|Redskins fans at FedEx Field in December 2005 (1).|
Corporations often pay NFL superstars significant amounts of money to market their products on television, by radio, or over the Internet. The media loves these athletes as well; one can routinely find an interesting personal story about a particular NFL player on a TV show or in a news article.
Sometimes, an athlete's mother is able to use her son's star power to attract America's attention, as demonstrated by these five women:
Donovan McNabb, who has quarterbacked for the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, and Minnesota Vikings, may no longer be one of the most popular players in the NFL. However, his mother is still a household name thanks to her participation in Campbell's Chunky Soup commercials. Per T.V. Guide, an actress played the part of McNabb's mother during the first year these advertisements appeared on television; however, that fact does not diminish Wilma McNabb's popularity.
Leigh Anne Tuohy
Millions of Americans probably recognize the name, Leigh Anne Tuohy. As Oprah.com notes, Leigh Anne and her husband took in Michael Oher when he was a homeless high school student and later adopted him. Oher went on to become a star football player at the University of Mississippi and was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft by the Baltimore Ravens; he currently plays offensive tackle for the team. Tuohy became a household name when a movie detailing Michael Oher's life, "The Blind Side," hit theaters in 2009.
Millions of Americans are acquainted with Olivia Manning, who is the mother of two star quarterbacks--future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who now plays for the Denver Broncos, and Eli Manning, whose New York Giants won the Super Bowl this past February. Fox News thought that Olivia Manning was popular enough to dedicate an entire article to her favorite recipes.
Tim Tebow, a quarterback who was recently traded to the New York Jets by the Denver Broncos, is one of the most recognized names in the NFL. According to The Denver Post, Pamela Tebow, Tim's mother, is also well-known. Millions of Americans became acquainted with her when she and her son starred "in a controversial [anti-abortion] Focus on the Family television commercial during the 2010 Super Bowl." As the article notes, Pamela is popular enough with at least some segments of the American public to "pull in crowds around the country as she takes her message of preventing abortions to the masses."
Like Michael Oher, Jimmy Graham, a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, had a difficult childhood. Per NBC Sports, he was abused by his family and ended up in a foster home. Becky Vinson took Graham into her household and eventually adopted him. She is popular with the media, having been mentioned in numerous stories that focus on Graham's life, including (per the aforementioned NBC Sports article) a USA Network special that aired in February of this year.
For the record, the author loves the NFL and is a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, he does not personally know any of these players or their mothers, nor does he work for any NFL franchise.
1. Photographer: Kevin Coles (kcjc009)
Date: December 24, 2005
Title/Description: Washington Redskins fans at FedEx Field in December 2005.
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
(click on the title/link for photo, credits, permissions).
-- Anthony Hopper
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