Often, professional athletes want to pursue more interests off of the field besides their respective sport. Some of them want to be entrepreneurs and own businesses and such after their professional sports career is over. Others look to get into the music industry and have some fun putting out records. Some others like to appear in commercials for all sorts of companies in the world. You name a brand or item and they will do a commercial for it. Look at somebody like Peyton Manning who seemed to be doing everything from Papa John’s Pizza to Nationwide. Who can forget seeing Peyton with a slice of Papa John’s Pizza in his hand or humming the legendary Nationwide is on your side jingle? The point is that these athletes have other interests besides playing sports. Besides commercials, some of these athletes enjoy being in movies.
Movies are great for professional athletes. It can show fans that they can do more than catch a touchdown pass or throw a football 45 yards down field. It also can bring in more money for them and make them not touch their NFL salaries until after retirement. But some of the NFL players that make it onto the big screen don’t necessarily get the movie star notoriety or recognition that they might want. With that being said and thought about, let’s take a look at 15 NFL movie cameos that you completely missed.
15. Brett Favre – There’s Something About Mary
The first NFL player to make a forgotten about cameo on the big screen comes in the form of longtime quarterback Brett Favre. Favre made a cameo in the hit comedy There’s Something About Mary. It has Ben Stiller following his high school prom date around, played by Cameron Diaz, to the point that he hires a private investigator to keep a close eye on her. Favre comes in as the only guy to try to win Cameron Diaz’s heart without deceit or lying.
We all know Favre had an amazing career. He had the longest streak of consecutive starts for a quarterback, won a Super Bowl, and threw for over 500 career touchdown passes. He enjoyed quite the career over his 20 years in the NFL. People always expected him to come back after announcing retirement, but he probably wasn’t expected to be any competition for Ben Stiller in this movie.
14. Lawrence Taylor – The Waterboy
Playing linebacker is a tough, grueling position in the NFL. But Lawrence Taylor proved it can be easy by having over 130 career sacks in his 13 year career. He was big, burly, and a pain in the neck for quarterbacks all over the NFL. But everyone forgets he made a cameo in the hit Adam Sandler movie, The Waterboy.
Adam Sandler played Bobby Boucher, a lovable Louisiana waterboy who becomes a star on the football field when his anger got the best of him. He was so good that he got invited to guest speak at a football camp run by Taylor. After Taylor asks Boucher what his secret is and Boucher gives a rather interesting answer, Taylor gives his famous line of, “Gentlemen this brings me to my next point, don’t…smoke…crack!”. This certainly can get overlooked, but it was a great line delivery given by L.T. that might sometimes be forgotten.
13. Deion Sanders – Celtic Pride
NFL athletes don’t have to just appear in football movies. They can appear really in any type of sports movie. That proved to be the case for Deion “Primetime” Sanders as he made a very brief cameo in the movie Celtic Pride. It followed two die-hard Boston Celtics fans who try to give their beloved team an advantage by kidnapping the star of the Utah Jazz during the NBA Finals.
Deion Sanders doesn’t appear until the very end of the movie. Mike O’Hara and Jimmy Flaherty go into a hotel and once again attempt to kidnap a star player, that one being Deion. O’Hara rips off some duct tape, Sanders looks stunned, and the movie ends. Deion has made his way into commercials and the bright lights, but people forget he was the next target of two Boston sports fanatics plans at securing a championship.
12. Roy Williams – Friday Night Lights
This next NFL player was used to catching passes for the Dallas Cowboys at one point in his career. But in the popular football movie, Friday Night Lights, he showed that he could have a potential second career after football. He caught 44 career touchdown passes between the Lions, Cowboys, and Bears. That man is Roy Williams and he gave us a sneak peek of what his life could have planned for him.
Roy Williams made an appearance in the movie as a coach for Midland Lee High School. What’s funny is that Williams is an alumnus of Permian High School, which the film focuses on, and Midland Lee is a rival of Permian. We love the irony here and how it was brilliantly set up by directors. Williams may not be a Hall of Fame wide receiver when it is all said and done. But, he can say he was a part of history with high school football in both real life and on the big screen.
11. Tom Brady – Stuck On You
Tom Brady has some very outspoken fans who also happen to be major Hollywood stars. One of them is Matt Damon, a New England native who lobbied for Brady to make an appearance in the 2003 comedy Stuck On You, where Damon and Greg Kinnear play conjoined twins. Kinnear’s character in the movie lands a TV gig with Cher, and goes on to gain some fame.
Brady’s scene is very short and you can’t even recognize him. A technician calls Brady’s character over and shows that he’s blowing up an image on Cher to make her behind look bigger. Brady’s character laughs along in a rather creepy tone, and that’s all the cameo is. But if the goal was to sneak in a major sports star in a movie without the audience noticing, it was a job well done.
10. Terry Bradshaw – Failure to Launch
Terry Bradshaw enjoyed a long and successful career in the NFL. He had four Super Bowl wins which was tied for the most in NFL History until that was broken last season by Tom Brady (who we will get to in a second). What you might not have known about was his role on the big screen. He played the role of Al, the father of Tripp in the movie Failure to Launch.
The movie was about a 35-year-old man who still lives at home and doesn’t seem to want to leave anytime soon. Eventually, Terry Bradshaw and his wife, played by Kathy Bates, decide to hire an expert to give their son a little push to want to finally leave the nest. Eventually the son falls for the expert and lives happily ever after. But Bradshaw certainly gets overlooked when this movie is on.
9. Tom Brady – Ted 2
Tom Brady certainly has accomplished a lot on the field, hasn’t he? He has five Super Bowl titles, four Super Bowl MVPs, and widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play in the NFL. When he isn’t winning Super Bowls or promoting his TB12 diet, he is making appearances in movies and such. One such example of his forgotten acting is in the movie Ted 2.
The movie once again follows Johnny and Teddy as they embark on an adventure to make Ted legally a person and not just property. They come up with the idea to get some sperm from Tom Brady. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go as planned as Brady wakes up while they are trying to get it and promptly (also hilariously) throws both of them out of his house. He also throws Teddy in a perfect spiral right to Johnny while kicking them out. People might forget that Brady’s fans love him that much, based on that one small scene.
8. John Matuszak – The Goonies
This next NFL player enjoyed playing for the Raiders, Chiefs, and Oilers during his nine year career. He won two Super Bowls and then got into the acting scene. Nothing probably could have prepared him for the role he was going to have to play in The Goonies. He also acted in other movies and television before he died in 1989 in an overdose. But before he did, he gave a performance to be remembered.
The Goonies was a movie about a group of friends who enjoy one last time hanging out together before their homes would be closed. They embark on adventures and stumble upon a hideous character named “Sloth”. Matuszak helps Chunk get free of his bonds and eventually helps the boys along with their adventures. It often gets overlooked, but it was great to see John Matuszak do something fun and productive after a successful football career.
7. Terry Crews – Balls of Fury
The next former NFL player didn’t make much of a splash in his three years in the league. In fact, he only made two career tackles in 32 career regular season games. This man was Terry Crews and he can be seen everywhere on television now. He has made appearances in multiple movies and even has a starring role now in the show Brooklyn 99. But one of his forgotten about performances came from the hilarious ping-pong movie Balls of Fury.
Crews played Freddie “Fingers” Wilson, the first round opponent of the title character Randy Daytona. The movie focuses on Daytona as he was a child prodigy in ping-pong. But then a disappointing finish in a major tournament forces him out of the game. Nearly 20 years later, Daytona gets recruited to take down a major criminal who hosts ping-pong tournaments. Daytona faces Wilson (Crews) and Wilson tries to be intimidating by moving his upper body with ease, showing off his pectoral muscles. Definitely one of the funny performances by Crews that gets a little lost in the shuffle.
6. Alex Karras – Blazing Saddles
This next former NFL player proved he can be tough on the field and even tougher off of it. He played 12 seasons for the Detroit Lions as a defensive tackle, was a four time Pro Bowl player, and a three time First-Team All-Pro. This man was Alex Karras and he was not to be messed with on the field. Off of the field, he was seen taking down animals with one punch.
He played Mongo in the movie Blazing Saddles. There was the iconic scene where Mongo goes up and punches a horse so hard that the horse falls over immediately. It had the feeling of one of those old Western films that had everyone fighting for territory and such. Karras definitely recovered a lot of fumbles in his day, but that horse probably never recovered from that mean right hook.
5. Ty Law – Friday Night Lights
Ty Law was a big part of the New England Patriots first Super Bowl titles. He was a really big part of the first one as he took an interception to the endzone for a pick six against Kurt Warner and the high powered Rams. He is a beloved Patriots forever in the heart of Pats Nation. But when he wasn’t intercepting quarterbacks, he was making cameos.
Friday Night Lights gets another former NFL player making a cameo, this time it comes in the form of Ty Law. Ty’s hands really came on display as he played a Dallas Carter High School wide receiver in the movie. He even made a one handed touchdown catch that is believable now that we know it is Ty Law making the catch. He definitely saved his best hands for the big screen, waiting for the day that he could play some offense.
4. Clay Matthews – Pitch Perfect 2
The Green Bay Packers have some questions going into next season. Will Aaron Rodgers return to form after suffering a collarbone injury that cost him a good part of his 2017 season? Will the Packers be relevant in a now very competitive NFC? Will the defense tighten up their holes? They have one of the better defensive players in the game in Clay Matthews. What you might not know is he had quite the dance number in the movie Pitch Perfect 2.
The movie followed the Barden Bellas trying to get reinstated into the ICCA’s after a wardrobe malfunction got them banned. Clay Matthews and some of the other Packers made a musical appearance by dancing along to the song “Bootylicious”. It ends well for the group as they get their happy ending and Clay Matthews was involved with the making of movie, go figure!
3. Russell Wilson – Entourage
The Entourage series is one of the most interesting and widely viewed series in the country. It involved a lot of cameos from numerous amounts of athletes, celebrities, etc. One such cameo came from a guy that knows a thing or two about winning in the NFL. He has one Super Bowl under his belt and could have had two had it not been for a questionable call by head coach Pete Carroll in Super Bowl XLIX against the Patriots.
Russell Wilson is the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks who can beat teams with his legs or his arm in any given scenario. He looks really good in the picture above with the sleeveless shirt and a football in his hand. Wilson was alongside guys like Tom Brady and Julian Edelman in this movie as well. It followed Vinny Chase and his pursuit of a different career. But Wilson might be more noticeable now knowing he looks like this in the California sun.
2. J.J. Watt – Bad Moms
J.J. Watt has experienced a lot in his journey playing for the Houston Texans in the NFL. He has played in the playoffs, he has been to four Pro Bowls, and he also had hurt his back badly on numerous occasions. He also apparently can take some time to appear in movies too. He made an appearance as Coach Craig, a middle school soccer coach who has a big time love for cats in the movie, Bad Moms.
The movie features a mom (Mila Kunis) who feels overworked and under-appreciated as a mom. She changes her way of thinking after catching her husband cheating on her. J.J. Watt may have gone a bit unnoticed with this role, considering we don’t see him with a football helmet on. Watt may go unnoticed in this movie, but he certainly must have enjoyed getting beat up by the moms as a refreshing change of pace for him.
1. Hines Ward – The Dark Knight Rises
The final cameo that goes a bit unnoticed comes from none other than one of the great Batman stories. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman has to once again stop criminals from committing crimes and ruining Gotham City. What goes completely under the radar is the fact that there is a minute or two of a football game going on with a kick return being taken back to the endzone. The player that takes that touchdown back is none other than former Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward.
Over his career as a Steeler, he had 86 career touchdowns. He also was a four time Pro Bowl receiver. I’m not sure if anything could have really prepared Hines Ward for dealing with playing football while the city of Gotham was basically being destroyed. Needless to say, Ward scored touchdowns on the field and on the big screen. But, he couldn’t do anything at that particular moment to calm down the citizens of Gotham City. Oh, Batman?!
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