SAN FRANCISCO—A mile and a half into San Francisco Bay from the teeming souvenir-seeking hordes of Super Bowl City sits Alcatraz, the legendary now-shuttered prison. More fearsome than a Denver secondary, more confining than the gridlocked traffic around San Francisco, about as enjoyable as an open-letter writer complaining about Cam Newton, Alcatraz’s very name conjures up images of somber, terrifying imprisonment.
Over the course of its 30 years as a federal prison, from 1933 to 1963, thousands of prisoners passed through its somber halls. Only 36 tried to escape, and only two—maybe—pulled it off. You’ve got to be tough to get sent to Alcatraz, and you’ve got to be even tougher to try escaping. So we figured, why not check with some of the toughest guys in the NFL and see how they’d escape from one of the world’s most notorious prisons.
“I’d probably have to do some rewatching of The Rock, see how that went down,” said Owen Daniels, Denver tight end, one of many players to reference a prison-break movie. “I know I’m not swimming through those waters. Maybe I need a little submersible.”
Carolina center Ryan Kalil intended to escape “the same way Clint Eastwood did [in Escape from Alcatraz] with the dummy, then cover up the hole in the wall with the poster … wait, I’m getting confused with Shawshank [Redemption].”
The possibility of swimming a mile and a half through frigid, shark-infested waters concerned Carolina defensive tackle Kawann Short, who simply responded, “No way. Not swimming. No way.”
Several players simply hoped that they wouldn’t do anything to get sent there. But Denver cornerback Aqib Talib, as befits his position, took an unexpected angle at the problem.
“I’d probably holler at one of the female guards for a couple years,” Talib offered. “I’d holler at her, have her get a key or something, and walk right out the building.”
Nobody tell him about the water.