I know there are a lot of women out there who are disappointed that the NFL lockout ended. I’m friends with a lot of those women, who hate losing their husbands to the television every Sunday, and the occasional Monday and Thursday, from September through February – but I am certainly not one of them. Unlike most of my female friends, I countdown the days from the Super Bowl until the NFL is back; I look forward to the draft, to the first day of training camp, to preseason games and, of course, opening day. On Sundays, I’m not just the understanding wife letting my husband watch the Vikings game without interruption – I next to him on the coach, screaming and jumping up and down.
I've long ago realized that I can't sit around with my girlfriends and talk about football because after about three minutes their eyes glass over and I've lost them. I tend to be the only female in the room who actively follows football, so I’ve found that usually the people I can talk about football with are men.
Yet every time I’m talking to a man about football for the first time, he is always – always – shocked with my football knowledge. They are always surprised that I, a woman who couldn’t play football herself, know as much about the game as I do. But there are a lot of men who follow football who didn’t play at all, or past Pop Warner, even some of the so-called experts on TV. So what’s the difference? Even though I was never able to play myself, I know a lot about the game: I know the different between a cover-two and a cover-three; I know what a blitz is and when it works best; I actively follow the NFL and am well-informed on current teams, players and stats; I love fantasy football and I know who to draft and why.
Some men appreciate that I know as much as they do about football, but I also know there are some who think I should keep my mouth shut and get back in the kitchen. I've read from some of sports writers, including one of my favorite columnists Bill Simmons, that a woman who knows too much about sports is suddenly less attractive because women are supposed to be feminine and for some reason knowing about football makes her less so. I find that to be offensive, mainly because the two have no correlation what so ever.
Clearly I'm not the woman sitting on the couch during a football game whose only comments are how attractive Tom Brady is ... don't get me wrong, I can appreciate Tom Brady for his chiseled features, but I also appreciate his 77 percent winning percentage, his play-making ability and his on-field leadership. And you know what? I'm proud that I know that and can stand with any guy and hold my own in a conversation about football. If you can't handle that, you can't handle a real woman.