The Republican presidential candidates are set for the second mega-debate of the election cycle. With the addition of Carly Fiorina, 11 White House hopefuls will take the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
With this debate coming just after the NFL's opening week, we combine election hype with football fever. Here are the GOP candidates matched with their NFL equivalent.
GOP Candidates And NFL Team Equivalents
They won't all be this easy.
Trump is the edgier football version of Jerry Jones. He's not a politician, but here he is running a political campaign. Jones appointed himself general manager despite no front office background. Trump spends as much money as he can without breaking any political rules; Jones spends excess salary cap money on his stadium. Trump is recognized on brand and money, not winning (a la the Cowboys).
Jeb's older brother won two elections.
New York Jets
Whether George W. Bush did a good job in office does not matter in the Bush household. Likewise, it does not matter that the Giants have only made one playoff appearance in a non-Super Bowl year since 2007. For the Jets to gain respectability in the NFL's headquartered city, the franchise, which had made AFC championship game appearances in 2009 and 2010, needs to finally win something. So does Jeb.
We've been hearing Rubio's name since he entered the U.S. Senate in 2011.
He opened with a positive start and has proved he can hang with the big guns. Now, Rubio is primed to take the next step and make a legitimate run at the GOP nomination in 2016. Up in Indy, there are no more excuses for Andrew Luck. He made his first AFC championship game last season and got deflated. Many experts will pick both to win their respective contests.
Is there a more annoying team in football than ...
... the Bengals? They do enough to get into the playoffs -- leaving a bigger name brand out of the postseason -- and then get bounced right away. Marvin Lewis is 0-6 in the playoffs in 12 seasons as head coach of Kentucky's NFL team. Rand Paul spoke for 10 1/2 hours on May 20 to filibuster the reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. If Paul wins a state in the primaries, at least that will surpass Lewis' playoff wins total.
Kasich isn't flashy, but in the first GOP debate, he showed the nation he is competent and willing to be respectful on issues such as gay marriage.
He's been around a long time -- winning nine terms in the House of Representatives and two as governor of Ohio. The Pittsburgh native had the Steel Curtain up attacks from his fellow Republicans.
A few years back, when ...
... Matt Schaub and Arian Foster were at the top of their game, the football world thought the Texans had a chance to reach the top. Gary Kubiak coached the team to two division titles and wild-card playoff wins in 2011 and 2012. The Texans were bumped in the divisional round both years. For Huckabee, his chance was in 2008 when he won the caucuses on Iowa and Kansas. In 2015, neither the Texans nor Huckabee are a title threat.
It is a breath fresh air to see non-politicians like Trump and Carson, a neurosurgeon, on the stage.
But he is also a neurosurgeon running for president. For years, Al Davis dominated in Los Angeles and Oakland, but in the past decade, the Raiders have become an embarrassment, with no winning seasons since 2002. Carson closed the first debate speech was about separating Siamese Twins. Does either really know what they are doing?
This may be painful for the Cowboys fan and governor from Giants country.
But let's be straight: Christie is a big, flamboyant name who is always discussed as a Republican threat, but he has not taken the next step. Two years ago, Chip Kelly's offensive looked unstoppable, then after one rough season, he blew it all up. Christie was ready to make a run in 2016, but he closed the bridge on that.
The NFL team closest to ...
... Canada? The Bills. Cruz, who was born in Calgary, is way too conservative to legitimately compete for the White House. Rex Ryan is already saying he is going to compete with the defending champion Patriots, which sounds ludicrous. But both should have their confidence applauded.
Despite being overshadowed by the Seahawks and ...
... 49ers in the NFC West, Arizona made strides, winning 21 games the past two seasons and making the playoffs in 2014. Walker quietly built his political base as Wisconsin governor for the last four and a half years. Now, he has the talent to win the nomination. No NFL team or Republican candidate (except maybe Trump) is looking forward to facing the Cardinals or Walker during the next year.
Fiorina is the only candidate to move up from the little debate to the big debate
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fiorina has never won political office, but served as Hewlett-Packard CEO from 1999-2005. She worked as an advisor to John McCain's 2008 campaign, but he lost. She ran for U.S. Senate in California in 2010, but she lost. Jameis Winston won in college, Fiorina won in business. Now, it is time for Fiorina and Winston to face the pros.
Democrats coming soon.