In 1985, the Chicago Bears won their one and only Super Bowl Championship. One of the stars of that team was a 370 pound defensive tackle named William “The Refrigerator” Perry. In addition to playing on one of the greatest defenses of all-time, Perry was also used as a fullback in short-yardage situations. He even scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl. The combination of his size, affable personality, and versatile play transformed The Fridge into a pop culture icon.
Also during the 80’s, one of the most popular afternoon cartoons was G.I. Joe. Until Hollywood decided to bastardize my childhood by turning it into a crappy movie, G.I. Joe was among my all-time favorites. I read the comic books, watched the show, and bought every toy that came out. I even sent away for the figures you could only get via mail order.
One of those figures was a special edition William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Yes, The Fridge was a member of G.I. Joe. As you can see by the picture above, they did a pretty nice job of capturing his likeness. Although I was always perplexed by his choice of weapons, which appears to be a football on a stick. I realize Cobra was a gang of idiots who couldn’t shoot straight but is the best way to combat laser fire really a FOOTBALL ON A STICK!?!?
Anyway, this got me to thinking. If G.I. Joe came out today and they wanted to make a football player their newest recruit, who would they pick? Of course, I’m sure they’d choose a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers because that is by far the most popular and successful team in the NFL. The only question is who?
Let’s take a look at some possibilities:
Ben Roethlisberger – If you’re familiar with the G.I. Joe cartoon, you know that every episode followed pretty much the same pattern. The good guys were cruising along, then the evil Cobra would strike back, backing the Joes against a wall. Then, as time was about to expire on the free world, the Joes would mount a furious comeback to deal their enemy a decisive defeat.
Who’s better at engineering a comeback than Big Ben?
The only downside to this choice is the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. I’d be a little worried about Ben getting fresh with some of his fellow Joes.
Dick LeBeau – G.I. Joe is America’s daring, highly trained special mission force. As a military outfit, they need strong leadership to create strong plans of attack. Who devises more ingenious strategies than Dick LeBeau?
Fast Willie Parker – He’s strong, fast, and extremely tough. Although the one downside is he’d probably keep getting caught behind the enemy line.
James Harrison – I’m not sure what physical skills he’d bring to the table besides the obvious of being a world class athlete. I’d just pick him ’cause he scares the bejeezus out of me. I don’t know for a fact but I’d wager he has “BMF” stamped somewhere on his wallet.
Casey Hampton – Somebody has to carry the heavy artillery. Although I do worry about him making it through boot camp. If he thought Mike Tomlin liked wind sprints, wait until he met his drill instructor. Hey, I’ve seen Full Metal Jacket.
However, all the Joes had really cool codenames like Tripwire, Mainframe, Chuckles, and Quick Kick. You can’t deny “Big Snack” would be a fitting addition to that list. I also considered Skippy Reed for this slot but I seriously doubt he’d be able to pass the V-D test.
Now, making a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers a member of G.I. Joe may seem like a crazy idea. And maybe it is. But I am on the right track. You see, during the 80’s, every Joe figure came with a card that gave their biographical information. One of the figures was said to hail from Pittsburgh. What was his codename?