Just about a month ago, we wrote about how some of the plays in the playbook of the under-15 football team we coach were disguised with names of Houston rappers and/or songs. Shortly after it posted, mail that was electronic started showing up suggesting that there be more football-related posts. One reader was even bold enough to suggest his own idea: Create a football team using only Houston rappers as players.
Fair enough. So after two weeks of whittling away names using a sophisticated scientific processes, this week and next, we are revealing the Houston Rapper Football Team roster. Two things to consider:
1. There are 23 positions to fill: 11 defensive spots, 11 offensive spots, one kicker. That might seem like a lot, but the preliminary list of local rappers that we started with was over 70 people long. About 50 guys got cut from an pretend team that they weren't even trying out for.
2. Most of the guys, regardless of how vicious they appear in songs, are kind enough people. We're picking rap personas more than rap people, we suppose. Oh, also, size is important.
Defense is always the best side of any game, so we'll start there.
This team (name undecided) will be playing a modified 4-4 scheme. Our template consists of four linemen, four linebackers, two safeties and a corner. The free safety will alternate between that position and alternate cornerback, depending on what offensive package other imaginary rapper-based football teams from other cities are running. (This shit is already ridiculous.) We're going to blitz a lot regardless.
Here we go.
Free Safety/Cornerback: This guy needs to be fast enough to cover receivers, strong enough to tackle running backs, and smart enough to know when he should do one and not the other. He will run more than just about every position on the field, so he needs to have endurance. Ideally, a quarterback would look in this player's direction and think, "Nah, nah. I'll throw the ball at my own testicles before I throw it his direction."
Why: He's a short guy, but he's quick and he's strong and kind of crazy. Also, we played basketball with him once. He remains the only guy we've ever seen commit a flagrant foul during a timeout. He is not afraid of contact.
Strong Safety: Basically the same duties as the FS, except he has more responsibility in stopping the run. He is the swinging sledgehammer of the defense. Being tackled by him should feel like being attacked by a shark. Ideally, a receiver would look in this player's direction and think, "Fuck. That."
Why: Rod-C is an unknown right now. He is a member of the SGA, an offshoot of Trae's ABN gang. You've likely seen him lurking around at any number of events. He looks strong and fast, and like he might slit your throat just because he's bored. You want me to run a route towards the guy with the knife hidden underneath his hip pads? Fuck. That. Perfect strong safety.
Defensive Tackles: Their jobs are to stop the run, get pressure up the field on pass plays, occupy blockers so the linebackers can roam free behind them, and just generally hit everyone who comes near them in the mouth. They should be big and mean and aggressive. Whenever they show barroom brawls in the movies, these are the ones who are throwing guys through windows.
Starters: KAB (above) and the Big Face Fiend*
Why: You want big, mean, intimidating guys plugging up all of those gaps. You're not going to get much bigger, meaner, and more intimidating than these two. Plus, KAB has a readymade nickname (The Monster). That has to count for something.
*Big Face Fiend's proper rap name is Yung Truth. We're changing it to Big Face Fiend though. It's just better.
Defensive Ends: They line up at the ends of the defensive line (duh), and need to be strong like the defensive tackle, but quicker too. They contain the running back on run plays and try to rip the quarterback's legs and arms off during pass plays. It's best if they have some sort of developmental disability that makes their brain unable to process empathetic feelings.
Team's Starters: Slim Thug and Ganksta NIP
Why: We want one really big guy to play one side (Slim) and one really strong guy to play the other (NIP). Don't discount NIP based on his age; there is a video on YouTube right now that was filmed a few weeks ago of him beating up a bootlegger. He would be like this team's Mario Williams, except Mario Williams never released an album called Interview With a Killa. And Slim's 6'6" frame is going to blot out a bunch of those shitty screen plays that teams run against aggressive defenses.
Middle Linebackers: These guys are monsters. The way it should work: The defensive line occupies their counterparts, the secondary has the receiving core sewn up, and the LBs eat up everyFUCKINGthing else. The average NFL linebacker is 220 pounds and six-foot-plus. They are nasty and brutal and should be feared, feared, feared.
Starters: J-Dawg and Mug
Why: Seriously? Because they both always look like they're about to choke the shit out of someone. Plus, you could set it up to where every time one of them murders a running back the stadium PA guy plays "First 48." The only thing better than injury is adding insult to it.
Bonus: J-Dawg and Mug run together in real life, so they'd have an immediate chemistry. And a go-to place to hide the bodies.
Outside Linebackers: Similar to the middle linebackers, the outsider linebackers are primarily concerned with stopping the run, though they must be able to shift out and cover receivers/tight ends when necessary. They need to be equally as tenacious as their MLB counterparts, but a hair less sociopathic; they needn't have ever murdered anyone, but, y'know, an assault here or there is nice.
Starters: John Dew and B L A C K I E
Why: John Dew is a surprise pick here. But he has a solid frame and (we suspect) nimble feet. Also, he teaches at an inner-city school, so he's likely, at the very least, had to stab a kid or two. And B L A C K I E is a goddamn walking thunderstorm. Nobody is breaking out of his side alive. No. Bah. Dee.
Cornerback: Should be a Tazmanian devil. He needs to be fearless to succeed here. He must be EAGER, to take on the other team's most threatening player, regardless of size and strength differences. And since we're running that modified 4-4 defense, and we're blitzing a lot, he must be able to survive all alone for periods at a time.
Starter: Killa Cal-Wayne
Why: Because the guy appears to actively be chasing down insanity. He's little, but so is a piranha, and fuck if you're getting in the water if you know one is in there. He believes in himself endlessly, which is an absolutely vital character trait someone who plays here must possess.
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That's a nasty group of sirs right there. No way anyone is scoring on them. Shit, most times the other team might not even make it to halftime alive.
Be here Friday for the offensive starters.