As most children of the nineties know, Pokemon was a big deal. It was a phenomenon that swept the world, starting in Japan and eventually ending up in North America. Like most things, it settled into the background as most grew up and moved on with their lives, but it never truly faded away.

Now, in 2016, Pokemon is back with a vengeance, making the longtime franchise a household name once again with the release of ‘Pokemon GO’, an augmented reality game for smartphones.

In the spirit of Pokemon (and one of this author’s favourite pop culture franchises behind only Star Wars and Marvel), it’s time to examine the All-Star team of Pokemon! For nostalgia’s sake, we’ll be keeping the team’s nominees to the Kanto region, i.e. the original 151 little monsters released in Red/Blue back in 1996.

(Note: we kept the list away from Pokemon that mostly fly, to keep it grounded in reality. After all, what’s more real than a list of Pokemon playing football positions?)

QB: Machamp

Not only is this guy massive, he has four arms! That sure will be useful for throwing defenders off of one’s self, if a defender manages to make it past the line of scrimmage. Plus, he’s a Fighting type – you want that kind of spirit in your signal caller, right?

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RB (2): Golem, Arcanine

We’re going with a bit of thunder and lightning here, with Golem – a literal ball of rock with arms, legs, and a head, so I imagine he’ll be hard to TM09 Take Down – as the primary ball carrier. Our change-of-pace/third down back is none other than Arcanine, that most majestic of creatures – he essentially is a huge dog, so I guess he’ll have to carry the ball in his mouth, but heaven help you if you have to catch up to him in full stride.

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FB: Blastoise

I know, the fullback is a dying position. But, like Marcel Reece for the Oakland Raiders, if you have to have one, you need the best! Blastoise certainly fits the bill as an unmovable tank (with literal cannons protruding from his shell), and will be effective in clearing some gaps for Golem and Arcanine to follow through.

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WR (3): Poliwrath, Electabuzz, Lickitung

All Pokemon with arms and legs, these guys give us some variety at WR. Poliwrath sports gigantic mitts in addition to his huge size – just don’t call him Megatron. Electabuzz is our possession receiver – get too close, and you’ll receive a nasty shock. Lickitung is our wild card, as his primary/dominating feature is his absolutely enormous tongue. There’s no rule about licking an opponent (I don’t think), so why not throw him in there? Dark horse sleeper pick, that’s for sure.

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TE: Dragonite

We said no flying Pokemon, and yes, Dragonite has wings. He has mostly been chosen as the blocker, though he can move when he needs to. After all, a Pokemon that is over 7 feet tall and weighs over 460 lbs probably has some size advantage on the field.

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OL (3): Onix, Snorlax, Kangaskhan

Really, we could have put Snorlax (6’11, 1000+ lbs) all by his lonesome and be fine at OL, but for the sake of filling out the roster, we added a few other teammates as well. Onix does not have any arms or legs, this is true, but what he lacks in appendages he makes up for in brute force. Onix is 28 feet tall – a simple nudge on the DL/DE from his nose would probably be recorded as a pancake block. Finally, Kangaskhan: one of the most ferocious Pokemon out there, she will do anything to protect her child. We figure those amazing instincts will translate well to ‘protect the quarterback’, making her one of the more effective OL out there.

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DL (2): Nidoking, Rhydon

A key factor for the defensive line is instilling fear, as much as one likes to rely on simple brute force. With that in mind, these two fit the bill exactly: Nidoking, a Poison/Ground type, is powerful and quick, with a tail said to be able of toppling towers. Rhydon, a Ground/Rock type, has a drill on its nose! What OL wants to stand in the way of that?

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DE (2): Nidoqueen, Golduck

While the interior linemen are busy with Nidoking/Rhydon, Nidoqueen and Golduck will be wreaking havoc off the edge. Nidoqueen is lightning fast, and knows enough moves to Confuse Ray even the smartest of OL, and Golduck complements her speed with some of his own. His part Psychic type will allow him to recognize the protection schemes and get to the QB with ease.

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LB (3): Primeape, Hitmonchan, Mr. Mime

We opted for speed/hitting with these three: Primeape is jacked up all the time, getting angry with even the slightest of eye contact. Hitmonchan is a little more measured, but considering his entire purpose is centered around hitting others, we thought he would fit right in here. Mr. Mime is another wild card in the vein of Lickitung – who wouldn’t be absolutely terrified to see that guy coming at you over the middle, or off the edge?

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CB (2): Kabutops, Scyther

Let’s face it: no WR wants to be guarded by a creature that has literal scythes for hands. Ball in the air, coming towards you? It’ll get sliced to pieces – or at least poked out of bounds – as those blades whirl through the air. Both Kabutops and Scyther have that swagger going, as well as some…natural advantages.

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S (2): Dugtrio, Gengar

We again went with some unconventional picks at safety: Dugtrio travels underground, so when a WR thinks he’s safe, his ankles get taken out by the emergence of the blistering speed of the Ground Pokemon. Gengar brings that intimidation factor – he can lull opponents to sleep with Hypnosis, physical attacks don’t affect him, and he has that unnerving Cheshire Cat-grin.

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K/P: Hitmonlee

This was an easy choice. Who else but the one Pokemon whose entire concept is based around kicking things with a degree of accuracy?

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