The road to Super Bowl LVI is already packed with traffic as teams look to a season of success.
Will it be the revitalized Ravens, the buoyant Buccaneers, or the commanding Chiefs who step foot onto the turf of the SoFi Stadium in February? It could be any team at present, although Jaguars fans might feel they’d need a miracle if it were to be their side! They would need to increase the hard work, matching that of football chiefs who managed to get Super Bowl LV held at all.
There’s no doubt that Super Bowl LVI will be easier to put on, as the US has already seen a host of big events held across the country. One of those is going on for two months this fall, the World Series of Poker. It draws poker players from across the globe to pursue the top prize; it even attracts some big names from football.
There’s an obvious attraction; the lure of competitive action of any sort is enough to tempt former football players around the poker table, and often they have the means to buy into the big tournaments as well. Some have even played in a Super Bowl and are clearly putting their ability to perform under pressure to good use.
These are four Super Bowl winners who are known to enjoy poker; they’re not all WSOP veterans, but they know their way around poker hand rankings just as well as they do the NFL Power Rankings.
Smith bagged a three-of-a-kind in the early nineties; three Super Bowl wins with the rampant Dallas Cowboys. The running back was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, and aside from a short spell with the Cardinals, he was a Cowboys man for his whole career. It’s fitting that poker and cowboys are often associated with each other, as Smith was a decent poker player as well as a footballer. He has several tournament appearances to his name and a couple of small cashes.
Shannon Sharpe is a veteran of the NFL, a three-time winner with the Broncos (twice) and the Ravens. The tight end was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, on the back of being named in the 90s Team of the Decade. When it comes to accolades, he’s got a full house, and you’ll likely see him getting one in poker too. He represented a now-defunct poker site at the 2005 WSOP and was occasionally found at the tables in celebrity games.
Any search of ‘NFL’ and ‘poker’ will certainly bring up Richard Seymour, another three-time Super Bowl winner. His three-of-a-kind hasn’t yet led to the Hall of Fame. He’s still waiting for that to appear on the table, but in the meantime, he’s switched his attention to poker. He’s cashed at the WSOP and has bagged more than $150,000 in tournament winnings. It’s a nice way to kill time before he joins former NFL aces Sharp and Smith in the Hall of Fame.
Watkins is a recent Super Bowl winner; he was part of the Chiefs team that made it to the final in 2019. He’s tasted defeat, most recently this year with the Chiefs. He’s hoping his switch to the Ravens brings him another winning hand; it’s a brave move and the sort of jump expected from a man who likes to bet big on his ability. He’s a well-known backer of the cards, too; in 2016, he was even seen skipping Bills workouts to play in celebrity poker games.