NFL player Rashad Jennings becomes the 18th NFL player (former or active) to participate on “Dancing with the Stars.” Out of the 17 past stars to compete, eight have made it to the finals with three of them winning: Emmitt Smith with Cheryl Burke (season three), Hines Ward with Kym Johnson (season 12) and Donald Driver with Peta Murgatroyd (season 14). But no footballer has won in the last nine seasons. Can Rashad break this dry spell and become the fourth to win?
The new season starts on March 20, so before he and his competitors hit the dance floor let’s consider the pros and cons.
Rashad has a strong chance of becoming the male celebrity to break through a field of more skilled female stars. What sets him apart from the competition is his charming personality, which helped Smith win the competition over the more technically skilled dancer Mario Lopez in season three.
Another benefit that will help Rashad is that his athleticism will help him sustain his stamina as the competition becomes more intense. Driver displayed this perfectly; he continued to get stronger each week and was able to beat out top scorers like opera singer Katherine Jenkins and actor William Levy.
In most other seasons Jennings would most certainly be a lock for a place in the finals. But I think the stacked competition from the women this season will be a challenge for him.
Jennings also lacks the instant name recognition of past football players like Smith, Ward, Jerry Rice and Calvin Johnson.
Jennings’s partner, Lindsay Arnold, has yet to claim the Mirror Ball Trophy despite two appearances in the finals: season 21 with Alex Skarlatos and last season with Calvin Johnson.
What do you think of Jennings’s chances this season? Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click “Save” when you’ve settled on your choices. You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate, bragging rights and a place of honor on our leaderboard. Our racetrack odds change as you make your predictions, just as they do when you bet on the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes and more. Be sure to read our contest rules and sound off on the season of “Dancing with the Stars” in our reality TV forum.