a rumor he used to light his foot on fire before games for good luck. How can you not love that? Plus, his legs are strong as shit, so if we need to kick some doors down or knock zombie heads off, he’s our man.
VG: Alex Morgan – Alex Morgan is a published author and graduated college a semester early with a degree in political economics, bringing some much needed intelligen- who am I kidding? I picked her because she’s super attractive and we’re in love. I am starting to somewhat regret picking Jay Cutler, though. I see him as my main competition for Miss Morgan. Game on, Jay!
GK: James Harrison – John took my original batshit crazy pick, so I needed to think hard about who else I would classify as a complete and total psychopath. OH HEY, JAMES HARRISON! If you needed any confirmation that Harrison is an absolute lunatic besides everything he does on the football field, just watch this year’s Hard Knocks and enjoy how he interacts with the camera crew. This guy will sack walkers and literally rip their heads off. In a normal, law-abiding society, I’d be terrified to be within a mile of this guy. But in a zombie apocalypse? HARRISON IS MY DUDE.
GK: Danica Patrick – Danica is both easy on the eyes, and would be an awesome getaway driver. She has no fear behind the wheel, which is exactly what we would need when driving through a herd of zombies. Whatever stereotype you feel like throwing at me for selecting a woman driver, I counter with there being no rules of the road for her to break. I just need her to drive fast, and run over zombies. And make occasional left-hand turns. She’s got this.
VG: Ndamukong Suh – I feel like I need someone who can thrive in this type of environment on an animalistic level. That’s where Ndamukong Suh comes in, and I don’t mean this in an insulting way. We’ve seen the countless ruthless hits he’s made on quarterbacks, just imagine what he can do when his goal is to actually kill the zombie/person in front of him using just his bare hands and massive size. I have no idea what Suh’s personality is like, but I know I’ll sleep a lot easier knowing he’s there to protect me. It’s like having one of those high-tech alarm systems built in your home, except only if that alarm system could also dismantle the intruder.
JY: Andre Drummond – If you haven’t been on the internet since June of this year, you might not know that Andre Drummond dated (I know 1000 hearts just broke upon reading that correctly) Jennette McCurdy of iCarly and Sam and Cat fame. Andre Drummond is a mountain of a man, he’s strong, fast and athletic, and I’m pretty sure he could destroy any zombie in a 10 foot radius of him. HOWEVER, the sole reason I picked, was so I could talk to him about his relationship with McCurdy. I need him to tell me everything that happened. In very. Very. Very graphic details. Hold nothing back, Andre!
AH: Josh Hamilton – Like everyone else, I agree that there needs to be some crazy on the team. Sure Hamilton has his life together now but nothing says drug fueled rage like the end of the world. And with ammo at a premium, someone who can use a bat while running on pure adrenaline is exactly what we need.
AH: Pacman Jones – This pick was purely about weapons. We know Pacman knows how to use a gun and that’s going to be very important. Although he’s a crazy pick, he’s shown just enough restraint to be part of the team, which means he’s a loose cannon but one that Peyton will be able to point and fire as his plans dictate. What it came down to is I now have all the roles you’d need in an apocalypse, a mastermind in Peyton, physical strength and necessary immoral decision-making in Watt, sex in Wozniacki, speed and comic relief in Sherman, physical weapons in Hamilton, and gun expertise in Pacman. There’s no situation we can’t survive.
JY: Greg Oden – Ah, the last pick of the draft. As Greg mentioned earlier, every group needs someone that’s expendable. I originally drafted Jamarcus Russell with this pick, because the combination of Russell, World Peace and Janikowski would be the most entertaining trio in the world. Also, if there was any one professional athlete I wouldn’t mind seeing be torn to shreds by ravenous undead, it’s Jamarcus Russell. But Greg’s the boss, and Greg said I couldn’t pick him. So I decided upon Greg Oden. Oden is another giant, he’s incredibly strong, and he has a penis that could club a seal to death. Which I’m pretty sure he’s done. He also has knees made of glass though, so he’s super easy to ditch and leave as bait. He’s more than capable of taking out a couple of zombies by swinging that dong around, and the more he kills before his knees explode, the better.
VG: Rickie Fowler – Remember when I said that I took into consideration that I wanted cool people to hang out with in my zombie survival group? That’s what this pick is all about. Don’t get me wrong, I think Rick the Stick could be an efficient zombie killer as well — I’m sure he’s deadly with a seven-iron — but this selection was on the pure basis of having a bro to chill with. Is there any professional athlete that is more “bro” than Rickie Fowler? I mean he’s got the sweet hair and wears cool necklaces and always sports orange on Sundays. I can’t wait to talk with Rickie about alternative rock while tossing a Frisbee on the green grass during a light-zombie day just to pass the time. I really can’t wait. This zombie thing better happen.
GK: Jon ‘Bones’ Jones – Let’s be honest here, we need some more brute strength. Why I’m the only person in the group to take an MMA fighter or a boxer, I’m not certain. Bones has the ability to literally punch a zombie’s head off. Under what circumstances wouldn’t I want that in my crew when I’m trying to stave off being eaten alive?
I couldn’t be around for the draft portion of this exercise, but after some discussion it was decided that there was a way I could be involved regardless. Before seeing who everyone else had chosen, my plan was to fully adopt the role of an expansion franchise. I wanted to build a team of lovable misfits, searching for missed value like a veritable post-apocalyptic Billy Beane. After seeing everyone else’s squads, I now realize that the ‘lovable misfit’ angle has been pretty well tapped dry. That said, I’m still hoping to put together a formidable group that’s suited to survive the oncoming horde.
Alexander Ovechkin – It seems some consideration was given to picking a team member who would be able to move around stealthily in order to access areas that have needed supplies but have the path obstructed by the undead. Sending someone off on their own, especially someone considered tremendously skilled at remaining undetected, seems like a great way to tempt the trope gods to set you down a team member. However, if zombie movies have taught me anything, it’s that some quick makeup and a stiff gait allow you to move through a mass of zombies undetected. After some thinking, I feel like Ovie could easily pass for a zombie with minimal effort so I’d want him. With that, we’ve got our expert camouflage artist.
Manti Te’o – Every team needs someone with imagination, and who in the world of professional sports has more imagination than Te’o? He captivated the entire country before he had even reached professional status. Now that he doesn’t even have to worry about the pretense of maintaining the “student-athlete” title, I can’t even fathom the creative powers he’ll be able to harness. Beyond his ability to think outside the box when it comes to problem solving, it’ll be great to have someone who can spin a yarn to entertain the group and keep spirits high around camp.
Philip Rivers – Bear with me on this one, because it may feel a bit disjointed at first: It almost hurt me to make this pick, because to be honest I don’t think any of us would choose to spend much time with Rivers. The earlier drafters gave some consideration to the continuation of the human race, should we manage to somehow keep the zombie terror at bay. However, as much as I can appreciate where they’re coming from, this is a question of survival. The idea that anyone is going to impregnate a member of their team is just a terrible idea (Not to mention John is crazy if he thinks McKayla is going to be with him when Andre Drummond is around. Way to sabotage your own plan just a few rounds later).
The only time that’s going to become relevant is if we reach some sort of safe haven, a human encampment where we no longer have to be on the run. How does this train of thought justify a pick of Philip Rivers? Well, I’m nothing if not a team player. If we’re concerned about the status of repopulation, having Rivers around as our hypervirile reproductive Superman* seems like a solid proposition. The 31-year-old is on his seventh child at this point, all while maintaining his status as a starting NFL quarterback. If he didn’t have to focus on anything other than repopulation? We’d be looking at the stuff of legend.
Game On Dude, Ron the Greek, and Mucho Macho Man – After some quick Googling, I picked three racehorses who seem to excel at the longer distance tracks. Greg may have Danica Patrick, but gas is going to be at a premium as any remaining humans are scrambling to get somewhere safe. Good luck with that, my squad will be traveling in style on horseback. The six-round format means that we’ve got one more rider than trusty steed, but I find the idea of Rivers and Te’o sharing a horse amusing enough that I’m actually going to count that as an added upside. With that, we’re ready to ride off into the distance in search of safety from the oncoming army of the undead.
Team Photos -