Ask the average person to name as many football players as they can and they will probably only come up with a handful of quarterbacks. A player’s visibility to the public does not last very long, except for when they do something big after retiring. These are three Hall of Fame football players who made bigger names for themselves after their playing days, positive and negative.
For some it can be hard to believe that the goofy butt-of-the-joke co-host of Fox NFL Sunday Terry Bradshaw was once a professional athlete. Not only that, he was a great one. Bradshaw is one of only two quarterbacks to have ever won 4 Super Bowls.
Bradshaw has remained in the public eye since retiring. His football commentary duties created his character which has led to roles on television and in movies. Bradshaw may seem like nothing more than a father trying to be funny. In actuality he is one of the most accomplished quarterbacks of all-time.
Fullback Larry Csonka was part of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. An important role on the team, in three consecutive seasons he rushed for over 1,000 yards. Csonka was a true power running back and one of the main reasons why the Dolphins were so successful during the 1970s.
Fans of the original ‘American Gladiators’ may think of Csonka a little differently from his playing days. Csonka did color commentary for the show, exhibiting a similar sense of humor at times to Bradshaw. Csonka also had a few appearances on television and in movies. However, his weekly appearance on ‘American Gladiators’ is what made him popular with people who had never watched a football game in their life.
One of the most famous football players of all-time is hardly known to recent generations as a professional athlete. The name O.J. Simpson now means something much more. During his playing days though, Simpson was an icon at the running back position. Simpson is also one of only 7 players to have ever rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season.
Following his playing days Simpson became known for his slapstick role in ‘The Naked Gun’ films. This playful image soon disappeared when in 1994 he went to trial for murdering his ex-wife. The trial was one of the most famous, launching into a media firestorm based on race. Simpson was acquitted, but remained a pop-culture icon. Continuing to get in trouble, Simpson was later imprisoned for armed robbery while allegedly attempting to get back memorabilia that once belonged to him.
Three football stars from the 1970s and three different paths to fame in modern days off the field.