Pick up The Times-Picayune today (ok, well, read it online) and you’ll swear there is something in the gumbo. With 26 players from the New Orleans area playing in the National Football League, Louisiana has more players per capita in the NFL than any other state. There is one NFL player for every 55,862 people in the Pelican State, and there are 80 Louisiana natives in the NFL overall, tying Georgia for fifth place in terms of total numbers.

California, 205, has the most natives in the NFL, followed by Texas, 179, Florida, 176, and Ohio, 90.

The numbers, which come out annually, are based a report by USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels. In fact, the T-P reported that 28 of the NFL’s 32 teams have at least one player from Louisiana:

“Maybe it’s some of the food, “ said Craig Steltz, a Chicago Bears safety and former LSU and Rummel standout. “Maybe it’s the Cajun food that’s made down in the South. You just can’t explain it how they have the number of guys that are playing in the NFL and competing at a high level.
“It’s just a whole lot of fun. Guys from Florida, Louisiana and Texas are always talking about who has the best high school teams.”
The talk doesn’t stop with high school football. It continues to the college game, where LSU has won two BCS titles since 2003 and has 41 players on NFL rosters, tied with Miami for the most by a university.

Read the T-P story, which includes a list of local players that have gone pro, here.

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