NFL Celebrities: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Today, NFL football players are known for much more than their gridiron skills.

D iehard fans that tune into the NFL Sunday Ticket from Direct TV and watch prime time games focus on the stats, but the general public often hears about players off the field.

In our 24/7 media world, where fans and the paparazzi follow athletes on Instagram, some players have become famous or infamous outside of football.

Endorsements and Advertisements

Even though NFL contracts easily run into the millions, many football players make even more money as spokesmen. They can be seen on TV, in magazines and on billboards promoting anything from athletic wear to pizza. Depending on the product and exposure, endorsements can make a player a household name in the offseason.

At the end of last year, Forbes put together a list of the biggest endorsement deals in the NFL. Their money experts noted that Peyton Manning used his football star power to rake in $12 million in endorsements in 2015. Numerous other players made $5 million or more in national campaigns.

Celebrity Romances

Power couples have always gotten tongues wagging. Actresses, models, reality stars, female athletes, Olympians – A-list women make regular appearances on the football player dating scene. It’s also very common for football players to date songstresses, like Jarryd Hayne and Fifth Harmony’s Dinah Jane.

There are too many celebrity significant others hanging on the arms of NFL players to name them all, and it seems like the couples change every day. The popularity of social media makes their celebrity romances even more intriguing to the public as athletes post personal pictures online for everyone to see.

Reality Shows

Reality shows went from everyday people getting their 15 minutes of fame or a high-dollar prize to an outlet for athletes to improve their name recognition – and net worth. Dancing With the Stars is one of the most popular reality shows for football player appearances. So far they’ve had well over a dozen players cut a rug for millions of viewers:

  • ·  Jerry Rice – second place season 2
  • ·  Emmitt Smith – won season 3
  • ·  Jason Taylor – second place season 6
  • ·  Warren Sapp – second place season 7
  • ·  Lawrence Taylor – season 8
  • ·  Michael Irvin – season 9
  • ·  Chad Johnson – season 10
  • ·  Kurt Warner – season 11
  • ·  Hines Ward – won season 12
  • ·  Donald Driver – won season 14
  • ·  Jacoby Jones – third place season 16
  • ·  Keyshawn Johnson – season 17
  • ·  Michael Sam – season 20

Antonio Brown, Doug Flutie and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller are the latest football players to show their skills on the dance floor in season 22.

The obsession with football players’ personal lives has also been captured in numerous reality shows and documentary-style programs. The reality show WAGS on the E! Network blended both reality TV and celebrity romances together. The show highlighted the girlfriends, fiancés and wives of football players, which included models and social media stars.

Run-Ins With the Law

In recent years, it seems that more players have run-ins with the law that quickly get picked up by mainstream media. From domestic abuse allegations to shootings to possession of illegal narcotics, some NFL players can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble.

The NFL has shown concern over the high-profile arrests that are dominating the airwaves year-round. At the start of the 2015 NFL season, a reported 27 active players had multiple arrests. also reported that September 2015 was the first month in over six years that no players were arrested.

Rehab Stints

Another unfortunate thing that puts professional football players in the limelight is troubles with drugs and alcohol. The vast majority of athletes take it easy with partying (at least during the season) since their physical fitness is their moneymaker. Still some fall to the temptations that can come with celebrity and fame.

Johnny Manziel is a prime example of a football player that once made headlines for amazing feats on the field and is now better known for his vices. After a brief stint as the quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, Manziel decided to enter rehab in 2015 to get his drinking under control. Unfortunately, the experience didn’t curb his behavior. Just months ago he was again in the media for alleged domestic abuse against his girlfriend and his father stating Manziel refuses to go back to rehab.

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