Meet The Women Behind The NFL’s Playoff Quarterbacks

Earlier this week Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers found himself in the news for something other than his performance on the gridiron. The internet rumor mill declared Rodgers and actress Olivia Munn were engaged. Munn has since denied the engagement to be true.

While this personal news for the happy couple really isn’t anyone’s business, it is a friendly reminder that behind every great NFL player is a great woman. Here are the first ladies of the remaining playoff quarterbacks:

Olivia Munn, Green Bay Packers

While Rodgers will be making headlines for as long as the Packers are in the playoffs, Munn is no stranger to the spotlight. Perhaps most known for her role as Sloan Sabbith on the short-lived HBO series The Newsroom, Munn will be hitting the big screen this weekend in Ride Along 2.

Shaelyn Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer’s Cardinals are picked by many as the Super Bowl favorites, which must make Shaelyn proud. After meeting during freshmen orientation at USC, the Palmers have been married for 12 years and have two children. Shaelyn is no slouch when it comes to athletics, as she was the starting goalie on the women’s soccer team during her time as a Trojan.

Ciara, Seattle Seahawks

Long before Russell Wilson was even a footnote in American pop culture, Ciara was a radio darling with tracks like “1,2 Step” and “Goodies.” Even with his sights set on a third straight Super Bowl appearance, Wilson is quick to defend is bae from the haters. Talk about a power couple.

Kia Proctor, Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton is arguably playing the best football of his life. He also just had a baby boy with longtime girlfriend Proctor. Proctor’s claim to fame is that of the adult variety, having spent time as a stripper in the D.C. area. Chosen is probably wondering which one of his parents will be the first to get a ring.

Elizabeth Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

Smith must be proud of her man for leading the Chiefs to the second round of the playoffs after starting the season 1–5. It’s the first time she’s been tied to above-average football, having spent her cheerleading career with the Oakland Raiders. Off the gridiron the Smiths have been happily married for six years and have two boys.

Gisele Bündchen, New England Patriots

Regardless of when the Patriots exit the playoffs, Tom Brady will forever be in the discussion for greatest of all time. But, we already knew that. We didn’t know, until now, that the man has never had a cup of coffee. It’s fitting that he married the former Victoria’s Secret Angel. Bündchen might too be the greatest of all time.

Ashley Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben isn’t the only athlete in the family. Harlan played softball in college at St. Francis University. Quite the genes for their two children. There’s no guarantee that Roethlisberger will play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday after confirming torn ligaments in his throwing shoulder. The physician assistant in Harlan might have something to say if the Steelers put her husband on the field.

Ashley Manning, Denver Broncos

Thompson has a lot more to cheer about now that her husband, Peyton Manning, is back on the field. Just like Brady, Manning will forever be in the discussion of the greatest of all time. Thompson and Manning wed in 2001 and had their twins in 2011. Other than being married to one of the most famous men in sports, Thompson is known around the league as aphilanthropist.

A version of this story was originally published on January 14, 2016 on Slant.

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