Final Fantasy Football!? We drafted the best characters onto a team

Those who football further

Various characters from Final Fantasy Football playing football on a field

Football is back baby! September 8 marks the beginning of the NFL season, which also means Final Fantasy Football has begun. I may not be a huge fan of the sport, but when I was told I could pick a bunch of players and put them on my Final Fantasy Football roster, then I thought I should try it. JRPGs and football aren’t that dissimilar when you think about it: Team composition and a game-winning strategy are everything.

While I am a lifelong fan of Final Fantasy and have a deep knowledge of the franchise’s party members throughout the years, I needed some assistance with the standard fantasy football lineup (1 QB, 2 WR, 2 RB, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 1 K, 1 DEF) and the roles I would need to fill. My editor kindly provided a rundown of each position. With no other research beyond that, I set off to create the best Final Fantasy Football roster imaginable. If all goes well, then maybe this will become a vital new annual tradition?

QB — Tidus

Every team needs a leader. The Quarterback is the de facto head of the team and is responsible for strategizing and keeping up team morale. While there are many great leaders in Final Fantasy, the person most suited for the job of leading the team to victory is Final Fantasy X’s Tidus. He is the only protagonist whose main job is being a pro athlete.

Square Enix

As a Blitzball player, Tidus has the necessary sports know-how to strategize plays against opposing teams. He’s also not bad at inspiring his companions, a necessary skill when things aren’t looking so good in the back half.


Football is just a big game of catch. Do you know who loves catch? Dogs. Do you know who is literally a big dog? Red XIII.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy VII’s lovable talking animal with a flaming tail is perfect to fill the role of wide receiver. A position dedicated to running fast and catching a ball while avoiding the other team is perfect for a big wolf-cat. Are you going to tell me Cloud and Red XIII never played catch in Cosmo Canyon to chill out? Prove it!

Red XIII is a good boy and he will use his catching abilities to score plenty of touchdowns.

WR — Kain Highwind

Filling the second wide receiver spot requires someone who can leap out ahead of the competition and really extend themselves to complete those difficult passes from the Quarterback. Of all the jobs in Final Fantasy, the Dragoon fits this role perfectly with its skill set of jumping attacks.

Square Enix

There have been many Dragoons throughout Final Fantasy, but none are more iconic than Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV. Despite trying to kill his friends (he was brainwashed, so it's fine) he is a devoted ally, and his impressive jumping skills will serve him well in the NFL.

RB — Gladiolus

The job of a running back is to take the ball and just running as far as they can without getting taken down. One of the best ways to do this is by getting a big bulky guy and just hoping he can knock everyone else down like bowling pins first. It calls for a man like Final Fantasy XV’s Gladiolus.

Square Enix

Coming in at 6’6,” Gladiolus is a big dude, his perpetually unbuttoned shirt also confirms that he is indeed absolutely jacked! With a history of combat training, an unwillingness to give up, and unyielding loyalty to his teammates, Gladiolus provides the force necessary to push through the defensive line and gain some consistent ground on the field.

RB — Shadow

When sheer force can’t get the job done in the running back position, sometimes a subtler approach is necessary. The main obstacle in the way of the running back is the defense (obviously), and while it is possible to barrel through it, some running backs rely on their agility to dodge around and avoid their enemies on the field.

Square Enix

Shadow, Final Fantasy VIs enigmatic ninja, is a master at moving around opponents. With the highest evasion stat in the game, Shadow is perfect for slipping under and around the opposing team without them even knowing where he went. While his dog Interceptor would be a major help in blocking incoming tackles, NFL rules only allow one dog-like creature on a team at a time, and we just can’t afford to lose Red XIII so only Shadow makes the cut. Maybe Interceptor can be a backup.

TE — Quina Quen

A flexible and dynamic position that blends together the bustling run speeds of the running back with the catching potential of the wide receiver is the tight end (who should also boast some defensive abilities as well). They need to be big enough to block opposing players but also agile enough to push through and catch the ball if needed.

Square Enix

Quina Quen is a bit of a wild card in Final Fantasy IX with their random damage fork and collection of blue mage skills they earn from eating enemies. They are bulky enough to barrel through enemies and protect the quarterback. Obsessed with the pastime of catching frogs, Quina has enough of a passing knowledge of catching that competing passes shouldn’t be too much trouble when it is needed.

FLEX — Bartz

The Flex is a position that serves as a jack of all trades in a lineup. It varies depending on your league settings, but in most cases, the team manager can opt for a WR, RB, or TE. But why choose just one position when you could have a player that can fill whichever role you need at a moment's notice? Enter Bartz Klauser!

Square Enix

The protagonist of Final Fantasy V is whatever you want him to be. While not the first entry in the franchise to use the job system, FFV’s implementation remains one of the best in the series. All you have to do is equip Bartz with the right gear and you are set. I assume football works the same way, with each position requiring the right armor to be equipped for each role, so why wouldn’t this work flawlessly?

K — Zell Dincht

Monks are best at just beating the absolute shit of things. Punching and kicking till their enemy goes down, monks have some real anger issues to work out through their martial arts. Combine that with the personality of a 17-year-old private school kid and you have an untapped well of hormones and rage waiting to be unleashed.

That untapped well is Final Fantasy 8’s Zell Dincht. A lovable but overconfident martial artist, he is essentially a himbo jock.

Square Enix

The importance of a good kicker on a football team can make or break a game. As the only person who is bound by the rules of real football, the kicker must kick the ball through the goalposts to earn a field goal. Seems like a lot of trouble for one point but I don’t make the rules, so Zell is my man to get me that one point.

DEF — Lightning

When it comes to picking a defensive line in fantasy football you choose a team’s lineup. I don’t need a team, I have Lightning. The protagonist of Final Fantasy XIII and Lightning Returns, she is canonically the strongest protagonist in the franchise and fights gods like it's nothing.

Square Enix

If the creator of the universe isn’t enough to stop Lightning, then what makes you think a few football players could? Lightning will absolutely wreck shop and I expect a lot of sacks, which is a football thing I know about!

Update — I’ve been informed that it is actually just “fantasy football” and not “Final Fantasy Football.” You pick real NFL players and not fantasy characters to make a team and then you get points based on how they perform. I mean, I guess that's fine too. But it has 100 percent fewer magic and dog creatures.

In any case, Red XIII still deserves a chance!

Related Tags