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SYFY WIRE Steve Rogers

Sunday Night Football: Tom Brady would be proud of these 9 older heroes who can still bring it

They’re here, they’re there, they’re every-bloody-where.

Old man characters

We have a very important question for you, and we ask that you pay close attention because your life may very well depend on it. The question is this: are you, in fact, ready for football season? 

Sunday Night Football is returning to NBC, and the first game of the season will feature the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Dallas Cowboys, with the game airing on NBC and streaming on Peacock in primetime. At 45 years old, Tom Brady is one season removed from his latest Super Bowl win and looking to get another one. Put simply dude still has what some may refer to as “swag.” He can still move that ball up and down the field like nobody’s business, and any fantasy football team worth its salt would benefit from having his numbers on its roster. 

So with Brady bringing the magic back to Sunday Night Football, we couldn’t help but turn the spotlight on some older heroes and genre favorites who Old Man Brady might be proud of. Not all of the characters that we’ll be looking at are full-on superheroes necessarily, but they’re all older men who can still bring the thunder. 

Steve Rogers

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The star-spangled man with a plan has passed on the title of “Captain America” to Sam Wilson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he can still “do this all day.” The very definition of a man who never stopped never stopping, Rogers didn’t let a decades-long sleep in the ice keep him from being of service. 

A super soldier who lived up to the name and more, Rogers always did what was right. Even when all seemed lost, he strapped on his shield, stood up straight, and faced it. He didn't always win, but he never backed down. 

Brady would look up to this legend, who in the current MCU, has now lived an entirely different life and looks like President Joe Biden. 


Logan (2017)

Logan’s adamantium claws would be a huge asset on the football field, but they are (probably) against the rules. Nonetheless, Logan is another character from Marvel who never stops. 

Because of his mutant abilities, his body heals itself. He’s also much older than he looks. Like Steve Rogers, he never backs down from a fight. He never backs down from a scrap, a tiffle, or a small argument either. If you put someone close to him in danger, be ready for his claws to come out. 

He may have died at the end of Logan, but he went out like an unbridled force of nature.  

Jay Garrick

John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick/The Flash in Stargirl Season 2 Episode 9

An older Flash doesn’t mean that he’s slower. On the contrary, the Jay Garrick of the Arrowverse couples his super-speed with something that Barry Allen doesn’t always have: wisdom. 

Barry might have that youthful energy, but Garrick has experience. He’s not prone to running in without thinking things through. He plans, and Barry learns from his example. 

He’s still in the game of super-heroics despite his age. When you have gifts, you don’t ever let them go to waste. Run Jay, Run. 

Nick Fury

Nick Fury

He doesn’t have superpowers, but Fury, Nicholas J. has been at this a long time. The most super spy that has ever spied, Fury (mostly) knows all of your secrets, your brother’s secrets, and your great great grandmother’s secrets. 

He doesn’t trust easily, because the last time he trusted someone he lost an eye. Does that hinder him when he has to enter the fray himself? Ha, no it does not. When he has to personally fire off a pistol or a bazooka, he has no problems doing so. He escaped the Winter Soldier, he’s faked his own death, and he’s earned the respect of both the mighty Carol Danvers and the Skrull. He is not to be underestimated. 

He’ll know how to take another team apart before they leave their locker room. 

Gandalf the Grey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Again, not a superhero… but he can trounce everyone else on this list. Gandalf isn’t even a man; he is an immortal Maiar spirit placed in the body of a man. He’s a demigod that comes back from the dead in The Lord of the Rings saga, so try to beat that. 

He was put in the body of an old man so he would remain humble, and Gandalf is one of the only wizards who actually followed through on this. He grows weary at times, but he can still keep up with everyone else. His “younger” companions have more youthful bodies, but none of them are also contending with powerful sorcery. Gandalf is constantly countering dark magic while running along with the company. 

He can run, he can ride, he’s deadly with a sword and a staff, and has walked Middle-Earth in this form for an age. Before that, he existed for years untold as a spirit in the Undying Lands. If you’re looking for someone with experience, intelligence, and more than a few fool’s hopes, then there’s no finer example. He wouldn't care if Brady was proud or not. 

Professor X

Professor X in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Charles Xavier may be old in years, but he is one of the most powerful mutants there is. Patrick Stewart portrays his powers as being almost effortless in the X-Men movies, proving just how strong he truly is. 

We’ve seen him freeze select rooms of people in time without even batting an eye. Everything just stops, and the Professor rolls in, speaking in a calm voice. He doesn’t always make the most moral choices, but he does what he believes to be right. Someone has to make the tough decisions, and Professor X steps up. He makes mistakes, but at least he’s taking action. 

Would he be of use in a football game? Yes. He can freeze the other team, and the game would pretty much be over. That is likely against the rules, but he could go on to invade the minds of the refs and make them think otherwise. Professor X would never do that, but he could.  Tom Brady might respect that restraint. 

Ethan Hunt

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning (2023)

The Talented Mr. Hunt might as well be a superhero now, because he’s still jumping off of buildings and strapping himself onto planes when younger men are perfectly content to do neither of those things. 

Tom Cruise has yet to meet an insane stunt that he’ll have Ethan Hunt turn down, and the Mission: Impossible movies keep getting more insane as a result. With a supernatural need to prove himself and a manic drive that belies his age, Cruise/Hunt is going harder than ever in these movies. 

Will he ever stop? We don’t think so. Tom Cruise will have Ethan Hunt straddle a rocket and ride around the sun before he ever thinks of retiring the character. Brady would probably like Ethan Hunt. We'd bet that he loves Tom Cruise. 


Yondu from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)

He may be as pretty as an angel, but he sure as hell isn’t one. This aged space pirate has years of experience and he can still kick everyone’s butt. Age doesn’t matter; with his whistling arrow at his side, he’s shown that very few can oppose him. 

He can still fly, fight, and crow. The arrow gives him an advantage, but even without it he’s proven that he can do what is necessary. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, he makes a full sacrifice play to save Peter Quill. He may not have been Quill’s father, but he was his Daddy. While he’s morally dubious at times, he goes out saving the person that he raised as a son. 

If that’s not inspiring, than what is? Also, his special arrow could also take out any opposing football team with one whistle. Once again this would be against the rules, but Professor X can make that problem go away. 

Laszlo Cravensworth

Laszlo Cravensworth in What We Do in the Shadows Season 4

One of the vampire stars of What We Do in the Shadows, Laszlo is definitely not a superhero. He’s around 310 years old though, and he can fight and f*** like a burly man of 25. 

He has speed, he has strength, and he can turn into a bat. He's not a total stranger to football thanks to his friendship with his neighbor, Sean. Best of all? Matt Berry plays him, and he has established a very particular and delightful way of saying certain words. 

Nobody pronounces “New York City” like this 310 year old vampire. If Tom Brady doesn’t admire Laszlo’s utterance of “Nuyeww Yorrke Cittaaayyy” then the very concept of admiration is as dead as many of Laszlo’s human victims. 

Captain Sisko


Benjamin Lafayette Sisko, the Emissary of the Prophets, and one of the greatest Captains in all of Star Trek… if not the greatest of them all. The Deep Space Nine legend is an older figure that Tom Brady should definitely admire. 

We’re well past superheroes now, because Sisko is so much more than that. Certain aspects of him are more in line with Gandalf than anyone else on this list. He has experience, he has a brilliant tactical mind, and he can beat the stuffing out of anyone who dares to step onto his bridge without permission. 

He’ll make a morally questionable choice to achieve his mission, too. He does what he has to do to win, and who cares if his own conscience suffers? The needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few for Captain Sisko, and without him everyone in the 24th Century would be members of the Dominion. 

The Sisko is of Bajor, and he could trounce Tom Brady. Baseball is his passion, but he'd learn football fast. This isn’t a question of Tom Brady being proud of Sisko… the real question is whether Sisko would be proud of Brady. 

Only the Prophets have that answer. 

Sunday Night Football airs (you guessed it!) every Sunday night on NBC and streaming on Peacock. Click here for the full lineup of games this season.