Turn Back the Clock: When Marvel and the NFL had an Epic Crossover
In 1970 Stan Lee and the Marvel bullpen teamed up with the NFL, featuring players such as Dallas Cowboys own and NFL Hall of Famer Chuck Howley
This year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be honoring linebacker Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys as he is enshrined into the hall of fame. To celebrate this occasion, we went back into the archives thanks to our friends at the Pro Football Hall of Fame to revisit an astounding moment in Marvel and Pro Football history when the titans of the field crossed paths with earth's mightiest of the Marvel Universe!
In 1970, the legendary Stan Lee worked with the NFL to edit a magazine spread that ran in NFL game programs across the country. By working with the talented Marvel bullpen of artists, Stan analyzed the stars of the NFL at the time and compared them to Marvel heroes (and one villain) based on their super heroic traits shown in accomplishments on the field.
Leading the charge was none other than Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys, who Stan Lee felt embodied the spirit of the iconic Captain America! Stan the Man had this to say about Howley and his comparison to Steve Rogers, "Howley and Cap are proof positive that man improves with age. They're the marvels of 1970, both living it up after more than a decade of cataclysmic combat." Praising Howley for overcoming a knee injury, Stan said further that "Howley came back from a knee injury to cop red, white and blue honors as a leader of the Cowboys' famed 'Doomsday Defense.'"
As we celebrate Chuck Howley, the NFL's Captain America of 1970, it's a great moment to spotlight his accomplishments. He played for the Chicago Bears from 1958 to 1959 and then the Dallas Cowboys for a stunning run from 1961 to 1973, as such he'll be entering the Hall of Fame as a Cowboy. He reached the pinnacle of success in 1972 as Howley and his Cowboys teammates won Super Bowl VI in 1972. He also won the Super Bowl MVP Award in 1971 in Super Bowl V, when the Cowboys lost to the Colts. He is the only player to win Super Bowl MVP on a losing team.
In addition to Howley, Lee spotlighted NFL players pairing them with Marvel characters. You can see the full spread and read Stan's commentary below but here's the full list of players and their Marvel cohorts:
- Chuck Howley - Captain America
- Dave Robinson - Black Panther
- Bobby Bell - Doctor Doom
- Ray Nitschke - Silver Surfer
- Tommy Nobis - The Thing
- Lonnie Warwick - Thor
- George Webster - Iron Man
- Dick Butkus - The Hulk
- Mike Curtis - Spider-Man
You can relive the full Marvel and NFL Experience from 1970 via the magazine spread below, provided by the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Enshrinement will take place at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH at Noon ET on Saturday, August 5. Fans can watch on ESPN or the NFL Network.
The Hype Box
Can’t-miss news and updates from across the Marvel Universe!