Wrestler's on the Gridiron
By: Shayne Tierney
Legendary football coach Bob Stoops once said, “I am a great wrestling fan. Wrestlers have so many qualities that athletes need to have.” Wrestling is a sport which provides a great base of athleticism and correlates very well to other athletic activities. You can not find any other sport which requires and teaches all of the skills and attributes that wrestling indeed does. The combination of speed, strength, balance, quickness, coordination, mental strength, and determination which wrestling provides will make any athlete a better athlete.
As the football season is starting up, let’s inspect the impact of wrestling within the sport of football. Football requires speed, strength, balance, toughness, swagger, etc. One of the most basic maneuvers in football is the “tackle”. A tackle consists of a member on the defending team using force to place a member on the offensive team on his knee’s. Sound familiar? Yes, this is very similar to a takedown in wrestling. Of 253 players drafted in the 2017 NFL draft, nearly 90% played multiple sports in high-school. As more and more studies are coming out showing the positive impacts of multi-sport athletes, it is most definitely a fact that wrestling is a sport that every athlete should be participating in.
There is a long list of NFL hall of famers and Super Bowl winners that are former wrestlers; Ray Lewis, Stephen Neal, Adam Vinatieri, Chuck Noll, Kelly Gregg, etc. The list is truly never-ending. Probably the most well known name on this list is Ray Lewis. In Ray Lewis’s football career, he recorded 1526 tackles, 41.5 sacks, and 31 interceptions. Before Ray Lewis was arguably the greatest linebacker of all time, he was tearing it up on the wrestling mat. As a matter of fact, he captured himself a state title at 189 lbs in the 1992 Florida state championships.
Wrestling makes great football players.
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