The Super Bowl might determine the best football team in the world, but the only gridiron game Ross and Monica care about is the Geller Bowl. But what if you needed one of the Friends to suit up for your favorite team on Sunday? Which one would you most want out there? To answer that I scouted their infamous Thanksgiving Day football game, and also asked my own friends Jon Troy and Craig Mackenzie, who both played and coached football, to get their official, independent scouting breakdowns of each player. (Amazingly this is only the second dumbest thing I've put my friends through with this TV show.)
What would a Friends draft really look like? Here's who we think would be there for us when we needed to win the big game.
This was the game's official draft order, which alternated between captains Monica (who picked first) and Ross: (1) Joey (2) Chandler (3) Phoebe (4) Rachel. Below, I'm listing the Friends in the order I would pick them as GM.
With the first pick, Nerdist selects: Joey
An easy first pick, Joey is both the best athlete on the field and the best football player. He clearly knows the game well, has good hands, and is elusive in the open field when running. That helped him deke Ross for an easy opening kick return touchdown. The only way to stop him is to prevent him from getting going in the first place. When Rachel jumped on his back while Monica and Phoebe pulled her legs, Joey still scored with all three women clinging to him. He also loves the game so much, he brought his own football to watch the Thanksgiving Day games, and you always like to see that passion from your players.
His one major flaw is that he is easily distracted. He struggled with focus throughout the game because of the pretty Dutch woman who was watching, so keep him away from the cheerleaders. How you doin'?
Craig: Power back, good for plenty of yards after contact....lack of focus...good juke, makes people miss.....good reactionary skills.
Jon: Offensively, this fleet-footed RB displays great burst, fluid hips, and has the ability to make defenders miss in space. He displays natural pass catching skills out of the backfield, and can carry defenders in short yardage. Defensively he reads QBs well, breaks quickly on the ball, and has a knack for creating turnovers. However, he is plagued by lapses in concentration and misses assignments.
With the second pick, Nerdist selects: Monica
Monica's competitiveness is more valuable than any tangible skills the other remaining draftees have. She can run a huddle, call plays, and be the QB. While her arm is strong enough to throw downfield, she has a poor throwing motion. She pushes the ball more than she throws it, which causes her to be inaccurate. Monica is also a great open field tackler, but her physicality often crosses the line into illegal, even dirty territory. You'd always be worried about her taking too many ill-advised penalties. She showed poor blocking skills, but that was before the game got physical, which started with her throwing an illegal tackle. At least she she showed great form.
The goal is to win, and no one cares about that more than Monica. Just stay on her good side.
Craig: Strong presence in the huddle...some would say dirty, others would say does whatever it takes to win...creative offensive play caller
Jon: This competitive, natural leader plays with a chip on her shoulder. As a QB she shows the ability to get the ball down the field from the pocket while under pressure. As a defender she lays the lumber with great form. Her intensity can be a detriment as personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are not foreign to her game.
With the third pick, Nerdist selects: Ross
Good size, decent running skills, and aggression make Ross a formidable pass rusher who shows excellent tackling form. He also has a decent arm, throws a good spiral, and shows confidence in the huddle. Unfortunately Ross suffers from a very low football IQ. On the opening kickoff of a tag football game he somehow let Joey fake him out with a phony pitch, leaving Ross on his knees. In coverage Ross lacks awareness, another sign his instincts are terrible. His football IQ is so bad he teed up the opening kickoff on his foot for some inexplicable reason. You can easily imagine Ross falling for every trick play in the book.
But put in the right position with the right guidance, preferably getting after the QB, he can be an asset. And as his nightlong fumble recovery battle with Monica shows, Geller children are competitive and dedicated to doing whatever it takes to win.
Craig: Demonstrates poor technique...only QB pressure on the day, all others comically stayed on line of scrimmage...inability to give snap under center.
Jon: The prototypical game manager at QB, Ross dinks and dunks the ball to his play-makers, but doesn't possess the arm strength to stretch defenses down the field. However, his competitiveness and leadership skills make him adequate at the position. An above average athlete, Ross has good hands, deceptive speed, and can run effectively after the catch. Defensively, he can be exposed in space but shows intensity and relentlessness as a pass rushing specialist.
With the fourth pick, Nerdist selects: Phoebe
Brand new to the game, Phoebe naturally took to it, showing good hands as a reliable pass catcher. The problem is she has no field awareness, and doesn't know what to do after a catch. Her YAC is terrible. She also doesn't know what "blocking" means, which likely explains why she is terrible at it. Just as bad is her tackling, which involves a loose hug, then running around the player and yelling. She has a low pain tolerance, but fought through it. Phoebe also threw a nasty clothesline on Chandler, so she's not afraid of getting physical. A terrible throwing motion that is more of a weak push than a pass means she's not an option at QB.
So why is a total noob lacking many basic skills the fourth pick? Her enthusiasm and willingness to do anything to win, including flashing Chandler at a public park where kids play. If you're willing to risk being on a sex registry to win the Geller Bowl, what would you do to win the Super Bowl?
Craig: Raw, new to game, but took to it quickly...two receiving touchdowns...a "strip" tackle...willingness to persevere through pain.
Jon: New to the game, this natural athlete lacks fundamentals and overall knowledge of the game, but has upside. She displays natural pass catching skills, a smooth running style, and a vicious stiff arm. She's also very effective on reverses. This long framed athlete also exhibits passion for her teammates.
With the fifth pick, Nerdist selects: Chandler
Here are all the things Chandler does well: tackle, throw a decent spiral (though his form leaves a lot to be desired)
That's it. Everything else he does on the field is terrible. He's clumsy, like when he slipped and fumbled without being touched, or when he tripped over Ross's foot, even though Chandler was feet away and running slowly. His lack of vertical movement and straight forward running style would be fine if his center-of-gravity wasn't so bad. He also struggles badly in coverage. He mistimed a jump on a ball he should have intercepted. Instead he tried to bat it away with one hand, missed it, and gave up a TD.
And even more than Joey, Chandler is easily distracted. In addition to the pretty blonde, he let a topless Phoebe gently take the ball from his hands when he had an easy TD. The Dutch woman might have chosen Chandler over Joey, but no football GM would.
Craig: Lack of focus...poor ball skills...am I missing something that doesn't show up on film???
Jon: A jack of all trades but master of none, Chandler shows a quick release at QB but lacks the velocity to push the ball downfield. He's erratic and inconsistent as a kickoff specialist, and has a tendency to put the ball on the turf as a ball carrier. His slight frame leads to few broken tackles and he doesn't possess the quick twitch muscles to make defenders miss in space. Defensively, he shows natural instincts at safety and has the necessary hands to make INTs when they are presented to him.
With the sixth pick, Nerdist selects: Rachel
Aww, poor Rachel. She doesn't know the game and is terrified of the ball hitting her in the face–even a soft pre-game pass (that she asked for!) was too scary for her. She jumped at the football and batted it away. Turning her into a deep threat every play was a horrendous idea. They could have opened up the field by letting her run the ball out of the backfield. She did show some speed and elusiveness on her one drop back at QB, when she scrambled away from a three-man rush....by going out of bounds. She has bad instincts; just consider her one good play when she somehow caught a deep pass from Monica on the final play of the game. She spiked the ball five feet short of the end zone, costing her team a possible win.
But she does have spirit and shows some aggression (like when she bounced a ball off Ross's head), and she cares about being a part of the team. That goes a long way, even for someone who always goes long.
Craig: Picked last and for good reason...would expect a chip on shoulder but nope...suitable only as a decoy, but teams eventually on to her...blew an opportunity to redeem herself (twice).
Jon: This one trick pony can run...fast and straight. However, her poor ball skills, stone hands, and lack of polished route running make her very limited as a pass catcher. Though she does possess the ability to make big plays in crunch time.
That's the official order of which Friend we'd want to be there for us on an important Sunday. Although there is one other aspect of the Geller Bowl we would never want near our team at any time, the Geller Cup.
Uh, maybe losing the Geller Bowl is the only way to win. In that case we pick Rachel.