Former LSU Tiger and NFL defensive lineman Marlon Favorite settles at a table inside WOW Wingery in downtown New Orleans. He takes a seat with a wide grin on his face as he orders an iced tea.
Favorite has just concluded another one of his live segments for ESPN Radio New Orleans, 100.3. He works as an analyst for the station and hosts his own weekly sports show, “Inside the Trenches.”
A member of LSU’s 2007 National Championship team, Favorite also won a Super Bowl as a member of his hometown New Orleans Saints in 2010. He played for 10 NFL teams over the course of his four-year career after signing with the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
Favorite was unable to establish a permanent home in the NFL, but the principles football taught him remain prevalent in his life, both professionally and personally. He values the time spent playing in his home state most of all.
“Playing for LSU and the Saints was similar,” Favorite said. “The thing they had in common was the city of New Orleans. We won the National Championship in New Orleans in front of our state and our fans. The [Mercedes-Benz] Superdome was in our backyard, and with the Saints, it was a similar feeling because they have the same fan base. For a native of New Orleans, those experiences meant the world to me.”
Much like Favorite did, many NFL players make a living by bouncing around to different cities where work is available. It’s a common thing in the league, but winning a Super Bowl is anything but.
Favorite signed with the Saints’ practice squad less than a month before the team won the championship, the first of any kind for a professional sports team based in New Orleans. Although his time in black and gold was brief, the memories Favorite made with the Saints stand out as he reminisces on his playing career.
“There were genuine tears in people’s eyes after we won the Super Bowl,” Favorite said. “The very next month, I was in Buffalo playing for the Bills. A lot of guys got traded or retired. But for that one night, we all shared in that same moment. It was something they can never take away from us. It was a blessing and something to build off of the rest of my life.”
Apart from working in radio, Favorite is the owner of Favorite Strength and Fitness. His business specializes in training aspiring athletes through various conditioning programs and football camps. Favorite applies many of the principles he learned on the gridiron to his jobs and his everyday life, but football is not his only passion.
He goes by “Big Fav” in the studio and has experienced success as a rapper going back to his high school days. Favorite and a couple of his friends formed the rap group Black Vynm in 2004.
Favorite and his group were the opening act for several mainstream musicians over the years, including Keyshia Cole, Lil Boosie and Young Jeezy. While at LSU, Favorite helped compose the theme song for Tiger TV, the school’s student-run TV station. He also performed during halftime of LSU basketball games in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. As is the case with football, Favorite remains passionate about his music.
“Even to this day, music is still a big part of my life,” Favorite said. “I rely on music for a lot of things like focus and motivation. I earned my starting job at LSU while I recorded my first full-length album. While I was working to get on the field, music helped me to get my mind right. It still does.”
As a proud alumnus, Favorite remains an active part of the LSU community. As a former national champion, he serves as a mentor and friend to current football players trying to earn the same championship ring Favorite wears on his right hand.
Favorite also remains in contact with LSU Head Coach Les Miles, who used to recite his former lineman’s lyrics in the LSU locker room much to the enjoyment of the team. To this day, Favorite cherishes memories like this.
Although Favorite is now retired from football and is a father to two sons, his life still revolves around the game. Favorite never found a permanent home in the NFL, but he is more than grateful for what his playing days taught him.
“It was a hard toll on me,” Favorite said. “Still, I thank God for the experience, because I still benefit from that grind today. Now that I’m retired, I’m working for ESPN New Orleans and teaching my [fitness] classes to the best of my abilities. I still go back to LSU to do what I can to help out and be a staple in the community. As a businessman, a father and a son, I became better because of football. Football is life.”
Photo by Greta Jines.