Total Recall: Best Football Playing Actors

In preparation for the Super Bowl, we've assembled a killer lineup of gridiron-to-screen stars.

Fred Dryer

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?


Dean Cain

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.

Comments

tomwaitsjrHAPPYICONOCLAST

Greg Guro

This seems to be in no discernible order.

Jan 28 - 06:42 PM

JUDGE DREDD

idle one kenobi

SLY STALLONE in the film ESCAPE TO VICTORY, Where the americans called football "Soccer" and they call whats essentially "RUGBY" football. HUH!??? Whats with that?

Oh well, great FOOTBALL film.

Jan 28 - 07:07 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

The whole time I was reading this I was trying to think of an OJ joke. Until I found out you beat me to it. I wonder how different things would have been if he actually did get the role as the Terminator.

Jan 28 - 07:19 PM

Vic V.

Vic Vega

You forgot to add Brian Bosworth! Stone cold kicks the crap out of Ernest Goes to Camp.

Jan 28 - 08:29 PM

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

The Boz is on the list, my friend. And his mullet.

Jan 28 - 09:47 PM

Scottie R.

Scottie Roberts

I made a RT account right now just to point out that you forgot Dan Marino. Ace Ventura is a classic amongst immature people who were 10 years old in 1994... (plus I'm a lifelong Dolphins fan...)

Jan 28 - 09:49 PM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Scottie,

Read the first paragraph.

"thus, everyone below has at least several significant screen credits to their name, and we omitted cameos, no matter how memorable (sorry, Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)."

Now beam me up.

Jan 29 - 12:05 AM

Scottie R.

Scottie Roberts

Oh, sorry, I didn't read the first paragraph. My eyes are only drawn to bold lettering and purdy pictures. It's a gift and a curse.

Jan 29 - 06:13 AM

Holly L.

Holly Laws

I know you're right about that. I like Dan Marino and Ace Venture.It is a classic.

Feb 2 - 08:28 AM

RamALamADingDong

That Guy

Scottie,

Read the first paragraph.

"thus, everyone below has at least several significant screen credits to their name, and we omitted cameos, no matter how memorable (sorry, Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)."

Now beam me up.

Jan 29 - 12:05 AM

Scottie R.

Scottie Roberts

Oh, sorry, I didn't read the first paragraph. My eyes are only drawn to bold lettering and purdy pictures. It's a gift and a curse.

Jan 29 - 06:13 AM

rucknrun

Neil Blevins

You missed a big one. Bernie Casey. I always remember him as the guy who directed the training in Spies like us. He beats up all the ninja in the beginning, he played in the NFL for 7 years and is in tons of movies.

LAME!!

Jan 29 - 05:14 AM

Funkmaster Flex

Phillip Martin

And Bernie Casey was even on an episode od SeaQuest!

Jan 29 - 10:29 AM

Scottie R.

Scottie Roberts

Oh, sorry, I didn't read the first paragraph. My eyes are only drawn to bold lettering and purdy pictures. It's a gift and a curse.

Jan 29 - 06:13 AM

arendr

Arend Anton

Glad you guys put Woody Strode on here!

Jan 29 - 08:44 AM

Funkmaster Flex

Phillip Martin

And Bernie Casey was even on an episode od SeaQuest!

Jan 29 - 10:29 AM

rucknrun

Neil Blevins

I know he is everywhere!!

Jan 29 - 11:18 AM

ColinTheCimmerian

Colin Hay

Wow, there's a lot of them. Didn't expect to see Tommy Lee Jones on there.

Carl Weathers is the man.

Jan 29 - 01:40 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

You can possibly add former WCW pro wrestler Bill Goldberg. Goldberg had a decent career with the Atlanta Falcons before joining World Championship Wrestling as a wrestler. He is most noted in the acting world for starring in "Universal Soldier: The Return" with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Jan 29 - 08:57 PM

BILL M.

BILL MURRAY

INTERESTING NOTES ABOUT JOHN WAYNE. I DOUBT EVEN THE BIGGEST FANS OF HIS MOVIES NEVER KNEW ABOUT HIS COLLEGE SPORTS CAREER OR THAT HE EVER EVEN ATTEMPTED SURFING. IT IS KIND OF HARD TO IMAGINE "BIG JAKE" HANGING TEN ON A WAVE. BUT THEN, HE WOULDN'T BE "BIG JAKE". HE'D BE "BIG KAHUNA".

Jan 29 - 09:07 PM

BILL M.

BILL MURRAY

THERE ARE MANY UNTOLD STORIES THAT WE'LL NEVER HEAR ON EXTRA,ACCESS HOLLYWOOD,& ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. ONE OF THOSE IS THE ACTING AND ATHLETIC CAREER OF WOODY STRODE.HE SHOULD BE CELEBRATED ALONG WITH DENZEL,WILL SMITH,SAM JACKSON,& MANY OTHER OF TODAY'S WELL-KNOWN FIGURES. PRESENT & FUTURE GENERATIONS COULD LEARN MUCH FROM THIS MAN.

Jan 29 - 09:27 PM

m2dad

Gary Walker

It is puzzling that "Deliberate Stranger" was not mentioned as one of Mark Harmon's credits. He plays the role of Serial Killer Ted Bundy. If you haven't seen it, do so, and you will look at Mark Harmon in a whole new light. It was an amazing, and frighteninly real performance.

Jan 30 - 08:08 AM

josuepilk

Josue Pilk

For the hell of it, you should have included Pele on this list. Who could forget his role alongside Sly Stallone and Michael Caine in Victory?

Jan 30 - 09:04 AM

Binh Ngo

Binh Ngo

How about OJ?

Jan 30 - 01:36 PM

Moses

Gay Moses

Dean Cain, but no Ward Bond. You know: the actor who has been in the most Academy Award Best Picture-Nominated movies in history. Whatever. This thread needs to be burned with whale oil. Tim Ryan and Jeff Giles: do us a favor and never post in the Off-Topic Forum.

Jan 31 - 09:15 AM

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