Friday, June 14, 2024

The Football and Wrestling Connection

Wrestling CAN and WILL make you a better football player. The mental and physical skills you develop in wrestling will make you a better player on the field.

Crossover Skills
  • Many of the positions and skills are transferable between both sports. Some of those skills include but are not limited to footwork, hand-eye coordination, mental toughness, explosive movements, balance, agility, quickness, upper body strength, and stamina.
  • Wrestling teaches “self-reliance” – the ability to make things happen without expecting help from others. 
  • Wrestling pits opponents based on weight and skill-level. The lineman gets off-season experience going head-to-head with others his size. A lighter weight player gains experience without the obstacle of facing much larger opponents.
  • Learning how to beat the man in front of you is an ability you cannot ignore!
Influence of Wrestling in the NFL
  • 10 Hall of Famers / 43 Multiple Pro-Bowlers
  • 13 NCAA Wrestling Championships / 60 Individual State Championships
  • 3 Heisman Trophy Winners / 14 First Round Draft Picks
  • 23 RB’s / 20 LB’s / 2 QB’s / 66 Linemen / 6 DB’s / 1 K / 54 non-position
  • Over 11% of the NFL has a wrestling background
  • “I draft wrestlers because they are tough.  I have never had a problem with a wrestler.” – Joe Gibbs, Hall of Fame Football Coach
  • “I would have all of my Offensive Linemen wrestle if I could.” – John Madden, Hall of Fame Football Coach
  • “I love wrestlers, they are tough and they make great football players.” – Mike Stoops, National Championship Football Coach, University of Oklahoma
  • “Wrestlers make coaching football easy, they have balance, coordination, and as a coaching staff we know they are tough.” – Tom Osborne, College Hall of Fame Football Coach, University of Nebraska
Pros with Wrestling Background
Ray Lewis
The Football Player: Seven-time Pro Bowler, Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl XXXV MVP, arguably the greatest LB and one of the best players in NFL history.
The Wrestler: Florida State 4A Wrestling Champion, Credits wrestling as the training ground for his prolific football career.
Stephan Neal
The Football Player: Signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent on July 2001. The offensive lineman has played in 34 career games with 31 starts. Stephan recorded the longest current consecutive starting streak on the Patriots offensive line and earned three Super Bowl rings.
The Wrestler: Did not play football in college, instead was a championship wrestler at Cal State-Bakersfield. Compiled a 156-10 record and won two NCAA Division I titles. In 1999, Neal won the Dan Hodge Award – known as the Heisman Trophy of wrestling – following a year in which he won the U.S. Freestyle Championship, the Pan-American Games title, and the World Championships.
Football never made a wrestler a better wrestler, BUT Wrestling made every football player a better football player!!!