Dancing with the Stars has always been fond of NFL players. Starting with Jerry Rice finishing in second place in season 2 and Emmitt Smith winning season 3, NFL stars appeared in 13 out of the first 17 seasons of the show. But in recent years, the NFL and DWTS have parted ways. Keyshawn Johnson, who was eliminated first in season 17, was the last NFL player to compete on the show (not counting Michael Sam, the openly gay college football player who never made it into the NFL).
So perhaps Dancing with the Stars is overcorrecting for the lack of NFL players in the past four seasons, because now comes news that a THIRD professional football player will be competing on season 22.
According to PureDWTS, Doug Flutie will join current NFL stars Von Miller and Antonio Brown on Dancing with the Stars season 22. He will be partnered with Karina Smirnoff.
Flutie played in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League, though he initially rose to fame as the Heisman-winning quarterback for Boston College. His Hail Mary pass in a 1984 game is iconic for football fans.
Smirnoff’s last NFL partner was Jacobey Jones in season 16, with the two going all the way to third place. However, Flutie is retired, so keeping up with younger stars like Von Miller and Antonio Brown, still in their prime, might be more difficult. Also, in her last three seasons, Karina has been eliminated very early, never even making the Top 10.
In addition to the third NFL player, it’s also being reported that Facts of Life star Kim Fields, previously announced as a contestant, will be partnered with Sasha Farber. This is a big turn for Farber, whose only other experience as a pro partner was with Snooki in season 17. Since then, he’s been stuck in the troupe (or in a crab costume).
With these two couples, we’re now up to a total of 10 pairs that we know of for Dancing with the Stars season 22. The others are:
–The O.C. star Mischa Barton and Artem Chigvintsev
-Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller and Witney Carson
–Donald Trump’s ex-wife Marla Maples and Tony Dovolani
-NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess
–Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee and Val Chmerkovskiy
–Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe
–Deaf America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd
-UFC fighter Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Given recent seasons, there will be at least two more male stars (one paired with returning pro Edyta Sliwinka and the other most likely with Lindsay Arnold) and possibly a 13th couple with either a male or female star.
The full cast of Dancing with the Stars season 22 will be officially revealed Tuesday, March 8 on Good Morning America. The competition begins Monday, March 21 at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of Twitter)