Finally. Our favorite time of the season. This is the day we buy 50 six packs of Budweiser, a truck load of pork rinds, 23 containers of french onion dip, and settle in for one of the most exciting games of the year. Okay, maybe not. This journalist may not know f*** all about football, but I did my damndest to bring you some of the best info out there about the Super Bowl, past and present, and football tattoos.
It's no surprise that sports and tattoo communities intersect. From football to basketball, and even curling, sports stars love to show their devotion to a variety of things via ink. In this guide to (almost) everything Super Bowl tattoo related we cover famous tattooed football heroes, their fans, and even the tattoos we'll see during the halftime show.
So, no one can really judge whether a tattoo is good or bad, especially if we take into consideration the emotional attachment a client can have with their ink. But, to be sure, there are some terrible football tattoos out there. In fact, some of those tattoos are on the NFL players themselves. You sort of have to wonder why, when most of these guys are making millions, they would go to their bros who work out of their living room, rather than hit up a professional. Or maybe it's because football pro's are constantly on the road, so it's sort of hard to plan around that. But, honestly, we hope they start using Tattoodo to book their tattoos like you do so we can start applauding the artists rather than shaming the players.
But, again, you can't really judge. Plus, we wouldn't want to sound like that jerk in 2012 who compared Colin Kaepernick to a tattooed jail bird at San Quentin saying, "...pretty sure less than 1.3 percent of NFL quarterbacks have tattoos. There’s a reason for that. NFL quarterback is the ultimate position of influence and responsibility. He is the CEO of a high-profile organization, and you don’t want your CEO to look like he just got paroled." Thankfully the internet was swift to serve up some righteous verbal ass kicking, and many football fans voiced super positive opinions about tattooing in the world of sports.
Most people have some sort of meaning lingering behind their piece, and NFL heroes are no different. Even fans who get football tattoos are clearly showing their love and devotion for the sport. Some people dig pop culture icons, like Josh Gordon who has a Spike Lee portrait, or Devin Thomas who is obviously an admirer of anime. His back is home to a giant portrait of Goku from Dragon Ball Z. Gotta give props to any dude down to show his devotion to #nerdlife.
Many footballers have tattoos that show off their religion, or are homages to their family. Some have pieces that are full of positive affirmations, whether in words, design, or meaning. Ethan Westbrooks stated that he got a face tattoo because he never wanted to have a regular job, and it made him go for what he dreamed of: superstar NFL status. Sports Illustrated did the leg work and compiled a pretty complete list of NFL players and the meaning behind their ink...you'll find that much of it is, as you would expect, personal and positive.
The 2019 Super Bowl will also host Maroon 5 along with Travis Scott and Big Boi for the half time show. No shock here that Scott, Levine, and Big Boi all sport ink of their own...Levine is well-known for his tattoos and, since the singer purportedly spends most of his time in the nude, we have tons of internet trolls gathering photos for you to droll over. Levine actually said once, “I often have to be told by the people around me that it’s inappropriate to be as naked as I am.” He must be mistaken. I'm sure no one is complaining...
While Big Boi opened up to GQ to share all the intimate details behind his work, Travis Scott visited one of Los Angeles's best tattoo artists Scott Campbell to get a beautiful minimal tribal scalp piece. More and more rappers, singers, and starlets are getting their head decorated with ink; New York Times even stated that face tattoos are now mainstream.
If you're not totally stoked on the music set to blast off during half time, perhaps the fact that fans are convinced Travis Scott will be proposing to Kylie Jenner during the Super Bowl will be of interest to you.
No? Me either. Moving on.
In another sports meets tattoos story thats hit the news stands earlier last year, it seems video game developers are now getting sued for replicating sports stars pieces! It may be a surprise for many people to hear that their ink doesn't actually really belong to them. Crazy idea, right? But unfortunately, via the NY Times, "Any creative illustration 'fixed in a tangible medium' is eligible for copyright, and, according to the United States Copyright Office, that includes the ink displayed on someone’s skin." So, technically, you don't own your tattoos...the artist does.
Many video game producers are facing charges from multiple outlets, so now players' unions are asking sports stars to have their artists sign waivers or come to agreements about licensing beforehand. For whatever reason not all artists are down, but it seems Gotti Flores feels differently saying, “Really it didn’t even matter to me. It was dope to have my tattoos on there.” And I mean, considering these games usually go global, what artist wouldn't want that kind of visibility and free advertising?
Unfortunately some video game companies do take advantage of the artists without giving them credit or cash. But, again, due to the rapid progression of technology, and how much more realistic games are getting, this is basically a brand new area for sports tattoos. Michael A. Kahn is well-known for representing S. Victor Whitmill, the artist who gave Tyson his famed tribal tattoo, in a lawsuit against Warner Brothers for the use of the piece in The Hangover Part II". Kahn told the NY Times, “Video games are an entirely new area [of copyright law]." And although NFL players may not be the most tattooed sportsters, what would our fave characters be without their famed ink?
And no story about football tattoos would be a good story if it didn't include the huge super fans who show their love way, way, way...way...ahead of time. Every year we've brought you articles about the crazy fans who get Super Bowl tattoos well before a winner is even announced. Like Brian Babikian who talked to NJ Advance Media in August '18 about the tattoo he got to celebrate the Patriots' Super Bowl LIII championship...which, obviously, hasn't happened yet. After being questioned about the validity of his new tattoo, Babikian told the reporter “We’re not losing. Look at my eyes: We. Are. Not. Losing. They are going to win, 31-21.” Considering the Patriots do have 5 Super Bowl wins under their belts, there's a good chance Babikian will still feel awesome about his tattoo come Sunday night. Except that the Patriots lost last year to the Eagles...so I guess we'll just hafta wait and see!
While you sit back and watch the 2019 Super Bowl, we hope you enjoy not only these awesome football tattoos, but a cold glass 'o' beer as well. Because what would football be without beer? And, since you're probably a bigger fan of the sport than I am, you realize that each team has their own favorite alcohol...and thankfully Forbes came to the rescue with an extensive list all about it. I'm still not sure why this list does not include snacks...since a buffet of dips, deviled eggs, and corn dogs is the only reason why I'll be at your Super Bowl party.
Last but not least, we give tribute to the Ink Masters challenge "NFL Players' Choice", in which the sports stars got to choose any tattoo they liked from the artist of their choosing. Enjoy Dave Navarro's hilariously scripted football puns.