Super Bowl Players and Their Racehorse Equivalents

Pop Culture

Super Bowl players and racehorses have more in common than you might think. (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire/Wikimedia Commons)

Super Bowl week is in full swing, and it coincides with the start of Triple Crown season in the world of horse racing. While the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos prepare to face off in San Francisco this Sunday, horse owners and trainers from coast to coast are looking for races to run with their best 3-year-old horses on the Derby trail.

Just as there are parallels between the NFL and horse racing, in general, so too are there similarities between the players who will compete in the big game on Sunday and some of the brightest stars in horse racing. Just for fun, we put together a list some of the players who will be in the Super Bowl, along with their horse racing equivalent. 

Cam Newton (Panthers quarterback) and American Pharoah

Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons Eclipse Sportswire

Cam Newton had a breakout year in 2015 and has quickly become the face of the NFL. Likewise, American Pharoah burst onto the scene and became the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Cam has also been known to showboat a little bit, yet he’s very well liked for his compassion toward children, whom he awards with game balls after every touchdown the Panthers score. Similarly, American Pharoah toyed with his competition in 2015, perhaps even showing off at times. When it comes to the fans, American Pharoah is always great to children and people of all ages who’ve been fortunate enough to meet him. 

Peyton Manning (Broncos quarterback) and The Pizza Man 

Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons Eclipse Sportswire

I couldn’t resist making this comparison. Aside from being one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Peyton Manning will forever be linked to Papa John’s pizza, for which he’s been a spokesman and franchisee since 2012. Who better to cast as his racing counterpart than Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man? An unlikely star bred in Illinois by his owners, The Pizza Man is coming off a spectacular year in which he earned more than a million dollars. As for Peyton, he has defied all limitations, coming back from injury to lead his team to the Super Bowl just months before his 40th birthday. Both Peyton and The Pizza Man (get ready for it) have certainly delivered, time and time again!

Luke Kuechly (Panthers linebacker) and Keen Ice 

Sgt. Alexander Martinez via Wikimedia Commons Eclipse Sportswire

There’s one thing that Kuechly and Keen Ice have in common - they’ve both played the spoiler in a big way in recent months. After snagging four interceptions in the regular season, Kuechly helped spoil the Super Bowl dreams of the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks with two more clutch interceptions in the playoffs. As for Keen Ice, he dashed the hopes of a perfect 2015 for Triple Crown winner American Pharoah when he spoiled Pharoah’s party at the Travers at Saratoga this past summer, rallying from off the pace to beat the champ at the wire.

Von Miller (Broncos linebacker) and Mohaymen

Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons Eclipse Sportswire

No one is having a bigger postseason than Von Miller, who has already racked up seven sacks and an interception in the playoffs. He’s widely considered one of the fastest rising stars in the NFL. As quickly as Miller has ascended in the ranks of football’s elite, so too has Shadwell Stable’s Mohaymen. One of the early leaders on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, Mohaymen cruised victory in one of the first major Derby preps this past weekend, the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream. Like Miller heading into the Super Bowl, expectations are high for Mohaymen as he sets his sights on horse racing’s biggest stage. 

Thomas Davis (Panthers linebacker) and Juba

U.S. Army National Guard/
Sgt. Leticia Samuels 
via Wikimedia Commons

Eclipse Sportswire

It’s hard to come back from injury and compete at a high level but that’s what Thomas Davis has done repeatedly, and he’s become a fan favorite in the process. Davis has torn his ACL three times, broken his arm and dislocated a finger. He’s battled through it and was just awarded the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. In racing, many horses have overcome injuries to find success on the track but few have done it with the same amount of public support as Centennial Farms’ Juba. The striking gray became one of the most-followed horses in racing after suffering a condylar fracture, which sidelined him for more than a year. While he was working his way back, the horse kept everyone posted on his progress through his Twitter account. It totally resonated with racing fans who have been drawn to the horse, his comeback, and his Twitter feed ever since.

Aqib Talib (Broncos cornerback) and Page McKenney

By Jeffrey Beall via
Wikimedia Commons
Eclipse Sportswire

A one-time “bad boy” in the NFL, Aqib Talib has grown into one of the most respected and fiercest cornerbacks in the game. He’s now one of the defensive leaders of the AFC champion Broncos and the immaturity of his early years—which were filled with legal issues—seem behind him. Horse racing also has its late bloomers and there’s perhaps no other story more remarkable than that of Page McKenney. In fact, the horse lost his first 12 races, and 14 of his first 15 races. But in the middle of 2014, the light just went on and Page McKenney has been nearly unbeatable ever since. With his win in the Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park earlier this month, he went over the million-dollar mark (very rare for a horse bred in Pennsylvania with modest pedigree) and, like Talib, he seems to be getting better with age.

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