A few days ago I ran across one of the most interesting football illustrations I’ve seen: a massive mashup of imagery that seeks to cover as many of the most iconic moments in the history of American football as possible. And there are a lot of them. Even better: quite a few of them feature scenes from the history of our beloved Denver Broncos!
In the hope of sharing this with our MHR readers, I reached out to the creator: Alex Bennett, of Roundhead Illustration. Bennett, an artist from the United Kingdom, specializes in this kind of mashup image. Most of his posters focus on standard football (soccer to us), though has also created a rugby mashup as well as a few others. He not only agreed to let us feature his art in a post, but also provided closeups of the Broncos moments scattered around the scene. And if that weren’t enough, he threw in a great little bonus: the MHR logo, included on the production print of the poster!
When I asked Alex about the image, he offered some insight on his process:
“Gridiron Mishmash - The History of American Football took me just over five months to complete. I’d approximate it to be well over 1200 hours work.
Each character was hand drawn using pencil & pen (I’m a bit old fashioned) and then coloured & reworked on computer.
I then spend alot of time moving the characters about so that it all fits together as well as possible. It effectively becomes a bit like a giant jigsaw!”
The result is lovely chaos, and it’s well worth spending a while staring to absorb all the details. Maybe come back to it a couple of more times, because you’ll keep finding stuff you missed. The best way to do that for the moment is to check out the image where it’s hosted on his website: Here. But if you’re interested, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with your own copy of the poster after it releases later this month. (It’s a bit under $40 after shipping costs & conversion to British Pounds.) You can order it Here.
If you have questions about the poster, or otherwise want to contact Mr. Bennett, you can email him at email@example.com or catch him on Twitter @footymishmash.
Now, let’s take a closer look at all of those awesome...
We’ll kick things off with a two-for-one deal featuring arguably the most iconic play in Broncos history: the Helicopter. John Elway, circa Super Bowl XXXII, slams into Green Bay Packers defenders with his game face and the football both well secured. It’s redemption, overshadowing Elway flat on his back in the previous Broncos uniform as several New York Giants players stand over him in celebration during Super Bowl XXI.
Terrell Davis & the Mile High Salute
There can be no better encore for the Helicopter than the engine of the Broncos’ success in back to back Super Bowls: Terrell Davis and his signature celebration, the Mile High Salute.
Davis gets prime real estate in the poster, between the goalposts. He’s right next to Prince and in close proximity to luminaries like Vince Lombardi being hoisted into the air by the Packers and some grumpy old coach who wears lots of hoodies. Here’s a more zoomed-out view of Davis:
Skin on (Pig)Skin
One of the most noticeable Broncos moments, kicker Rich Karlis hovers mid-jump near the top center of the poster. Karlis was one of a number of NFL kickers who chose to kick barefoot, believing that doing so gave them better control and accuracy. They might even have been right, before the arrival of the more advanced footwear kickers sport today.
It’s not all about the players and coaches in this poster. Super fans have their place as well, and that means the poster couldn’t be complete without the most iconic of Broncos fans: Barrel Man.
Here he is, immortalized in all of his glory. I mean, it’s no 8 foot tall bronze statue, but you can’t have everything you wa... well, he’s got one of those too. Cheers, Barrel Man!
Take a Knee & Take the Field
Another two-for-one here. On the left, the icon of Tebowmania: the man himself kneeling in his signature pose of prayer. On the right, Kevin Vickerson circa 2011 as he ran onto the field wielding an American flag prior to the Broncos’ home game against the Oakland Raiders. This is probably one of the more curious inclusions, in my opinion. I would of gone with Elway the GM holding the Lombardi trophy aloft with his declaration that “This one’s for Pat!” But that’s just me.
And, yes, that’s Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem at the bottom right corner. And Andrew Villanueva standing for it alone just behind him.
You Better Talib It
Among the more recent scenes included is the infamous brawl between the Broncos’ Aqib Talib and the Raiders’ Michael Crabtree. Yes, it’s the second chain-snatching. And just to the right of those two combatants is a Broncos fan in a Peyton Manning jersey, holding a sign mocking Tom Brady for his air pressure woes.
And Many More
There are a couple more Broncos moments I know of that just didn’t reasonably fit in an already large post. If finding the MHR logo was too easy for you, try looking for the horse statue that tops the Broncos’ scoreboard. That’s a bit tougher to locate.
The poster also includes moments from college football as well as images from movies. It’s pretty incredible just how much Mr. Bennett was able to cram in here. Not all of the notes around the edges are 100% correct, but they’re small and inconsequential details contrasted against a very cool whole.