Is football merely a man’s sport? No way.
I admit I can begin to feel the rumblings of football season on the horizon. Drafts, training camp, eliminations, trades, firings, all of it; I feel all of it. Is this merely a man’s sport? No way. More women are embracing (and announcing) their love of the game. We can hang. It’s that simple. Football is no longer considered a man’s sport, but more of an androgynous game. After all, every man and woman strives to come a bit closer to each other in more ways than one. What better way than to plant yourselves in front of the big screen every Sunday and get silly together? As we approach the final month of summer, the undercurrent of this megalomaniacal game is about to descend upon us and give men the distraction they so crave. We are right there with you, guys.
Growing up in a family of older brothers certainly does wonders for being an active tomboy girl. And, as the only girl among these male siblings, it’s easy to see how one can get absorbed and somewhat forced into watching football. All the brothers either played football in high school, or watched it religiously during prime time NFL season.
We all began as Dallas Cowboy fans-the old school Tom Landry, Tony Dorsett, and Roger Staubach days of old. Those days are so long gone, but not without the indelible mark of my passion for NFL football. I remember even being harassed by my brothers, who couldn’t understand my lack of knowledge of certain teams, their signature colors, their history, and their players.
Not just the current team members, but alumni as well. It was a scene straight out of “Diner” whenever it was time for the football quiz, which happened weekly. If I was unable to answer questions about anything NFL, my dinner was fed to the dog. Or, I ended up in our large laundry basket. I was a small teenager, so I fit very well in the laundry basket, and it became my place of refuge many times when I was unable to come up with the answers to the NFL questions. As I look back on this seemingly tortuous time (with fond memories, I might add) I definitely learned a great deal about football, as it became more than just a passing fancy. I was full-blown into the NFL.
I have known several women who follow the NFL. They remain absurdly loyal to their home team. I have since moved on from the Dallas Cowboys (that whole Jerry Jones thing bothers me), dabbled in the Atlanta Falcons for a few months, tried to side with the San Diego Chargers (simply because I was living there at the time), and even considered the Chicago Bears, as my first husband was from Illinois. But, I just couldn’t find the same loyalty with any of those teams, as I needed something completely different. So, I went with the Oakland Raiders.
I know, it’s probably the rudest, most drug-addicted, degenerate-producing team in our nation, but I always liked John Madden and the original snake, Ken Stabler. And, being a rebellious soul, the Raiders fed my every whim for unconventional football. Plus, after too many Dallas Cowboy years, and failed football tests from my brothers, I thought siding with the Raiders was a good alternative. It has been over 20 years in the making. I never lived in Oakland; and maybe visited once for a U2 concert, but I continuously watch their sorry team year after year, to see if perhaps they can make a big go of it, even since the recent passing of Al Davis. I always felt that Al Davis was a well-intended man, who always wore pajamas to every game, which added to the mystique of the Raiders organization, and furthered my love of this team.
I am probably one of many women, who follow a team in the NFL, know the stats of their beloved players and teams, and plop themselves in front of the tube every Sunday, hooting and hollering alongside the men. Sometimes, I get more engaged in the game than the men seated next to me. It’s alarming how I can transform on football Sunday. I not only surprise myself, but some of my male friends, as well. If the game isn’t televised in my area on a particular Sunday, I will game-tracker it on my computer.
Yes, I’m a devoted NFL woman. I even have a secret language with other women, who hesitate to admit that they too, are NFL regulars each and every week. It’s like we need an NFL anonymous organization, to air our grievances about the previous weeks’ games, players who are overpaid and under qualified, or simply behaving badly. More often than not, the Raiders fall into the last category, sadly. But, I still follow them, and the silver and black grace my screen every Sunday.
The awesome part about women who follow the NFL, is we can make excuses about why we can’t attend the latest fashion week gathering, baby shower, or get together to partake in senseless gossip. The excuse is we want to watch football. It’s that simple. Most women who DON’T follow the NFL think we are crazy, as this is a “man’s sport”. Hah, I say! I have been known to engage in every conversation about the NFL and the weekly stats without ever blinking an eye. Something about the competition, the team loyalty, the hype, the players who have dreadlocks trailing out of their helmets, and just the overall feeling that it’s autumn and football time is here. Not only are the leaves turning colors, the season is changing to cooler temperatures, the clocks are turning back, but the NFL preseason has begun, and my spirit surges to new heights!
Men, look out. Women are ready to talk stats with you. Sharing this love of the game can bring forth some crazy discussions and passions, yet the relationship will take on a whole different meaning come August.
Photo credit: Flickr / Tobyotter