Spotted in the hallway by the high school coach when he'd never considered playing football, Howie Long went on to excel at the game, first on an athletic scholarship to Villanova University and later as an eight-time Pro-Bowl defensive end in the National Football League. Hanging up his cleats after the 1993 season (and nine gridiron-induced operations), he made a remarkably smooth transition to TV broadcasting as a studio analyst for "NFL Fox Sunday" and as an ESPN commentator, appealing to both hard-core football nuts and a growing female audience captivated by his square-jawed good looks. Hollywood took note too, pledging to make him an action hero. Long garnered good notices for his first feature role as John Travolta's villainous sidekick in John Woo's "Broken Arrow" (1996), paving the way for his starring turn as Jesse Graves, the fearless firefighter battling a monumental blaze in "Firestorm" (1998). His 1997 Emmy Award validated him as one of the premier personalities in sports broadcasting.