Canadian Football League wide receiver Shai Ross has gone viral for doing a backflip with a 65-pound barbell. ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark was not impressed, grousing Wednesday on “Get Up” about why they were even showing the video.
“So you can flip with a barbell. Big deal. What does it mean? Nothing. People do stupid stuff, and this is stupid.”
— Troy Durrell (@DurrellTroy) April 5, 2022
Just as a pure athletic feat this is impressive. Having the strength to do a standing backflip while holding a 45-pound barbell with two 10-pound plates on each side is something. It is likely 99.9 percent of the people reading this story can’t do that.
As far as what it means? Clark is right. It doesn’t mean anything as it relates to football. This maneuver, stunt, feat or whatever you want to call it doesn’t say anything about Ross’ route running ability, hands, blocking, or football IQ.
This isn’t the first time Ross has gone viral for completing a backflip.
Last year a video of the Edmonton Elks wide receiver dunking an Oreo cookie into a glass of milk in mid-air while doing a backflip — specifically, a round-off back tuck, went viral.
Winnipeg's Shai Ross of the @elks Oreo dunking game is on another level. 🤯🥛
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 18, 2021
Ross has a gymnastics background, as three of his aunts are high-level gymnastics coaches. He grew up in gyms and says all the kids in his family know how to do backflips.
The 6 wide receiver was drafted in the fifth round in 2019 by the Edmonton franchise. He has 27 receptions, 369 yards and four touchdowns through two seasons in the CFL. The 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ross started playing football in high school during his senior year at Dakota Collegiate in Winnipeg. After graduating, he played major junior football for the St. Vital Mustangs in 2014, where he was named an all-star.
He was then invited to play for the Manitoba Bisons in 2015, but instead chose to play in the Canadian Junior Football League for the Okanagan Sun in 2015, where he played in the Canadian Bowl that year. Ross joined the Bisons in 2016 to play U Sports football where he was a Canada West All-Star at kick returner that year.
Ross played two more years with the Bisons and finished his university career having played in 22 regular season games and recording 73 receptions for 1,197 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Who knows what kind of season Ross will have in 2022, but if his production increases he could parlay these viral moments into off-field success.
Football isn’t king in Canada like it is in the NFL, but the CFL has been around for 64 years. That means the league is profitable and popular to some extent. They have advertisers and sponsors, and they need pitchmen.
Ross could sign an endorsement deal with a milk or cookie brand. Maybe a local gym? He often posts workout videos on his Instagram page. Options abound in the social media era.
Production on the field and a few more viral videos will elevate his social media following and from there it only takes one brand. In the attention economy you must capitalize on your five minutes of fame.