The Oakland Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha is pumping himself up to face the NFL's top receiver in the Texans' Andre Johnson.
Remember the old Superman comics? The ones where sometimes Superman had to battle Bizarro, a sort of evil mirror-image version of himself?
Nnamdi, as you're aware, is the Raiders' cornerback bestowed with super powers and a multiple-Pro Bowl pedigree. He's considered the single best player at his position by no less an authority than the Madden 10 video game, but toils without wider recognition because of his team's poor record in recent years.
This week Asomugha has to cover a mirror-image version of himself playing offense: the Texans' Andre Johnson. Johnson, it could be argued, is also the league's best at his position. He led all NFL receivers in catches and yardage last season, but the Texans have been a combined 37-62 during Johnson's six-year tenure.
"You’re talking about one of -- if not the -- top receiver in the league," Asomugha said of Johnson to matchup.com. "Any time you get a guy with his size and his strength and his speed, you’re going to have some matchup problems. And there’s a lot of ways that he can hurt you, whether it’s running the ball, whether it’s deep, whether it’s short."
"He’s got all the intangibles," said Asomugha. "So he always presents a problem for any corner around the league."
The respect is mutual. Johnson told the Houston Chronicle that Asomugha "could be the best out there."
Raiders vs. Texans may not be the top the game this weekend. But Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Andre Johnson should be a battle of intergalactic superhero proportions.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who spent too many of his undergraduate years studying DC Comics.