Total Recall: Best Football Playing Actors
In preparation for the Super Bowl, we've assembled a killer lineup of gridiron-to-screen stars.
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones had quite an eventful couple years at Harvard. The future Oscar winner lived in the same freshman dorm as Al Gore and John Lithgow. In 1968, Jones, who played offensive tackle, was an All-Ivy League selection for the undefeated Crimson. "Undefeated" is a relative term, however; as the critically acclaimed documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (which Jones narrated) recounts, the Crimson's season ended with one tie. The squad came back from a 16-point Bulldogs lead to knot the score in the last game of the season. Subsequently, Jones played an alcoholic former football star in the 1985 TV adaptation of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and in Man of the House, he starred as a state trooper tasked with protecting a cheerleading squad that has witnessed a murder.
Even before he crossed over from the NFL to Hollywood, John Matuszak was a bona fide celebrity; thanks to his imposing 6'8" figure and outlandish personality, he never had a problem attracting attention, either positive (winning two Super Bowls as a defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders) or otherwise (his well-known extracurricular activities off the field). Although his size precluded him from traditional leading-man roles, Matuszak enjoyed steady work during his relatively brief acting career, cut short when he died of heart failure in 1989; he booked roles on both television (a wide range of shows, from M*A*S*H to Silver Spoons) and film (North Dallas Forty, The Ice Pirates, One Crazy Summer). The role of Matuszak's short lifetime, though, was unquestionably his iconic performance as Sloth, the deformed Fratelli brother in The Goonies -- if its long-rumored sequel ever comes to pass, no one will ever scream "Hey you guys!" with as much passion as the Tooz.