The NFL’s Winter Olympians
After the Opening Ceremonies on Thursday night, the 2018 Winter Olympics are officially under way. South Korea has the distinct honor in hosting the XXIII Olympic Winter Games with 2,920 athletes from 92 different countries participating in 102 events. Coverage for this year’s games is being provided by FlurrySports, of course, including a continually-updated medal count. The great allure of the Olympics is the spectacle of watching the world’s greatest athletes compete on the biggest stage.
Now, the world’s greatest athletes aren’t relegated to just the Winter Olympics. Some of the world’s finest athletes are found in the National Football League, and many of them could probably hold their own in various events in the Winter Olympics:
Packers Wide Receivers – Bobsled
The matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys on October 8, 2017 may as well have been an Olympic trial. After Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams for a 10-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb joined Adams in a compelling tryout for the American bobsledding team. With great timing, form, and precision, you have to wonder why these guys didn’t get sent to PyeongChang.
Vikings Skill Position Players – Curling
There’s just something about these NFC North teams and winter sports. Kyle Rudolph was on the receiving end of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum early in the NFC Championship Game. Rudolph and his teammates then proceeded to pay homage to the (surprisingly) popular phenomenon that is curling. The Vikings season ended earlier than they may have hoped, but that allows them plenty of time to refine their curling skills.
They’d have made a fine addition to the US curling team. I would sub them out of the gold medal match, though. I mean, you saw that NFC Championship Game, right?
Antonio Brown – Figure Skating
No one can deny Antonio Brown’s tremendous athletic abilities. Brown has displayed great athleticism and agility on the field. What he has also accomplished is establishing a reputation as a nimble dancer. We’ve seen his hip-gyrating celebrations in the endzone and his stint on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. All of this leads me to believe that Antonio Brown would be an excellent figure skater. Whether in pairs skating or individual, Brown would wow audiences with flips, spins, turns, and jumps galore. If he could get Le’Veon Bell to do a Blades of Glory routine with him that would be absolutely magical.
J.J. Watt – Hockey
What do you get when you add together four Pro Bowls, four All-Pro selections, three DPOY awards, and a 6’5″ 290-pound frame? A hockey player, of course. J.J. Watt has been a nightmare for NFL quarterbacks for years. What you may not have known is that Watt was a hockey player while growing up in Wisconsin. Watt played hockey from age four until he was 13 years old. He would play on travel teams that went to Canada and Germany. Watt ultimately chose football, but that international hockey experience makes him tailor-made for the Olympics. Could you imagine him body-checking some guy?
Julio Jones – Ski Jumping
Julio Jones may not be the type of guy you picture when you picture a ski jumper. However, the five-time Pro Bowler has made a living leaping over defenders to make acrobatic catches. As a specimen, Jones is intimidating. At the 2011 Scouting Combine, Jones ran a 4.39 40-yard dash, had a vertical jump measured at 38.5″, and a broad jump of 11 feet 3 inches. Oh yeah, and all of that was done with a broken bone in his foot. So while he may not be the prototypical ski jumper, he has displayed ample speed and leaping ability to at least warrant consideration.
Tyreek Hill – Speed Skating
And last, but certainly not least, is the NFL’s resident speedster. Tyreek Hill has been blowing us away with his tremendous speed since he ran a 4.25 40-yard dash in the 2016 Scouting Combine. Since being drafted by Kansas City, he has become a major weapon, amassing 3,173 all-purpose yards and 20 total touchdowns in his first two seasons. In 2016, Hill was recorded by Next Gen Stats as reaching a top speed of 23.24 MPH on one of his kick returns, the fastest speed recorded in the last two seasons. Hill even earned a gold medal in the 2012 Barcelona World Junior Championships in the 4 x 100 meter relay. His speed could translate well on the ice, particularly in the speed skating category. The next Apolo Ohno? Apolo OhYes.