Michael Strahan Bringing Pigskin to Space Thanks to Jeff Bezos

by Josh Lanier

Emmitt Smith carried a football for an NFL best 18,355 yards during his career. Michael Strahan is about to break that record by a few hundred miles. The former Giants defensive end will take a football with him aboard a Blue Origin rocket on Saturday. He’ll give the ball to the NFL Hall of Fame after he lands.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos presented the ball to Michael Strahan Thursday during an appearance on The NFL on Fox. Strahan was set to liftoff aboard the New Shepherd rocket yesterday, but high winds scuttled those plans. The company rescheduled the flight for Saturday at 9:45 a.m.

The company started shuttling wannabe astronauts into space this summer. Jeff Bezos was aboard the first flight in July. William Shatner made the trek in October. Both said it was a life-changing experience.

“It’s the most profound, meaningful experience,” Bezos told Strahan Thursday. “… You’re going to see the Earth. You’re going to see how vulnerable it is, how fragile it is. (You’ll) see the blackness of space, you’re going to see this gem — how all of life is supported on this one little rock. That’s what you’re going to see. It’s going to change you. Everyone who’s been there, it’s changed them. I don’t know what it’s going to do to you, but I can’t wait to talk to you afterward to find out.”

Strahan will spend about 10 minutes in space before returning to Earth.

Jeff Bezos Explains Why He Chose Michael Strahan for Space Trip

Michael Strahan won’t be alone. Laura Shepard Churchley, the oldest daughter of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, will also be aboard the rocket. Blue Origin invited them to join the mission. The other astronauts on the flight paid for their seats. They include Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick, Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess.

Terry Bradshaw wanted to know why Jeff Bezos would select Strahan for such a prestigious honor.

“That’s easy,” Bezos joked. “We were going for handsome.”

Bradshaw said that answer left him speechless.

Michael Strahan interviewed Jeff Bezos for Good Morning America after he returned from space in July. He said seeing the launch in person was awe-inspiring.

“I want to go to space,” Strahan said. “I think being there at the first launch, it really was mind-blowing.”

He started training for the trip months ago. Despite all of the dangers that come along with space travel, Strahan said he isn’t worried at all.

“I’m excited,” the GMA host explained. “I am more nervous talking about football today than I am about going to outer space. I’m looking forward to it. …It’s going to be epic, that’s how I describe it. It’s something you think about as a kid, but now it’s going to happen. [The opportunity is] mind-blowing, to be honest with you.”