Who Is Ricky Proehl? Super Bowl Winner & Father of American Idol Contestant & Former Vikings WR Blake Proehl

Published 02/20/2024, 10:02 PM EST

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The American Idol saw an unexpected crossover between the entertainment and football worlds. Blake Proehl came on the singing talent show and shared his story of leaving football, making the judges and audience emotional. Many were surprised to know that the singing aspirant is the son of former NFL legend and wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl.

The two-time Super Bowl winner is still remembered for his “game-winning catch” in Jan 2000 that led the Rams to the Super Bowl and their eventual victory. His sons, Austin and Blake, followed in his footsteps, both playing in the NFL. With Blake’s appearance on the reality show going viral, it’s the perfect reminder to revisit his father’s impactful journey in football.

Ricky Proehl’s 17-year-long legacy in the NFL


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Discovering Blake’s connection with football during his appearance on American Idol was fun enough, but his being Ricky Proehl’s son came as a pleasant surprise. Proehl had a long history in the NFL, playing 17 seasons. He’s been a part of 6 teams and has won the Super Bowl twice, once with the Los Angeles Rams in 2000 and once with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.

Proehl had a memorable career, having received 54 touchdowns and 669 receptions for 8,878 yards. He set several rookie records during his time with the Cardinals before the Seattle Seahawks drafted him. The wide receiver’s career started an uphill climb when he signed the $6 million deal. He became a part of “The Greatest Show on Turf,” the stellar offense of the Rams.


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He’s still remembered for his breathtaking 30-yard catch, leading his team into the Super Bowl XXXVI. After spending some time in Carolina as a free agent, Proehl finally joined the Colts in 2006 after a short-lived retirement. He replaced injured Stockley, leading the team and securing another Super Bowl win. Proehl’s football legacy is carried forward by his sons, Blake and Austin.

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Post-retirement too, Ricky Proehl remains tied with football closely, serving in several off-field roles, including the wide receivers coach in the Panthers. Proehl transferred his dedication and love for the sport to his sons, too. He coached his son Austin as the WR coach at St. Louis Battlehawks in 2023. His younger son, Blake, played college football for the East Carolina Panthers and later joined the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent. Blake’s recent appearance on American Idol got the judges emotional. The former Viking talked about the unfortunate accident that forced him to take a break from the sport.

Blake shares his NFL injury on American Idol

While in the training camp, Proehl suffered a knee injury from an ACL tear and had to sit his rookie season out. As a result of his injury, the WR was waived from the Vikings, as per the Observer. He recently came for auditions on the singing reality show American Idol. He performed Brett Young’s ‘In Case You Didn’t Know,’ earning a standing ovation. The 25-year-old further opened up about how his budding career in the NFL came to a halt due to the mishap.


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Despite returning to practice after the surgery, Proehl couldn’t participate fully in the team’s activities. Next year, he lost his spot in Minnesota due to the long-lasting effects of his injury. During his recovery time, Blake dabbled in music and started playing the guitar. Proehl has since released multiple singles and appeared on American Idol, winning the hearts of many.

He holds his grandmother as an inspiration that helped him stay motivated despite the disheartening turn of events. He confessed that his ‘Nana’ is the reason he had the courage to try his hand at music. In a post on social media, Proehl said, “I wasn’t able to walk for so long that’s where music kind of came in and saved me. My grandma is the reason why I’m here. I really didn’t believe in myself at all, music wise.” Proehl confessed, “and she is the reason why I have any confidence at all to be in this room.”


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As Blake’s musical journey begins, it gives us an excuse to revisit his father and NFL legend Ricky Proehl’s sports career. His love and contribution to football are as fresh as ever and live on through his sons.

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Written by:

Sneha Singh


One take at a time

Sneha Singh is an NFL beat writer at EssentiallySports in the NFL division. She brings immense experience and creativity to the team, courtesy of her line of work as a writing head and web content writer at esteemed organizations. Having developed a liking for the game of touchdowns and tackles since a young age, Sneha harbors prowess over covering in-depth live coverages and off-field fan action.
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Edited by:

Aazima Basharat