The Bachelor and The Bachlelorette have always had plenty of crossovers with sports media figures, from then-NFL backup QB and current broadcaster Jesse Palmer appearing as the bachelor in question in Season Five of The Bachelor to then-broadcaster and former NFL and CFL QB Jordan Rodgers winning Season 12 of The Bachelorette. (For the record, Palmer’s courtship with winner Jessica Bowlin ended a few months after the show, while Rodgers and JoJo Fletcher remain engaged as of this month.)
The latest connection to the sports world comes on the upcoming Season 14 of The Bachelorette, which revealed its 28 contestants Thursday. One of them just happens to be Pro Football Focus senior analyst Mike Renner:
"Those aren't extensions. That's legit. That's all Mike. He looks kind of like — you watch any 80's surf movies? That's Mike. Not Spicoli-esque, but pretty close."
– @chrisbharrison describing @PFF_Mike on The Bachelorette contestant preview. pic.twitter.com/LojVIpYxKk
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) May 17, 2018
Beyond his work for Pro Football Focus (a NFL and now college-focused analytics site, which has been operating for over 10 years and has had NBC’s Cris Collinsworth as its majority owner since 2014), Renner has had quite the sports career of his own, as explored in a piece from Jim Rossow of the Champaign (Illinois) News-Gazette (the local paper where Renner went to high school):
The new season of “The Bachelorette” includes 2008 Uni High grad Mike Renner.
A member of The News-Gazette’s 2008 All-Area Boys’ Basketball Team, Renner, 27, currently is an analyst for Pro Football Focus living in Cincinnati.
Renner is Uni High’s all-time leading scorer with 1,519 points, which ranks eighth on the area’s career list. He went on to Notre Dame and graduated in 2012.
…“In high school he was quiet but his current job has given him confidence on camera,” said Joel Beesley, his basketball coach at Uni High. “Mikey is a closer. You know he is smarter than all of them so you never count out an Illinek in a competition.”
The confidence on camera is true, as Renner has been involved with several TV projects, including last month’s Pro Football Focus draft special on SI TV. And he’s been at PFF since 2012, shortly after his graduation from Notre Dame. And he already has an official contestant biography:
This Notre Dame alumni majored in Accounting and Computer Applications and currently works as football analyst. Mike loves festivals, horse races and state fairs. He also loves his bulldog, Riggins.
He also confirmed his participation on Twitter in an entertaining manner:
extremely important: who is the "sports analyst" on The Bachelorette. Come on one of you has to follow him if he's really a "sports analyst" pic.twitter.com/kKqDeXoZHD
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) May 17, 2018
When did they start letting nerds on #TheBachelorette ? https://t.co/E9BzuAGpMl
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) May 17, 2018
The competition to win the heart of bachelorette Becca Kufrin (who was a contestant on last year’s The Bachelor, and was infamously proposed to by bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. in the finale before he called off their engagement to propose to another contestant) is going to be stiff, even from the sports perspective alone. Former NFL tight ends Clay Harbor (five teams from 2010-2017, did play 16 games for the Jaguars once) and Colton Underwood (three teams from 2014-16, never saw regular season action) are also among the 28 contestants. But hey, with a bulldog named Riggins, it’s clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose for Renner.