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When Ndamukong Suh signed a six-year, $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins in March, he became the highest-paid defensive tackle in NFL history.
Mr. Suh set another record in 2015: He spent $7 million in August on a home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the most expensive real-estate purchase by an NFL player last year.
In the spirit of Super Bowl 50, Mansion examined the stats behind 66 NFL-related home listings in 2015. One finding: If real estate were a predictor of gridiron wins (it's not), the AFC would win the championship. Of the 25 homes that were either bought or sold, 15 of them involved players, active or retired, who most recently played in the American Football Conference.
We also looked at the year's priciest sales, fastest deals, largest homes and other off-the-field player stats, compiled with the help of realtor.com. ( News Corp, which owns The Wall Street Journal, also owns realtor.com.)
According to real-estate agents involved in these deals, the top features requested by pro athletes are privacy and security. The players in these real-estate transactions did not respond to requests for comment.
Real-estate agents say that the pedigree of an athlete-owned home can be a selling point for buyers. Here are the NFL home deals that set the year's biggest records.
MOST EXPENSIVE HOME PURCHASED: $7 million
Buyer: Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle with the Miami Dolphins
In moving from Detroit to South Florida, Mr. Suh purchased a partially furnished home in Fort Lauderdale for $7 million that has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two half-baths in 11,142 square feet, according to public records.
Chad Gray represented the home's seller in the Coral Ridge neighborhood, a community on the Intracoastal Waterway with a golf course and a yacht club. "The home was built in 2013 and has very modern architecture, soaring ceilings and walls of glass," says Mr. Gray, a broker associate of the Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale Group at Coldwell Banker.
Amenities include an 11-seat home theater, maid's quarters, a game room and a fitness center that overlooks the pool. A rooftop entertaining space, accessible by elevator, is decked out with artificial grass, patio furniture and a flat-screen TV.
Mr. Suh also sold a home in 2015, getting $3.1 million for a Colonial-style home in Birmingham, Mich., about 20 miles north of Detroit. This home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and three half-baths in 7,394 square feet. Amenities include a massage room, fitness room, indoor sports court, according to the listing.
MOST EXPENSIVE HOME SOLD: $7.5 million / LARGEST HOME SOLD: 16,717 square feet
Seller: Asante Samuel, former cornerback with the Atlanta Falcons who last played in 2013
The home is located in the Landmark Ranch Estates development in Southwest Ranches, Fla., about 15 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale. "In this particular neighborhood, there are a lot of pro athletes," says Ben Moss, managing director of the sports and entertainment division of One Sotheby's International Realty. "There are people who want to be part of that culture and that prestige factor."
The home underwent several price reductions before selling in October for $5.4 million below its original asking price. Mr. Moss was the second listing agent brought in to market the property, which has nine bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and two half-baths on 4.9 acres.
Mr. Samuel, who had the home built in 2013, was comfortable with his agent revealing his identity to house hunters, Mr. Moss said. The buyer, whom Mr. Moss declined to name, wasn't looking to move -- until he saw a marketing video that featured the property, which has a large pool with a 25-person grotto, a theater room, game room, music studio and 10-car garage, among other things. "For him, I think there was some cachet with an NFL player," Mr. Moss said.
The home's size and upkeep played a role in Mr. Samuel's decision to sell, his agent says. "The large square footage and the fact that he's not playing made [Mr. Samuel] realize that it was a good time to sell, while the market was good," says Mr. Moss.
SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE HOME SOLD: $4.25 million
Seller: Patrick Surtain, former cornerback with the Kansas City Chiefs who last played in 2008
Mr. Surtain sold his 10,763-square-foot home in Weston, Fla., for $4.25 million. "They were looking to downsize," says Ben Westby, a One Sotheby's International Realty agent who represented Mr. Surtain and his wife in the sale. The seven-bedroom, 9-bathroom home, located in the Windmill Ranch Estates development, is on the water, and Mr. Surtain and his family would fish there, Mr. Westby says.
The couple moved to Plantation, Fla., where they paid $2.154 million for a newly constructed home that measures 6,456 square feet. Mr. Surtain last month was named head football coach at American Heritage School, an elite private day school with a campus in Plantation. Mr. Surtain's son, Patrick Jr., is currently a sophomore at American Heritage who plays cornerback for the team.
The home wasn't 100% finished when it was shown to the Surtains, so they were able to select some of the finishes and upgrades, said Dondi Hopkins, a Coldwell Banker agent who represents the builder, Brookman Fels. The full-acre lot allowed Mr. Surtain space to build a full-size sports court for basketball. The home has five bedrooms and 6 baths.
LEAST EXPENSIVE HOME SOLD: $325,000
Seller: Jeremy Maclin, wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs
The four-bedroom, 2-bathroom home measures 2,506 square feet and is located in West Deptford, N.J., according to public records. It is just a 15-minute drive from Philadelphia, where Mr. Maclin once played for the Eagles. The home, modest by NFL standards, is located in the township with the RiverWinds Community Center, which offers residents "acres and acres" of sports-related activities, says Kimberly Mehaffey, an agent with Century 21 Hughes Riggs Realty who represented Mr. Maclin in the sale. "It's a very conservative home in a great, great neighborhood," she adds. The median listing price of a home in West Deptford is $130,000, according to Realtor.com. "The bang for your buck is here, and that's why we get a lot of professionals moving to the area." Public records indicate that the Maclins purchased property in Lee's Summit, Mo., a Kansas City suburb.
SECOND-LARGEST HOME SOLD: 14,902 square feet
Seller: Ryan Pickett, free-agent nose tackle, most recently with the Houston Texans
Mr. Pickett sold his home in Poway, Calif., for $3.02 million, far below the initial asking price of $7.499 million. The eight-bedroom, 10-bath home on 3 acres had been previously owned by retired Major League Baseball player Jeromy Burnitz.
The home is a veritable sports complex that includes a tennis court, half-basketball court, putting green, sunken trampoline and large playground area.
In addition to the resort-style pool, it has a waterfall, grottoes and two Jacuzzis -- "one Jacuzzi at the top of the water slide, one at the bottom," says Nina Wells of Keller Williams-Carmel Valley (and wife of former MLB pitcher David Wells).
SMALLEST PROPERTY: 1,890 square feet
Buyer: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans quarterback
Mr. Mariota paid $1.05 million for a penthouse condo at the Icon, a luxury building in downtown Nashville. The three-bedroom, 2-bath unit has 15-foot ceilings and a 200-square-foot private terrace.
Listing agent Chad Wohlers, of Parks Real Estate, says Mr. Mariota was "drawn to the privacy of the penthouse because there is controlled access to the penthouse floor."
Three-bedroom penthouse apartments are unusual in Nashville, Mr. Wohlers adds. "I believe he wanted the space because he is so close with his family."
FASTEST TRANSACTION: 3 DAYS
Buyer: Christian Ponder, free-agent quarterback, most recently with the Denver Broncos
Bobby Lieb, associate broker with HomeSmart Realty in Phoenix showed Mr. Ponder and his wife, ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder, several homes before an 8,048-square-foot, ranch-style home came on the market. Three days after the home was listed, the couple purchased it for $2.2 million. The property, located in north-central Phoenix, was chosen because Ms. Ponder's family lives nearby, Mr. Lieb says.
The home sits on 1 acres and abuts a 3-mile nature path where they can walk and take their kids in the strollers, adds Mr. Lieb, who says he has sold homes to about two dozen athletes over the years. "Most established players in the Phoenix area go to Paradise Valley or Scottsdale," he says. "In the area [the Ponders] bought in, the homes are more typical ranch. It's not ostentatious -- they don't scream, 'Look at me.'"
SLOWEST TRANSACTION: 401 DAYS
Buyer: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles running back
When the six-bedroom, seven-bathroom house in Poway, Calif., was first listed in October 2013, the seller asked $4.395 million, says Daniel Beer, a Windemere Homes & Estates agent who represented Mr. Sproles. After sitting on the market, the home was relisted for $4.2 million and later reduced again to $3.595 million.
All that time on the market paid off for Mr. Sproles, who with his agent negotiated a purchase price of $2.81 million, more than $1.5 million below the initial listing price. The deal closed in December 2014 and was recorded in January 2015.
"Darren's a conservative guy," says Mr. Beer. "He made a great investment."
The Mediterranean-style home measures 8,844 square feet and sits on 4.44 acres in a gated community. A courtyard leads to a "man cave," and the property also has a tennis court and resort-style pool. "The view is extraordinary," Mr. Beer says, with "great sunsets out into the mountains and rolling hills."
TOP SELLING PRICE BY A QUARTERBACK: $3.999 million
Seller: Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback
Mr. Smith, who was traded to K.C. from the San Francisco 49ers in 2013, listed his 4,650-square-foot, four-bedroom home in Monte Sereno, Calif., in August. The home has a decidedly French flair. Inside are 100-year-old reclaimed wood beams, antique limestone floors imported from France and arched French doors and windows, according to listing agent Cherish Atkinson-Zubillaga of the Sereno Group. Located southwest of San Jose, the property also has a bocce ball court.