Super Bowl LI flush with multiple-sport athletesA strong majority of the players competing in next month’s Super Bowl were multiple-sport athletes in high school, according to TrackingFootball.com.
The website’s research found that 94 (88.7%) of the 106 players on the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots rosters competed in sports outside of football. Basketball and track and field were the most popular sports away from the gridiron.The numbers are similar to last year’s Super Bowl between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. That game featured 88% multi-sport athletes. TrackingFootball.com has a great breakdown of this year’s rosters and what sports each player participated in.
It’s no secret that specialization is a big issue in youth and high school sports, with an overwhelming majority of experts agreeing that multi-sport participation is better for athletes. Regardless, young athletes continue to specialize based on poor advice from parents or even coaches who believe it strengthens their chances of earning a scholarship and playing at the next level.
Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and pro athletes like J.J. Watt and Giancarlo Stanton have spoken out against specialization. Last year, the NCAA published a study that found most athletes who played just one sport later regretted it.
Click here for more on this year’s Super Bowl players.