By Ryan Bologna
There are a ton of cases of athletes having successful second careers. Michael Strahan is a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame and there are a good amount of people who only know him from hosting Good Morning America. There are countless other athletes who have successfully transitioned into sports media. Some of the most interesting stories are of former professional athletes who have ventured into the sports betting world. With the growth of the industry these stories will become more common, but here are some former athletes who have already found success.
Pat McAfee is arguably known more for his current career than he was for playing in the NFL. He spent eight seasons with the Indianapolis Colts as a punter. He made just over $15 million in his NFL career. That is not bad, but he recently secured a sponsorship from FanDuel Sportsbook that pays him $120 million over four years. That means in one year he will get paid about double the amount he was paid during his whole career.
McAfee did not get into gambling until after he retired from the NFL. Now he is very knowledgeable regarding the subject and openly talks about it every day on “The Pat McAfee Show” which is widely successful. FanDuel promotes his parlays on its platform as well.
WELCOME TO THE PARTY NEW YORK…
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 6, 2022
It was a bit of a surprise when McAfee retired from football at the age of 29, but it has certainly been the right move. After a short stint at Barstool Sports, McAfee has made a better living in the betting space than he did when he was an NFL player.
Like McAfee, Trevor Plouffe put together a respectable athletic career. The California native played eight seasons in MLB, mostly with the Minnesota Twins. Many baseball fans knew of him, but he is currently at the forefront of baseball media.
Plouffe is a cohost of the “Talkin’ Baseball” podcast, which is the number one ranked podcast in the category. He is also an investor in Jomboy Media, which has proven to be a wise decision. But where does the betting component come in?
DraftKings is an official partner of Jomboy Media. At the beginning of each baseball season, the Talkin’ Baseball crew does an episode detailing their favorite futures bets for the season. DraftKings featured Plouffe’s World Series pick for 2022.
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) April 6, 2022
Why is that significant? Before Opening Day in 2021, Plouffe tweeted his World Series prediction of the Atlanta Braves over the Houston Astros in six games. As we all know, that was exactly what happened.
Atlanta Braves over the Houston Astros in 6.
— Coach Trev (@trevorplouffe) March 31, 2021
Jomboy Media is a baseball company, but they embrace the gambling aspect as much as any. Plouffe was viewed as a decent MLB player, but he has become much more than that due to his role in the company.
Darius Butler is another athlete that has embraced sports betting. He played nine seasons in the NFL as a cornerback — mostly with the Colts. While he is not as widely known as his former teammate McAfee, he has found a home in sports media.
Butler cohosts “The Man To Man Pod” with Antoine Bethea, another former NFL defensive back. The two give insights into aspects of the NFL that fans are unaware of. Butler often appears on “The Pat McAfee Show” as well.
Connecticut launched sports betting in 2021 and Butler was an integral part of promoting it for FanDuel. He played college football at UConn and was in attendance when FanDuel opened a sportsbook at Mohegan Sun in the state.
Butler often discusses sports betting on his podcast with Bethea. The two went deep into the subject when it came to Calvin Ridley getting suspended by the NFL. His Twitter feed often features betting advice in partnership with FanDuel during the football season.
Gotta bet with my mind and not my heart tonight. Patriots have won and covered the spread in 7 straight games.
They say “the trend is your friend”.
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) December 18, 2021
All three of these guys have significantly elevated their popularity by embracing the world of sports betting. It would be wise for current journeymen athletes in all sports to get familiar with sports betting, because it could be an asset to them when their playing days are over.
Photo Credit: Ian D’Andrea