Cigar Smoking Football Players: 7 Football Brothers of the Leaf
Cigars and football are probably the best two things to get together since the Peanut Butter people got together with the Jelly and Bread crowd. And the guys who suit up each week are no exception – while some players only light the occasional victory cigar, others (like these 7) are known as much for their love of cigars as for their love of the game. Of course, the list is much longer – but according to Rule 5, Section 4, Article 9 of the NFL’s player conduct policy (“GENERAL APPEARANCE”) chances are you won’t see any current cigar smoking football players fire up anywhere near the field: “Consistent with the equipment and uniform rules of this Section 4, players must otherwise present a professional and appropriate appearance while before the public on game-day. Among the types of activities that are prohibited are use of tobacco products (smokeless included) while in the bench area and use of facial makeup.” It’s actually a 15 yard Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty. And given the NFL being so demanding about the upkeep of their image, it’s likely you won’t see our cigar smoking football players set flame to foot off the field, either – they’re playing it safe. So in honor of Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest football holiday of the year, and one of the all-time greatest herf days in sports, we present to you…7 cigar smoking football players, Brothers of the Leaf one and all:
“Cigars are my escape from stress. When I’m smoking, it’s a delicious moment, like watching the ocean, enjoying some soft jazz.” Not surprising when talking about cigars; surprising that they came from…Mean Joe Greene. A pro scout once said of Mean Joe, “He’s tough and mean and comes to hit people. He has good killer instincts. He’s mobile. And hostile.” Twice the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, offenses would actually triple team the guy – he was that tough. The centerpiece of the Steel Curtain, Greene played his entire 12 year career in the ‘burgh and helped the team to 4 Super Bowls, earning him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His part in Smokey & the Bandit II is just icing on the cake.
It’s an honor to be named a two-time NFL All-Pro Linebacker; it’s legendary to be called “the Meanest Man in Football.” Bramlett earned his nickname while playing baseball in Canada, running through a wooden fence after catching a foul ball down the third base line; he was subsequently banned from pro baseball after a bar fight in Florida. The Bull moved back to football (he played for Memphis State), signing with Denver and making the Pro Bowl. Aggressive both on and off the field, it was his 2-season stint with the Boston Patriots that cemented his tough guy image. After spending 7 years in football with 4 teams, the Bull would not be tamed until he retired, abandoning his wild lifestyle and becoming active in Christian ministry.
One glance at the stats reveals Randy Moss to be more machine than man: Most TD receptions in a season (23), most TD receptions by a rookie in a season (17), second on the NFL’s all-time regular season touchdown reception list (156), youngest player to reach 6,000 career receiving yards, fastest player to reach 5,000 career receiving yards (59 games)…the list is lengthy. Love him or hate him (probably because he didn’t play for your team), Randy is a bona fide legend and Brother of the Leaf. But the Lambeau-mooning 14 year vet-turned-Fox Sports analyst is the fishing buddy you could only dream of having. That’s right – while freakishly gifted on the field, give the man a fishing pole and a smoke and he’s a happy dude.
If intensity has a face, it looks like Ron “the Polish Rifle” Jaworski. He was an “iron man” before there was such a thing: most consecutive starts by a quarterback (later broken by Brett Favre), and most regular season touchdowns (170) in Philly franchise history until Donovan McNabb came along. Oh, and this 1980 Pro Bowler made the Eagles relevant again. You’ve already heard the jokes about how much game tape he watches at ESPN – so no doubt Jaws knows the relaxation inside a cigar. And he’s turned it into charity work, co-hosting Cigars With The Stars with Coach Ditka, where ticketholders can spend time with the biggest names in football, smoke premium cigars and support a multitude of worthy causes during Super Bowl Weekend.
Dick Butkus’ job on the field was simple – separate you from the ball, and destroy you while doing it. He’d just rip it out of your hands. Even though the Bears lost almost twice as many games as they won, he earned on-field cred as one of the meanest players on the team – leading Chicago in forced fumbles and recoveries, as well as tackles and interceptions. A Bears lifer from 1965 – 1973, this C.A.O. Brazilia cigar lover was anointed the “Most Feared Man in the Game” by Sports Illustrated in 1970.
No list in football is complete unless Mike Ditka is on it. Consider the resume: one of only 2 people to win a Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach; the first tight end to be inducted into the Hall of Fame; About his love for smokes, Iron Mike has been quoted as saying “there are no bad cigars”; witness the Throwback and 89 Special Edition from Camacho. About love for fellow coaches, well…let’s just say that the competitive atmosphere around the ’85 Bears was so intense, Ditka and his D-coordinator Buddy Ryan actually got into a fistfight on the sideline during Monday Night Football. His temper may run hot, but he’s one of the all-time greatest.
It pains me to say it, but Terry got into cigars by being a mooch. As the story goes, Steelers owner Art Rooney gave his 1st round draft pick a smoke from his humidor; not long after, Bradshaw could be found heisting cigars from the boss’s stash on a frequent basis. But if your star QB delivers 4 Lombardi trophies and is twice the Super Bowl MVP, you just don’t care. Terry had of the strongest arms in the game – a contrast to his choice of cigar (he supposedly prefers milder cigars, like the Griffins), which he frequently has lit while watching game film.
Who else would you add to the list of Cigar Smoking Football Players? Which of these pros would you want to smoke a cigar with? Comment below…