Every sports reference in The Avengers

“Is this about the Avengers? Which I know nothing about.”

It’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Week at SB Nation and across our team brands! We’re using the superior superhero franchise to guide our coverage for this week, as we pass the two-month mark without sports.

Here at Fear the Fin, I’m going to take on a very stupid mission: to watch every film in the MCU and document every reference made to sports throughout. I’m playing a little fast and loose with my definition of “sports reference,” but I’m going to try to avoid making the same jokes more than once in this series. You’ll see what I mean.

That’s 23 films, totaling 50 hours, by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 10.

(I’m aware the week starts on Sunday, but the next theme week doesn’t start until Monday and I got a late start on this, okay? I’m cutting myself some slack to make this ridiculous thing a complete project.)

I’ll be watching in a chronological order (some films take place around the same time, so it doesn’t matter too much) that is dubbed the “spoiler” version, as post-credit scenes will contain spoilers for movies further along in the timeline, as opposed to release order.

I’ve set up a storystream to help you keep track of each post as they go up — which won’t be on any kind of set schedule, since I’m gonna be putting some weird hours into this thing in order to pull it off. No worries, though — that’s the whole point of having a centralized location. I’d suggest reading them in order, but hey, I’m not your mom.

Reminder that time stamps are approximate, not exact, and may vary based on streaming services.

The film that changed superhero films: let’s see what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can do.

The Avengers (2012)

Director: Joss Whedon, Written by Joss Whedon

00:20:46: We see a familiar scene of Steve Rogers and a duct taped punching bag that he explodes before hanging another.

This time, though, we get a glimpse of the larger gym he’s in, including a boxing ring.

Man, he picks up a hundred-plus pound punching bag like it’s a sack of potatoes. I used to manage a sporting goods store. I absolutely cannot lift a punching bag on my own.

00:43:14: Tony says to Cap, “You are pretty spry, for an older fellow. What’s your thing, Pilates?” Cap doesn’t know what that is. “It’s like calisthenics,” Tony explains, before referring to him as having been a “Capsicle.”

00:54:07: Joss Whedon gets his little gremlin hands on the Avengers script and suddenly Tony’s the Sports Guy, telling Thor he’s “got a mean swing” and also calling him Point Break, referencing the action film about surfers.

01:02:12: Thor describes creature called the bilgesnipe as “huge, scaly, big antlers,” then “repulsive,” and finally “they trample everything in their path.”

I want a sports team called the Bilgesnipe. How badass would that be? Look at this thing:

01:11:18: Cap says to Tony, “Put on the suit. Let’s go a few rounds.” Without the suit, of course, Cap could take Tony, no problem. We’ll actually see them square off in Civil War (that’s foreshadowing, baybee), but it is interesting to think about whether having an ability that’s biological is more effective than enhancement through external means.

01:48:05: Cap uses the idiom “like shooting fish in a barrel,” which is not a real shooting sport.

01:54:21: Clint flexing a no-look shot like:

And that’s all she wrote. More of this movie takes place on an aircraft than I remembered, so there weren’t as many background New York sports references. Though Manhattan got pretty roughed up by the attack — I’m sure the Knicks and the Rangers got a sizable donation from Stark Industries as part of the Avengers Apology Tour.

Previous: Thor | Up Next: Iron Man 3