Marvel honors real-life Captain America, Chuck Howley, as he enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023.

In a nostalgic throwback to 1970, Marvel and the NFL joined forces to celebrate the iconic football field athletes and the Marvel Universe’s heroes. As the Pro Football Hall of Fame paid tribute to the legendary linebacker, Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys, Marvel did the same with a blast from the past.

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Marvel legend, Stan Lee, collaborated with the NFL in the 70s to create a magazine spread that captured the essence of its football players by comparing them to Marvel characters based on their on-field heroics. Among the athletes, the one who embodied the spirit of Captain America was none other than Howley. Lee praised his resilience and his unbreakable spirit after he overcame a career-threatening knee injury.

Howley’s journey began in 1958 when he was selected seventh overall in the NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, his knee injury forced him to retire in 1959. However, a spark reignited in him in 1961, he made an extraordinary comeback and joined the newly formed Dallas Cowboys, eager to make history with the budding franchise.

The Cowboys, who had endured a losing inaugural season, found inspiration in Howley’s determination. He demonstrated unmatched skill on the field. His record-breaking six interceptions in the 1968 season earned him a prominent spot in NFL history. Howley’s impact wasn’t limited to his remarkable interceptions; he was a force to be reckoned with in every aspect of the game.

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Over the course of 165 games and thirteen seasons with the Cowboys, he played in two NFL championships and two Super Bowls. In Super Bowl V, despite the Cowboys’ loss, Howley’s outstanding performance earned him the title of Super Bowl MVP, a first for a defensive player or non-quarterback. Throughout his illustrious career, Howley intercepted 25 passes, recovered 18 fumbles, and made numerous tackles and sacks, establishing himself as one of the greatest defensive players in Cowboys’ history.

Stan Lee paired various NFL players with their Marvel counterparts based on their on-field traits. Among the notable pairings was Chuck Howley with Captain America for his indomitable spirit. Dave Robinson found his Marvel match in the Black Panther. Bobby Bell was compared to Doctor Doom. Ray Nitschke’s ferocity and determination earned him the title of Silver Surfer. Tommy Nobis was likened to The Thing. Lonnie Warwick’s prowess drew comparisons toThor, the god of thunder. George Webster’s versatility aligned him with Iron Man. Dick Butkus embodied the Hulk. Finally, Mike Curtis’ agility earned him the moniker of Spider-Man.

The 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement will be held at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH, on August 5 at Noon EST. Fans can watch it on ESPN or the NFL Network.

Source: Marvel

 Marvel and the NFL honor Chuck Howley, the real life Captain America of the football field, as he enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Read More