Total Recall: Best Football Playing Actors
In preparation for the Super Bowl, we've assembled a killer lineup of gridiron-to-screen stars.
He's a familiar face to fans of 1980s TV, thanks to his occasional appearances on Cheers as blowhard sportscaster Dave Richards and his starring role in the long-running cop show Hunter -- but Fred Dryer is a legend to hardcore football fans, especially those who were around to see him bust heads during his long and illustrious career as a defensive end for the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams. Between 1969 and 1981, Dryer notched over 100 sacks and set an NFL record when he caused two safeties in a single game. Dryer took that winning streak with him to television, collaring perps every week of Hunter's seven-season run, but his film fortunes have been less impressive, including appearances in such noteworthy turkeys as 1987's Death Before Dishonor, 1998's Stray Bullet, and something called Playboy - Warm Texas Rain. Still, even in his 60s, he cuts an imposing figure -- maybe he could be one of Stallone's Expendables -- and did we mention two safeties in one game?
You'd think having at least a modicum of athletic talent would be a prerequisite for anyone who hoped to play the role of Superman -- and Dean Cain, who wore the red and blue tights for four years on ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, fit the bill. Make that Bills, actually, as in Buffalo Bills, the team that signed Cain as a free agent after he racked up some impressive stats as a free safety for the Princeton Tigers. When a knee injury ended Cain's NFL career before he played a single game, he moved quickly into acting, taping guest appearances on shows such as A Different World and Beverly Hills, 90210 before getting his big break in Lois & Clark. As a film actor, he hasn't been as lucky; his resume is dotted with titles like Boa and Dark Descent. But even if he hasn't found another hit vehicle for his talents, Cain has kept on working, piling up a long list of credits on either side of the camera -- and his 2007 cameo on Smallville proves he still has a sense of humor about his caped past.