40 NFL Players We'd Like to See Compete in the Summer Olympics
How cool would it be to combine America’s greatest athletes and the world’s biggest sporting event?
Well that is exactly what we like to explore here at B/R!
The NFL is by far the most followed sport in the U.S. But every four years, many follow swimming, gymnastics and track and field with the same kind of fervor, all for national pride. Athletes we've never heard of become the face of our country at the Olympic Games, and this summer in London it will be no different.
Always ready to try a hypothetical, I thought: why not see how NFL players would fare in specific Olympic events?
Here are 40 NFL players we would all love to see competing in the Summer Games.
Robert Griffin III
Washington Redskins, Quarterback
Projected Event: Track, 110-meter hurdles
Why: It is well documented thus far how much of a freak Griffin is. More athlete than quarterback, the Redskins bet the proverbial farm to acquire this kid hoping that it will pay dividends in some big play title winning performances.
Griffin would feel at home on the track in Olympic Stadium. As a high schooler he broke state records in this event and even finished first at an AAU event.
I’m surprised he didn’t at least try to qualify for the Olympics this year. I mean it could be his last chance to jump over something that is not intentionally trying to break his knees.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Linebacker
Projected Event: Shooting
Why: If it is legal to post your own target over the official one, then James Harrison could become a late favorite to take home the gold. Could you honestly imagine him missing even one shot if he put a picture of Roger Goodell at the other end of the firing range?
New England Patriots, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Rhythmic Gymnastics
Why: After finishing fourth on Dancing with the Stars, Ochocinco must feel he has something left to prove to the world of choreography. And since ballroom dancing is still not an Olympic sport, Rhythmic gymnastics is the best alternative. Besides, it is the only event at the games that promotes to use of props during the performance!
New York Jets, Quarterback
Projected Event: Rowing
Why: Some times athleticism is not the most important thing in sports, it can be the drive and inspiration an athlete brings to his team that gets him so far. Tebow would be an excellent addition to the USA rowing team not as an actual rower, but rather the coxswain sitting in the stern shouting encouragement to the rowers. I think his motivation can even get me to an Olympic level!
Seattle Seahawks, Runningback
Projected Event: Wrestling, 120 kgs
Why: about 1000 pounds worth of muscle, aka the Philadelphia Eagles front seven could not bring down Marshawn Lynch. Even the entire New Orleans Saints defense bounced off him and they were being paid extra to hurt him! What makes you think that one man who weighs the same as he does will be able to?
Cincinnati Bengals, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Pole Vault
Why: If you have not seen his incredible front-flip touchdown last season then you must be some kind of hermit. Though I am not sure if it is legal to replace the pole with Arizona Linebacker Daryl Washington. He may have to look into that beforehand.
Baltimore Ravens, Offensive Lineman
Projected Event: Diving
Why: Remember this list is football players we would like the see in the Olympics, not necessarily in events they will win. I for one would love to see a 6’8”, 360-plus-pound guy jump into water from four stories up.
However, he may best be suited to win in the springboard competitions. If he goes first and breaks the board then he could win by default.
New York Giants, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Fencing
Why: The shake and shimmy moves of Cruz was enough to make him one of the most difficult tackles in the NFL this past season. That kind of flash and quickness would work well in a sword fight, ie fencing. It would also be a first to see someone salsa dance while getting a medal.
Oakland Raiders, Wide Reciever
Projected Event: Track, 100-meter dash
Why: Ford ran an impressive 10.23 seconds at the ACC outdoor track championships in 2007. To put that in perspective he could have potentially qualified for the semifinals of the event at the 2008 Games in Beijing.
He is also rumored to have run a 4.126 in the 40 in 2005. By my math, and probably that of the idiots who go crazy over combine numbers, that would mean he will break Usain Bolt’s world record of 9.58 by over a full second! Wow that’s amazing!
Baltimore Ravens, Center
Projected Event: Sailing
Why: There is no more fitting sport for a Harvard man than the stereotypically preppy activity of sailing. Now in Baltimore, he could easily ply the trade of the rich and powerful in the world renowned sailing hotbed of the Chesapeake Bay.
Guess I could have gone with Ryan Fitzpatrick here as well, but he looks more like Tom Hanks in Castaway than a man in touch with the art of sailing.
San Diego Chargers, Quarterback
Projected Event: Shot put
Why: Rivers would have to make the least amount of adjustment of any player on this list to make this hypothetical a reality. Just look at how he throws a football right now and you can pick up the similarities. Also, few QB’s were better than Rivers at throwing a ball to an open spot of grass last season.
New York Giants, Defensive End
Projected Event: 5000 meters/ 10000 meters
Why: As tough as NFL players are I doubt few of them could ever endure the grueling drag of long distance running. Kiwanuka was the only player I could think that may be able to pull it off simply because of his Ugandan roots. Another strategy to get him through it would be if you hung a picture of quarterback in front of him like a carrot he would just keep chasing it until he got him.
The Manning Brothers
Peyton-Denver Broncos and Eli-New York Giants, Quarterbacks
Projected Event: Cycling
Why: Peyton would win every single heat by a massive margin, setting a new World Record each time, while Eli drafts behind him doing just enough to get the finals, where to no one’s surprise Peyton chokes away the gold to his little brother. Also, these two just look like they ride bikes.
New England Patriots, Tight End
Projected Event: Decathlon
Why: There are few players who are strong, fast and just generally all-around athletes the way Gronkowski is. It a competition that depends more on how many things you can do well than a specialized skill, he would be a perfect fit for the ten event competition. And even if he loses you know he will have a good time.
Pittsburgh Steelers, Safety
Projected Event: High Jump
Why: It’s bird, it’s a plane, it’s…a very hairy Samoan American! Most flying super heroes have capes that keep them airborne, but Steelers safety Troy Polamalu only needs his well conditioned and dandruff free locks. It should also be easier for him to leap over something when he also does not need to time the snap count.
Arizona Cardinals, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Table Tennis
Why: We have all played some form of this sometime in our life, perhaps not always in the most sober state. But if you get a chance to see it done at a professional level this summer you will be awed by how quick and good these athletes’ hands are. Only one NFL player comes to mind when you think of those qualities.
New York Jets, Quarterback
Projected Event: Water Polo
Why: What better sport would fit the pretty boy from southern California? It also benefits him in tow other ways: 1) New Yorkers have no idea what it is and therefore won’t criticize him and 2) walking on water is strictly against the rules so Tebow cannot overshadow him there as well.
New Orleans Saints, Placekicker
Projected Event: 50 km Walk
Why: The only Olympic sport that many elderly people consider to be active in is the best fit for the 42-year-old Kasay. However, he way need to balance out the strength in his kicking leg with his opposite one to avoid an embarrassing late swerve that could cost him a medal.
Green Bay Packers, Center
Projected Event: Weightlifting, +105 kg
Why: Just look at him and try and explain to me that he does not look like a weightlifter. Just Google image search “Matthias Steiner” and imagine that with a goatee.
Houston Texans, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Boxing
Why: Johnson laid the hammer down on that doofus Cortland Finnegan this past season, landing a few blows to his head after a whole game of Finnegan going at him. Though the tables may turn a bit in the Olympics when the headgear the boxers wear is not quite as strong as what they have in the NFL. But he sure does have the reach.
New England Patriots, Quarterback
Projected Event: Soccer
Why: I could have been easy and had a kicker here, but we have all seen that. I could even be more cliché and made some mention about football in a pun, lame. Instead I thought I would go a different route and have Brady here not for anything he would bring to the sport, but rather what his wife would. She would fit in perfectly up in the sky box with all the other WAGs, for us to drool over!
The Packers Receiving Group
Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones
Projected Event: Synchronized Swimming
Why: I don’t care what anyone says, Aaron Rodgers is only as good as the players he is throwing to. This receiving group is one of the best the NFL has ever seen, with all of them moving in harmony and timing their breaks to perfection making themselves easy targets for their QB. Pretty much the exact same things you need to have a successful sync team. I wonder what Mike McCarthy knows about water choreography?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Volleyball
Why: He is 6’5”, has a vertical leap of over 38 inches, great hands and is use to jumping with defenders pulling him down. I think he will be fine when there is nothing at all preventing him from getting the ball.
Baltimore Ravens, Linebacker
Projected Event: Judo, +100 kg
Why: Lewis is natural at taking players down and making them feel his wrath on the way there. Even if he had no idea what he was doing, his stare alone may be enough to make half of his competitors tap out before the bell even rings.
Carolina Panthers, Quarterback
Projected Event: Gymnastics
Why: Newton is one of the best athletes in the league possessing the agility, strength and determination required to be an Olympic male gymnast. But I like his here because I mostly want to see him stick the landing and give us one of his big pearly white teeth smiles. It always seems to brighten up my day.
San Francisco 49ers, Defensive Tackle
Projected Event: Hammer Throw
Why: When I watch Smith tackle a quarterback I honestly think the only thing keeping him from flinging the helpless player out of the stadium is the rules. But when the object is to throw a 16-pounf metal ball as far as possible, well that seems right up Smith’s alley. Though I would not be surprised if somehow Alex Smith ruined a world record throw.
New Orleans Saints, Running Back
Projected Event: Field Hockey
Why: It may come as a surprise to many here in the US, but field hockey is primarily a men’s game everywhere else in the world. It is a pretty tough sport, likened to soccer in terms of speed and development of play, but played at a much greater pace. Sproles would be an excellent fit in the sport as at a mere 5’6” would dash in and around defenders with even more ease than he does on the gridiron. Plus being so close to the ball will give him a distinct advantage.
Dallas Cowboys, Defensive End
Projected Event: Swimming, 50-meter freestyle
Why: I have no clue whether or not Ware can actually swim in water, but he certainly has a very good swim move at the line of scrimmage. All he has to do is repeat that a couple dozen times in water and he could be a real medal contender.
Jacksonville Jaguars, Running Back
Projected Event: Marathon
Why: Jones-Drew had 40 more carries than anyone else last season, 300 more yards and was the only reason that the NFL did not make a employ a relegation rule on the god-awful Jaguars. A 26-mile run should be cake after all that.
New Orleans Saints, Quarterback
Projected Event: Archery
Why: Brees, who has completed 64.9 percent of his passes in his career, is the most accurate current quarterback. Archery requires accuracy. Ergo, Brees would be a good archer. Sorry for getting overly complicated.
Dallas Cowboys, Quarterback
Projected Event: Equestrian, Dressage
Why: Romo always seems to be just on the cuff of becoming a Cowboy legend before he screws it up by doing something really stupid. It is kind of like he is deserving to wear the star, but not quite totally. This event kind of represents that. I mean he is riding a horse, but a little more dainty than Dallas fans would like it to be.
New York Jets, Wide Receiver
Projected Event: Basketball
Why: Holmes is selfish, stubborn, whiny, arrogant and thinks everything needs to go through him. Sounds like an NBA player to me. Guarantee he wouldn’t pull any crap with Coach K in the huddle.
Green Bay Packers, Linebacker
Projected Event: Taekwondo
Why: I could not really think of any NFL player that would be good at this sport which is basically about how many times you can kick your opponent. But it does look like it takes a crazy person who is unafraid of anything and no one is more inclined to that than Matthews.
Chicago Bears, Running Back
Projected Event: Steeplechase
Why: Matt Forte has been one of the better backs in the league over the past few seasons and he has earned that playing in arguably the worst turf of any. Having to run through water and jump over obstacles in the steeplechase would be no different than sloshing through the mud and hurdling unblocked defenders at Soldier Field.
New England Patriots, Nose Tackle
Projected Event: Handball
Why: To follow a pretty easy stereotype, let’s go ahead and put the fat guy in the net as goalie. Plus, after his two impressive picks he had this past season, you can tell he has got some pretty good hands. Heck you could even throw him out as a field player. You think many defenders would like to get in his way as he runs and jumps in the air to take a shot on net?
Kansas City Chiefs, Running Back
Projected Event: Triathlon
Why: Hillis was nothing more than a distraction last season for the Cleveland Browns. Illnesses had him sitting out games and ultimately made the franchise question his toughness and commitment to the team. Hillis is looking for a fresh start in KC and what better way to prove his toughness to one of the sport’s most passionate fan bases than compete in one of the most physically demanding events in all the Olympics.
Philadelphia Eagles Secondary
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman
Projected Event: 4x100-meter Relay
Why: So they didn’t quite connect together the way Vince Young might have expected when he called them the “Dream Team.” But they are still one of the most athletic secondary’s in entire league. Perhaps they will be more successful at handing off a baton to one another rather than receivers.
New Orleans Saints, Linebacker
Projected Event: Canoeing, K-1 Slalom
Why: I could not really think of anyone who would fit well in this event because I am not sure who in the NFL can actually canoe. But Vilma is the only player that has enough time to learn how given his recent suspension. I wonder how much he would pay someone to break a competitor’s oar?
Indianapolis Colts, Quarterback
Projected Event: Discus Throw
Why: Still fresh out of college you know he still has a nagging need to play “ultimate,” which goofy-frat-looking kid attending a school in Northern California wouldn’t? I know it’s a bit different than what he did in the quad with his hat on backwards before heading off Econ. Class, but he certainly has the arm strength to compete.
Who Would You Like to See at the Games?
It's less than three months until the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games, and minicamps for NFL rookies have already opened. By the time many of the world's best athletes descend on London, America's NFL stars will have reported for training camp to ready themselves for the 2012 season.
But it would be fun to see teams make exceptions for their top players to try their hand at winning some gold medals. This list here is by no means complete as there are plenty of other NFL players who would look good representing the USA.
So who else would you like to see in London and in what events? Please leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
For all my articles, follow me on Twitter: @thecriterionman