When I was told, in celebration of the remake of RoboCop that is coming out, that I was to choose a single San Diego Chargers player (past or present) to turn into a robot, my first thought was that the choice would be easy.
I can take any one player and make it so that they never get injured, and never age? Obviously the answer is LaDainian Tomlinson, right? Well, yeah, except that Tomlinson wouldn't be very good without a decent offensive line or decent QB. After all, he was on Chargers teams that went 5-11, 8-8, and 4-12 before Drew Brees figured things out.
Well, then, the answer has to be Junior Seau. Who wouldn't want a robotic Junior Seau roaming the defense? An added benefit is that we could protect San Diego's favorite son from the concussions that would eventually be his downfall as a player and a person. Except, I think I'm supposed to be picking a robotic player that produces the best on-field results for the team, and Junior can't win games by himself. I need someone that almost, sortof, can do that.
Kris Dielman? Maybe, although who knows how good he'd actually be a hundred or so years from now, when Nick Hardwick and Marcus McNeill are dead and buried and Kris has to deal with trying to make a new group of mortal friends that he knows he'll out-live.
Antonio Gates? He's is the one guy that I can think of that was completely and totally un-coverable in his prime, and now his prime would last forever! Unless.....
Darren Sproles? Danny Woodhead? Those guys have never really been on bad teams when they were involved in the offense, and they're both awfully susceptible to injuries. The problem is that neither can carry the whole RB load by himself, and who knows how much robots will demand in contract negotiations? Not to mention, the biggest allure of signing a robot to a 100-year contract is that you never have to worry about that position ever again.
Alright, I know who it should be. Actually, no, I've narrowed it down to two choices. Let's examine them.
Of course! A 3-4 Nose Tackle! The most important part of the 3-4 defense. A great NT can make the rest of the front seven look great, which makes the job of the secondary that much easier. (Editor's Note: If you're ever wondering why we liked Ted Cottrell for a while, this is the reason.)
Jamal had a rough go of it, injury-wise, after the Denver Broncos started diving at his knees on a regular basis. In fact, I'm pretty sure he signed with the Broncos after his time with the Chargers was done specifically to be off the team's list of potential targets. Robot Jamal Williams would be much better at taking those hits to the knees, though.
The only thing that gives me hesitance is that Jamal sort of locks the team into the 3-4 defense forever. What if they eventually wanted to hire Lovie Smith Jr. Jr. and he wanted to install his 4-3 defense? Sure, Jamal could fit into it, but he would no longer be a perfect fit. Also, what happens when teams abandon the run completely and football becomes entirely about speed and athleticism? I don't know that Jamal can hang in the NFL several hundred years from now.
You know what? I'm leaning towards my other choice....
Just from a pure entertainment standpoint, have the Chargers ever had a more fun player to watch (on and off the field)?
Looking at the stats, Rivers is the greatest QB in Chargers history and it's not particularly close. He's likely going to retire with every single team passing record, so why not just make him a robot and let him continue piling on top?
The QB is the leader of any team and the most important player on most teams. We've seen cases where teams don't have much talent besides the QB and still find ways to be good (the 2013 Packers and Patriots come to mind). As long as Norv Turner isn't coaching the offense, it would appear that a robot Philip Rivers would be offer the largest benefit, in terms of wins, over any other robot Chargers player.
A fun little added benefit to a robot Philip Rivers would be gauging the fear in the hearts of referees, fans, and opposing players as he yells his "gee golly" brand of trash talk at them.