From lithe quarterbacks to beefy linebackers, wicked-fast wide receivers and striking defensive ends, American football is made up of specialists, young men who have dedicated their lives to perfecting the bodies, and performing at their best. But the pure athleticism of American football is often obscured by mountains of padding and massive helmets built to resist concussion. But underneath all that you’ll find some big hearts and ripped muscles.
Here’s a list of the 15 Hottest Men of Football – forgive me, the list is heavy on quarterbacks. (I’ve had a weakness for quarterbacks since high school). Check them out … and, though there’s unfortunately not a tight end among them, get ready to do a little touchdown dance.
Wide Receiver – Free Agent
For a guy who catches balls for a living, Anderson was at the top of his game and looked to have a brilliant career. He set records in college for career yards and receptions, but has had a spotty time in pro football. At the moment, he may or may not be signed to the Houston Texans.
Baltimore Ravens – Linebacker
Oladele Brendon Ayanbadejo is famous for making a play that led to one of the biggest upset comebacks in Monday Night Football history. In 2004, while getting sacked, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball up for grabs. Dolphins linebacker Ayanbadejo caught the interception and the Dolphins went on to win the game by a single point.
New England Patriots – Quarterback
Married to Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen and arguably prettier than her, Brady has the kind of pro football career they make movies about – and if they did, Brady would star in it. Brady holds all kinds of regular season and postseason records, and he and Joe Montana are the only two players in NFL history to win the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards more than once. Super good looking, Super Bowl winner, supermodel wife. Super-duper.
Baltimore Ravens – Cornerback
Carr is very good at his job – catching the ball when it’s kicked or punted, and returning it to score. In 2006, his first NFL touchdown came when he intercepted a pass and returned it 100 yards. Last year he had a promising season with the Ravens and many fans were relieved when he was re-signed. Lately though, he’s been plagued by a hamstring injury that has threatened his participation from week to week. We’d volunteer for a physical therapy session.
New York Giants – Quarterback
I confess, this one is personal. When Carr played at my local university, he won just about every game and was the #1 NFL draft pick that year. Since then his pro career has been sadly disappointing. Unsupported by anything resembling a defense, he ended up setting records for quarterback sacks (his own) with the Houston Texans. Tall, handsome, and modest, Carr is an example of great grace under extraordinary pressure.
Free Agent – Safety
Look, this guy is darling. And he likes to take his clothes off for photographers. So what if he can’t find a job in football? He did pretty well with the Baltimore Ravens, but last played with the Houston Texans in 2007. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate. His San Diego home was featured on MTV’s Cribs. He owns Wet Willie’s, a San Diego bar and grill. Maybe he’s not technically a football player any more. But he’s cute as a button and staying in this list, so that’s that.
Free Agent – Quarterback
After becoming a free agent following the 2010 season, Edwards signed with the Oakland Raiders in July, but was released in September during final roster cuts. He won his first NFL regular season game with the Buffalo Bills, but things didn’t go so well after that. Prone to injury and concussion, Edwards’ play was considered inconsistent.
Arizona Cardinals – Wide Receiver
An exceptional college receiver, Fitzgerald astounded football fans when it was revealed that, in his fourth season with the Cardinals in 2008, had been playing at least the whole postseason with a broken left thumb as well as torn cartilage in the same hand. Nicknamed “Sticky Fingers”, Fitzgerald became the fifth highest paid player in football when he agreed to an eight year, $120 million contract extension in this past August.
Dwight Jason Freeney
Indianapolis Colts – Defensive End
This man with the very big guns has quite the dream job: he jumps on quarterbacks and takes them to the ground. He also has quite the mouth on him. After a devastating overtime playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers in 2009, Freeney emitted numerous expletives in public to complain about the on-field officials. The NFL slapped him with a $20,000 fine. Did I tell you he gets to grab quarterbacks and wrestle them to the ground?
Cleveland Browns – Linebacker
Fierce and dreamy, he looks like the guy on the Brawny paper towels. At 6’5” and 250 lbs., he fits the bill. Adopted by a Japanese-American father and a Caucasian mother, Fujita grew up in a traditional Japanese household, celebrating Japanese festivals and holidays. He says he is politically liberal, and has gone on record as a supporter of gay rights: “[I have] strong feelings about equal rights, and to me, expressing those feelings isn’t courageous, it’s the right thing to do.” See you at the next Pride parade, Scott.
Oakland Raiders – Quarterback
Few teams in the NFL are more confounding to their fans than the Oakland Raiders. Currently enjoying their first (barely) winning season in a long, long time, the Raiders have pinned their hopes on a third quarterback, longtime Cincinnati Bengals QB Palmer, who was acquired just weeks ago. Prone to injury and bad strategic choices, Palmer’s first time on the field was marred by a lack of preparation. Raider Nation may be in for a downturn.
Minnesota Vikings – Running Back
Peterson is one of the best players in football. He’s certainly one of the best looking. According to NFL.com, Peterson is ranked as the third best player in the NFL for the season, behind gorgeous Tom Brady and well, you know, Peyton Manning. Last September, the Vikings re-signed Peterson to a $100 million deal, making him the highest paid running back in NFL history.
New York Jets – Quarterback
As a quarterback, Sanchez is known for his fierce, competitive nature as well as his arm strength – he’s been compared to greats like Joe Namath and Joe Montana. Now a full-time New Yorker, Sanchez is an avid fan of musical theatre and was a presenter at the 2010 Tony Awards. Onstage at Radio City Music Hall, Sanchez said, “I’ve become a huge fan of musicals since I’ve come to New York, and I’ve taken some heat from guys on the team, believe me.” Perhaps we can get him into the next Hugh Jackman production?
Seattle Seahawks – Wide Receiver
There’s a delicious duality to Tate, because he swings between baseball, football and track. Drafted out of high school by the Arizona Diamondbacks, he decided instead to play baseball and football at Notre Dame University. In 2010, he was chosen in both MLB and NFL drafts: drafted by the San Francisco Giants (baseball) and the Seattle Seahawks (football). He chose football, though we’d be happy to see him switch teams again.
New England Patriots – Wide Receiver
At 5’9” he’d pretty much fit into any other players’ pocket, but absolutely darling Welker has improved his stats with each season, breaking records, winning Super Bowl rings, and running with the ball pretty much further than anyone else in football. Besides his crystal blue eyes, what else do I find endearing? The man was fined $10,000 by the NFL for celebrating a touchdown by lying down in the end zone snow and using his body to make a snow angel.