In Pickens County, S.C., a volunteer assistant high school football coach and newcomer to the county council is mulling a move up, to Congress.
Sam Wyche doesn’t have much of a political resume, but nearly every football fan in northwestern South Carolina knows his name. He’s the former head coach of Cincinnati Bengals – and that name recognition would certainly help in a crowded primary of six other Republicans to replace Rep. Gresham Barrett.
“It opens the door so you don’t need to explain who you are. I usually get more questions about coaching Joe Montana and Boomer Esiason – and then you’re off and running,” said Wyche, a pioneer of the high-speed, no-huddle offense.
If he runs, Wyche would be the latest candidate to go from the pro gridiron to campaign trial, in a year when at least three other NFL veterans have weighed a run for political office. And the men all have one thing in common — they’re Republicans, like nearly every professional football player or coach who has made a bid for elected office in recent years.
There’s something about football and the Grand Old Party, with a connection that dates back at least to President Richard Nixon famously drafting a trick play for the Washington Redskins under coach George Allen – who ran the commander-in-chief’s trick play for a crucial 13-yard loss. Allen’s son, also George, later became a Republican governor and senator from Virginia.
During the Republican wave in 1994, Seahawks Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Steve Largent was swept into Congress, as was former University of Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts. Both men were elected in Oklahoma, where they grew up and played in college.
Read the full article about GOP recruiting NFL at Politico