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The Curious Relationship Between WWE and the NFL

On paper, WWE wrestling and the NFL are two vastly different things, but they have a surprising amount of overlap when you delve a little deeper. Both sports rely heavily on strength and a dominant physique, with the same muscle groups used to complete wrestling throws or football tackles. Additionally, both types of athletes use more or less the same basic techniques when practicing these moves, so it’s unsurprising that many NFL players have historically gone on to wrestle for the WWE.

A new influx of WWE stars got us ruminating on the topic. There is still a fascinating relationship between these two sports, although fewer NFL players are switching to WWE these days. With NFL player contracts reaching ever-higher levels and the popularity of WWE wrestling waning in the face of things like UFC, there are numerous reasons why. Regardless, it’s about time we explored the unique and exciting relationship between WWE and the NFL. Keep reading for more!

When Was the NFL Established?

The inaugural NFL season was in 1920, overseen initially by the American Professional Football Conference. In their own words, the group wanted to “raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in forming schedules”. Fourteen teams took part in the launch season, with the Akron Pros taking the first-ever trophy.

The APFC changed its name to the NFL in 1922, also expanding the league and refining the fixture format. Over the following several decades, other competing leagues like the AFL were established. However, eventually, all were stamped out by the NFL or merged with it. Nowadays, 32 teams compete each season, divided into two conferences. 

History of WWE

WWE’s history doesn’t stretch back quite as far as the NFL, but it has still been around for a while. It is widely regarded to have been founded in 1953, first under the name Capitol Wrestling Foundation. It was rebranded as World Wide Wrestling Federation in 1963 before shortening to World Wrestling Federation in 1979. Finally, it became World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002.

Numerous legendary wrestlers have entered the ring over the last several decades. From Andre the Giant to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Rey Mysterio, there has been a wrestling star for almost every demographic and generation, from India to elsewhere.

Wrestlers Who Played in the NFL

To illustrate the closeness of WWE and the NFL, here are a few famous wrestlers who also played as professional football players:

  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan: An indisputable wrestling icon, Hacksaw Jim Duggan was ever-present for the WWF during the 1980s. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons, but injuries quickly ended his NFL career.
  • Steve “Mongo” McMichael: Competing in over 200 competitive fixtures for teams like the Chicago Bears, Steve “Mongo” McMichael is one of the most successful NFL professionals to switch to wrestling. After retiring from the NFL, he enjoyed considerable success in the World Championship Wrestling league. 
  • Mojo Rawley: Mojo Rawley had a promising NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals cut short by injury but resurrected his sporting passion by signing for the WWE.

Why are WWE and the NFL so close?

But what makes WWE and the NFL so close? Both sports place huge emphasis and importance on the physique, while many of the moves incorporate the same basic techniques and bodily movements.

WWE and the NFL also have close similarities regarding viewers and watching habits. Many sports enthusiasts are fans of both, paying top dollar for tickets to things like the Super Bowl and WrestleMania. You can also see clear similarities in betting habits, with sports bettors regularly placing bets on wrestling and football matches in India. Things like prop or money line bets work perfectly with both sports, and the familiarity of seeing former NFL players in WWE bouts can enhance sports betting success. Make sure you play at the top platforms for the most enjoyable experience. For example, at the best sports betting sites in India, players enjoy generous deposit bonuses, free bets, and more. Beginners also get guides on how bet slips work and what you need to do to register. The NFL and WWE have a close relationship in many areas, and betting is just one of many!

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