Elvis Presley loved football. He obsessed over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. He would sometimes watch three football games at once. The King loved the sport so much he once bought every ticket to his high school alma mater’s home game for a particularly noble cause.
Elvis played football while at Humes High in Memphis, Tenn. It started his life-long love affair with the sport.
“The thing I keep up with most is professional football,” he said. “I know all the players. I know all their numbers, who they play for. I’ve had people quiz me on it, just in games when we’ve got nothing to do. And that’s a big thing with me right now.
“I watch all the games that I can. I get the films from the teams themselves if I can. But next to the entertainment thing, and music, that I guess, would be the biggest [interest].”
The game meant so much to him that he spent $10,000 in today’s money to pay every ticket to a Humes High home game. He didn’t want the students to have to pay for them. So, he paid more than $1,000 to buy the more than 1,4000 tickets to the game and give them to the student body for the E.H. Crump memorial game on Nov. 30, 1956. Elvis, who was only three years removed from high school, attended the game too.
Elvis Presley Brought Football With Him Everywhere
When he wasn’t watching football, he was playing it. Elvis Presley had weekly touch football games at his Graceland mansion. He even broke a finger in 1960 squaring off against some member of the Memphis Mafia, the Express said. Michael Landon even showed up to play in the games. Even while working, Elvis kept a football nearby in case he wanted to have a game of catch with a co-star or friend.
A young Kurt Russell threw the pigskin around with Elvis in between filming scenes for the 1963 movie It Happened at the World’s Fair. Russell, who was only 10 at the time, kicked Elvis in the shin for the film. But The King liked him, and they hung out a few times. He even got to see what life was like for Presley.
Russell told Art of the Steal that he was stunned watching the sea of girls waiting outside for Elvis. He couldn’t believe how vicious things got whenever The King made an appearance.
“To a 10-year-old kid, it’s like ‘What are they doing? What are they thinking?’ He came out later, through a different way, and he’s just this really nice guy,” Russell said. “I was just this kid and I asked him ‘What’s the deal with all those girls jumping on your car?’ He could see that I was just this innocent kid and responded with ‘Ah they get crazy.’ I told him ‘You should never come in that way again, you know.’ So I remember that. I remembered him having his car completely jumped up with girls.’”