NFL Super Bowl Hopefuls As Christmas Movies, Or Why Mike McDaniel Is Perfect ‘Elf’

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There’s nothing that pairs better with eggnog and adult beverage of choice quite like a great Christmas movie. The holiday season also happens to correspond with the stretch run of the NFL regular season. So why not combine a few of my favorite things with a list of Super Bowl hopefuls and their corresponding Christmas movies?

If you read my piece on college football and Yellowstone, you know the drill.  

Buffalo Bills = National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 

This Bills team is lovable even if the players and their fanbase are a little rough around the edges. They are the Griswolds of the NFL. 

The NFL and Christmas movies are a good combo. (Getty Images)

Josh Allen seems like a guy that will one day put “25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights” on his family home. And the arrival of Cole Beasley this week is just too perfect. It’s as if Cousin Eddie arrived in Orchard Park to alert Sean McDermott that the “sh*tter’s full.” This is also a fanbase that hurls their bodies through tables at tailgates for fun. I’m sure they would all be right at home throwing some cooking oil on a sled and converting it into a missile that rockets down a hill. Plus, Stefan Diggs strikes me as a “Russ.” A happy guy who’s still in awe to be where he is in life.  

Kansas City Chiefs = A Christmas Story 

Patrick Mahomes seems like a kind, warm, cuddly type. He also seems like a guy who could punch you in the face repeatedly while shouting every expletive imaginable if you hit him in the face with a snowball. He is Ralphie.  

And if any NFL head coach were ever to obsess over a lamp that doubles as a high heeled woman’s mannequin leg, it’s Andy Reid. (Only because Rex Ryan is no longer coaching.) I’m also willing to bet that Travis Kelce owned an entire arsenal of Red Rider BB guns as a child. The Chiefs may not be America’s underdog but I still get a happy “Chinese restaurant on Christmas night” feeling every time I see Patrick Mahomes drop a no-look pass in a teammate’s lap.  

Cincinnati Bengals = Home Alone 

This one is easy. Not only does Joe Burrow somehow pull off looking exactly like both child AND adult Macaulay Culkin, but also he plays the game like a kid whose parents are out of the house. Plus, when Burrow is cooking, he makes NFL defenders routinely look like Harry and Marv. Zac Taylor is a perfect stand-in for Peter McCallister (RIP John Heard). Hayden Hurst strikes me as a Buzz. Jamar Chase seems like the neighbor kid who could successfully chat a family up to the point they leave their youngest child behind before boarding a flight to Paris. I guess that makes Trey Hendrickson the “Old Man Marley” of the group. Not because he is old (he is 28) but because the thought of Hendrickson holding a shovel and staring at someone is nightmare fuel.  

Miami Dolphins = Elf 

You could have told me that Mike McDaniel was plucked straight from the North Pole where his only prior experience was building toys for Santa and I would have believed you. The Dolphins head coach is the ultimate outsider but yet it works. When Buddy the Elf made his journey past the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and through the Lincoln Tunnel, he ultimately made life better for those he encountered in Manhattan. McDaniel is a breath of fresh air in a league that’s becoming a little too stuffy. I bet he also loves syrup.  

Baltimore Ravens = It’s A Wonderful Life 

The Ravens are named for a literary work so while I wanted to include “Bad Mom’s Christmas” in this column, I had to class it up a bit. John Harbaugh is George Bailey. A good man who’s brought a lot of winning to Baltimore by helping others. Since entering the NFL in 2018, Lamar Jackson has been Harbaugh’s guardian angel, winning MVP in 2019 and leading the Ravens to the playoffs each of his first 3 seasons. Unfortunately for Baltimore, every time a bell rings, the Ravens lose a game late. This looks like a team that may require a few more angels if they plan on winning this postseason.  

Philadelphia Eagles = Love Actually 

The Eagles are currently the best team in football. They feature an ensemble that rivals quite possibly the greatest ensemble of actors from the UK we’ve ever seen in a Rom-Com Christmas flick. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, and Keira Knightley are the Nick Siriani, Jalen Hurts, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and entire Eagles O-Line of 2003 London. This team is stacked. That film is stacked. And it doesn’t take someone standing outside of your house with oversized note cards to spell it out for you. And while most of the storylines in “Love Actually” work out for the best in the end, the Eagles are hopeful the only storyline that matters to them works out in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12.  

Dallas Cowboys = Scrooged 

Jerry Jones had to feel like he was being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past when a controversy arose because a photo emerged of him standing and watching as the “Little Rock 6” desegregated an Arkansas High School in 1957. While I don’t believe Jerry Jones to be a racist and think people are allowed to change over the course of 65 years, the whole story is Dickensian.

And the Cowboys problems since last winning a Super Bowl in 1995 are becoming legendary. Bill Murray took a 4-year absence from acting before returning to play Frank Cross in the modern-day retelling of the famed 1843 novella “A Christmas Carol.” He then went on a heater with movies like “Ghostbusters 2”, “What About Bob?”, and “Groundhog Day.” It’s been 27 years between titles for the Boys but maybe this year can start a Murray-esque like run. Or maybe it will be another Cowboys’ postseason Groundhog Day. 

San Francisco 49ers = Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 

The Niners feel like they’ve carved out their own little Island of Misfit Toys. There’s seemingly nothing you can throw at Kyle Shanahan that will knock the Niners out of contention. Third overall pick at QB is injured and out for the year? No problem. They will just roll with the previously successful starter they excommunicated all offseason while attempting to trade him away. Oh, now that QB is hurt? Nothing to see here. Let’s just turn our seventh-round pick and Mr. Irrelevant into a star. The Niners are as persistent as Rudolph and that annoying little elf that follows him around.  

Minnesota Vikings = Daddy’s Home 2 

When I first saw Kirk Cousins iced out and dancing on a flight back from a game in London, I thought it looked like a Will Ferrell bit. Which reminded me of one of the most underrated holiday movies of all-time: Daddy’s Home 2. This comparison works on a couple of levels. A) Kirk is an actual “Daddy” of two sons, and B) he seems like the NFL QB equivalent of Ferrell’s nerdy character in the “Daddy’s Home” franchise. I guess that would make Justin Jefferson Mark Wahlberg’s badass character.   

Detroit Lions = Die Hard 

Die Hard IS a Christmas movie and the Lions are NOT dead. Much to the chagrin of OutKick’s very own Armando Salguero, the Lions have gone from 1-6 to 6-7 and remain alive in the NFC playoff race. And there’s no amount of machine gun-caused broken glass that can stand between this barefoot Lions squad and their march to the postseason! They may even bite a few kneecaps and yell “Yippee Ki-Yay, motherf—er” along the way.  

Chad Withrow hosts “OutKick 360” alongside Jonathan Hutton weekdays 3-6pm ET on the OutKick Network.  

Written by Chad Withrow

Chad Withrow hosts OutKick 360 and has covered Nashville sports, statewide, and SEC college issues and headlines since 2004.

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