What happened to the heroes (and goats) of past Super Bowls? Their younger selves may live on in football immortality, but what are they doing in their real lives? We’ve caught up with a few notable Super Bowl alums.
The Hall of Fame running back was no stranger to the Super Bowl; he picked up four rings as a key cog on the vaunted Steelers teams of the 1970s and won MVP honors in Super Bowl IX. Since retiring from football in 1984, Harris’s life has been anything but boring. In 1996, he purchased and reopened the Parks Sausage Company, a local Baltimore institution that had closed its doors due to massive debts. When he’s not making food-based business deals, Harris is also politically active. He was a delegate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, and in 2008 he was one of Pennsylvania’s Electoral College electors who cast a vote for Barack Obama.
If you’d dropped in on the locker room of that Steelers dynasty, you might have heard some pretty interesting political debate. While Harris is obviously a large figure in Pennsylvania’s Democratic scene, his former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Lynn Swann is a G.O.P. stalwart. The star receiver, who won the MVP trophy in Super Bowl X, had a long post-football career as a sports broadcaster and sideline reporter. He’s also served on the board of directors for H.J. Heinz, but his major endeavors have been political. Swann served as the Chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 2002 to 2005, when he set his eyes on a bigger goal: the governor’s mansion of Pennsylvania. Swann won the Republican nomination for the 2006 gubernatorial race, but incumbent Democrat Ed Rendell thumped him by a 60-40 margin.
Beebe only played receiver in the NFL for nine years, but he managed to play in the Super Bowl in six of them. Although he only won a single ring, he made one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history in Super Bowl XXVII, when he used his phenomenal speed to strip a hotdogging Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett just as Lett was about to score a touchdown on a fumble return. The Cowboys still routed the Bills, but fans loved Beebe for not giving up.
After his career ended, Beebe used these gritty qualities to found House of Speed, a training center for youth athletes that focuses on not just improving players’ speed and performance, but also on reinforcing the value of strong character. The enterprise seems to have really taken off. There are now more than a dozen House of Speed franchises around the country, and the company’s alumni list includes NFL stars like Falcons RB Michael Turner and Cowboys QB Tony Romo.
The Fridge, a defensive tackle on the Bears’ Super Bowl XX champs, is most remembered for his mammoth size, which he occasionally utilized as a juggernaut running back in goal-line packages. Since the Fridge received the largest Super Bowl ring in NFL history (size 25), he’s kept fairly busy with all sorts of odd employment. In 2006 he entered the condiment game with the release of “The Fridge” Barbecue sauce, which has a commercial that’s totally worth 48 seconds of your time:
The Fridge hasn’t just been making sauce, though. He’s also been struggling in all manner of novelty sporting events. He tried to win the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2003, but he had to give up after just five minutes of gorging. He lost a 2002 matchup with former NBA center Manute Bol on Fox’s Celebrity Boxing. The Fridge has also appeared in the Lingerie Bowl and started his own construction company. He’s currently the director of football operations for the Chicago Slaughter of the Continental Indoor Football League, a team that’s coached by his former Bears teammate Steve “Mongo” McMichael.
Anderson grabbed the Super Bowl XXV MVP trophy by running for 102 yards and a score for the Giants, and he’s still known to pop up in New York sports media for a laugh. Commercially, Anderson’s got his fingers in several pies. He’s the owner of Two Four, a company that creates premium apparel for sports fans through a line called “MoodaChainz,” and he’s also an insurance agent who specializes in employee benefits.
When he was still an active player, Riggins, a Hall of Fame running back, was known as much for his brash personality as for his considerable football abilities. Since retiring, Riggins, who was the MVP of Super Bowl XVII for the Redskins, has been a commentator and hosted a show on XM Radio. He’s also launched a fledgling acting career, a fitting vocation for a player widely regarded as something of a drama queen. While his star hasn’t risen in Hollywood quite as quickly as it did in the NFL, Riggins has appeared in episodes of Guiding Light and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Merely uttering Norwood’s name can still make a Bills fan cringe, as it conjures images of his field goal attempt at the end of Super Bowl XXV sailing wide right to seal Buffalo’s 20-19 loss. It’s tough to find exactly what Norwood’s doing right now, but as recently as 2001 he was living in Centreville, Virginia, where he’s worked as an investment executive and sold insurance. A 2004 Sports Illustrated feature found him working as a realtor in the same area. In all of these business ventures, Norwood must have a pretty decent sense of humor about himself, as there’s no way clients don’t occasionally rib him for that wide-right kick.
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