Headbanger's Football: A Heavy Metal Fantasy Draft

Free Reign — which contains three former NFL players — is a key part of our heavy metal fantasy team.EXPAND
Free Reign — which contains three former NFL players — is a key part of our heavy metal fantasy team.
Screenshot from the "One Step Away" music video

In 2012, I wrote a New Times story about the perfect heavy metal soundtrack for football season — but it wasn’t focused on all the cliché songs that you hear over and over again on the field, from Drowning Pool’s “Bodies” to Guns N' Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” Sure, heavy metal songs have always been in strong presence at football games. But I was focused on the songs that should be played; the ones that truly make that fire rise up within you while gunning your your fav team. 

The game of football and heavy metal have great fondness for each other. Hell, now we’ve got the Los Angeles Kiss arena football spectacle. And since I have great fondness for both, this year’s fantasy draft got me thinking: what about a heavy metal fantasy draft, compiled of players, past and present, who have been known to support — and perform — heavy metal?

So to all the other avid football fans out there (Go Chiefs! — yup, that’s right), here’s a lineup of some heavy metal ballers.

Disclaimer: Yes, this is unrealistic since it’s near impossible to create a lineup with all the specific players needed for a fantasy team — not too mention half the players are retired — but put down your competitive guard for one minute and have some fun.

And is it really surprising that the majority of heavy metal-lovin’ NFL players are offensive lineman? 

There’s no doubt quarterback Doug Flutie would bring some killer classic rock repertoire. From 1985 to 2005, Flutie played in the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots, and now he works as a college football analyst for NBC Sports.

Flutie started the Flutie Brothers Band with his bro Darren on guitar, and they rock out hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and a few from the ‘90s. Not only have they released two albums, but they also wrote and recorded the Saturday Night Football theme song. Over the years, an array of impressive hard rock/metal musicians have joined the Flutie Brothers Band on stage, including members of Bon Jovi, Boston, Skid Row, Foreigner, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith. 

The offensive line of this team would be far be the most filled out. Score a triple-player pick up with the members of Free Reign, also known as the most successful heavy metal crossover act in the NFL. These three players bring an array of positives to the table, including discipline, passion for heavy metal, and an actual musical skill set.

Free Reign consists of current Dallas Cowboys assistant coach and former offensive tackle Marc Colombo (also a former Chicago Bear and Miami Dolphin); Leonard Davis, also a former Dallas Cowboy, who also had a deal with the 49ers as a free agent and was part of the team that reached Superbowl XLVII; and former Miami Dolphin lineman Cory Procter, who also appeared on Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. Also rounded out by non-footballer Justin Chapman, this band has actually made an impression in the heavy metal world.

In addition to winning the "Most Metal Athletes" award at the Golden Gods Awards a few years ago, Free Reign have put out two releases, 2010’s Tragedy and 2011’s Heavier Than Metal.

Then we’ve got Larry Lee, who played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and the Denver Broncos, helping Denver win the AFC Championship in 1987. He became the VP of the Detroit Lions until 2001, and after leaving he took his passion for playing bass and started the Back in the Day Band.

Comprised of former members of The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Spinners, The Dramatics, The Contours, and the The Funk Brothers, collectively this act has performed at some of the most incredible venues around the world, giving them lots of music industry experience. Not only that, but, known as Detroit’s party band, the band’s style could add a little flavor to the heavy metal lineup, with elements of blues, funk, and high-energy soul.

And then we’ve got offensive lineman Kyle Turley, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, and Kansas City Chiefs. While I am a huge fan of Southern rock meets heavy metal, which is what Turley describes his own solo music as, I’d be lying if I said I was a fan of this.

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However, he brings in that true football crossover element. One of the songs is about NFL players who’ve suffered traumatic injuries, and he has a record label called Gridiron Records. He’s got a professional element, but also that cliché: his first album name? Anger Management.

On to picking a punter, shall we? Enter former Oakland Raider Chris Kluwe, who plays bass for the Minneapolis progressive metal band Tripping Icarus. Not only is his bass skill set solid, the band’s two releases show potential and passion. Plus, he knows how to work the ranks: He once made a deal with Donovan McNabb when he was traded to the Vikings that, in exchange for the number 5 jersey, McNabb would namedrop Tripping Icarus at an array of press conferences.

When it comes to a defensive lineup, there are actually some good picks. Former Denver Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce, in between winning back-to-back Super Bowls, taught himself piano and bass. He began recording music off his independent label, Outlook Music, and has been writing music, screenplays and television shows since retiring in 2010.

Now this might not have to do with heavy metal—but every “band” needs it’s security right?

At a Zac Brown Band concert a month ago, a fan jumped on stage for a few moments of glory. Suddenly, he was tackled by a 6’5”, 285 pound security guard—er, defensive end that was standing on the side of the stage. JJ Watt from the Houston Texans seemed to want to help out, or maybe the passion for the music just overtook him. Or maybe he just wanted to start his season off with a lead in tackles.

And last but not least, he may not play music, but he has a breadth of knowledge and regularly interviews rockers on his podcast. Green Bay Packers linebacker AJ Hawk is known as one of the biggest fans of metal, particularly Pantera and Metallica. I mean, he named his kids Lennon and Hendrix, for God’s sake. A few months ago, he was released after a nine-year run with the Packers, and left as the franchise’s career tackles leader with 1,118.

Happy football trails, metalheads!

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