Football Players in World’s Strongest Man / NFL in WSM

Remember when the first annual World’s Strongest Man 1977 was initially designed to be a “friendly display of strength by invited athletes from several sports — e.g., powerlifting, weightlifting, bodybuilding, American football, wrestling, shot putting, and arm wrestling.”

It wasn’t that friendly since most athletes were very competitive and did the best they could to win.

Two factors were great about the first several years of the World’s Strongest Man contest:

  1. Every competitors were on an even playing field. All absolutely raw, unfamiliar and untrained for the events.
  2. The diversity of the competitors and their backgrounds.
The last point is the most interesting to me. A strength contest pitting the strongest athletes of every strength disciplines against one another. Wonderful!

Since NFL football is reputed to be a tough guys sport inhabited by strong, fast and explosive athletes. In the following post, I will search for all the NFL American pro football players who ever competed in the World’s Strongest Man (WSM), their stats and their performances.

Bob Young 

Offensive Guard
Born September 3, 1942 died June 17, 1995
NFL career: 1966-1981 

6’1″, 284 lbs

22-inch neck

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1977 (2nd) and 1979 (5th)

Bench Press: 500 lbs 
Squat: 800 lbs 
Deadlift: 800 lbs

He was the older brother of three-time world powerlifting champion Doug Young

1977 World’s Strongest Man review


Jon Kolb 

Offensive Tackle
Born August 30, 1947
NFL career: 1969-1981 (Pittsburg Steelers)

261 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1978 (4th) and 1979 (4th)

Bench Press:500 lbs 

Squat: 600 lbs 

During his playing days, Kolb was widely regarded as one of the strongest men in the NFL and played like the strongest one.

In the WSM, he was noted for his athleticism and tremendous grip with his long hands.

John Matuszak 

Defensive end
Born October 25, 1950 died June 17, 1989
NFL career: 1973-1981

6’8″, 309 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest  – 1978 (9th)

John was the Wisconsin Class A state champion in the shot put with a throw of 58 feet 11 inches.

He was also famous for his partying and endless use of painkillers and other drugs.

In 2005, Sports Illustrated named him one of the top five all-time “bad boys” of the NFL.

Matuszak became a fairly successful actor in the 1980s, making appearances in movies and on television.

The perfect gay bear wet-dream, hairy and bearded, John Matuszak posed in Playgirl in 1982.

Died of a prescription drug overdose on June 17, 1989. 

Craig Wolfley 

Offensive Lineman

Born May 19, 1958
NFL career: 1980-1991 

6’1″, 285 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1981 (5th)

Came 2nd in the Sumo challenge.

  • A real Strength Fighter, in addition to football, Wolfley competed in weight lifting, boxing, sumo wrestling and martial arts.
  • In 1985, Wolfley placed second in the first professional sumo wrestling tournament ever held in North America.
  • In 2002, Wolfley lost a four round boxing match to Butterbean.
  • He also holds a black belt in Jiu Jitsu.

Keith Bishop 

Offensive Linesman
Born March 10, 1957 
NFL career: 1980-1989 (Denver Broncos) 

6’3″, 285 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1981 (6th)

Won the sumo challenge.

Curt Marsh 

Offensive Tackle
Born August 25, 1959
NFL career: 1981-1987

6’6″, 285 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1982 (6th)

Won the Sumo wrestling event against none other than Bill Kazmaier.

He underwent more than 20 surgeries for football-related injuries, including a foot amputation, which he attributes to inadequate medical care.

Jim Hough

Guard (Offensive Lineman)
Born August 4, 1956

6’2″, 270 lbs, age 25-26.

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1982 (9th)

Played 9 seasons (1978-1986) for the NFL Minnesota Vikings.

Ross Browner  

Defensive end
Born March 22, 1954
NFL career: 1978-1987

6’3″, 250 lbs

World’s Strongest Man contest – 1982 (10th)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap