Let Me Live: Women Who Love Their Football

I'm a woman. I love shopping, purses and martinis. It's a part of my feminine DNA.

I'm also a rabid football fan and a Ravens season ticket holder, and I'm damn proud of it.

Rabid may an understatement. I live, eat, sleep and breathe football. There's nothing in the world like it to me. Not only do I love the pigskin, I'm pretty damn knowledgeable when it comes to it.

You see, I come from a long line of footballers. My grandfather played before he was sent to fight in World War II. My father played in the Big 8 (now known as the Big 12), and had the legendary Hank Stram call him and offer him a chance to try out for the Kansas City Chiefs. My uncle was All-City in his heyday. Football is in my blood. It's a part of who I am and there's no denying it.

Too many times I've had to explain and defend my football fandom to others, particularly men. They see a women, or a "girly girl" talk about football and automatically assume I love it for the men and tight football pants. While there may be some truth to that, they are way down the list of reasons why football is so dear to me.

I've heard every cliche there is regarding women and football. "You're a girl, you don't know football like that", "You're just a Ravens fan, you don't know other teams like that," or "You just want to be a part of something." Those phrases are like nails to a chalkboard to me. It's annoying as hell. The irony of that is usually the ones who claim I know nothing about football are the ones who know nothing themselves.

Once in 2003, I had a man tell me that the Ravens were perennial bums and the Cowboys were Super Bowl studs EVERY year. Yeah, you heard me; the same Cowboys who stunk it up with an 5-11 record from 2000-2002 with Dave Campo as their head coach (sorry Kenny, this really happened, though!) All I could do was laugh; I'm lying, I embarrassed the hell out of him, and it felt damn good, too!

I'll admit, I can be headstrong and intimidating at times. Coming into a football conversation, especially if majority of the participants are males, I immediately come with a chip on my shoulder and something to prove. Add to that, my passion for the game and that's a recipe for a football debate that can turn ugly. But as a woman, I want there to be ZERO doubt about my excitement and knowledge regarding football. I may hurt a few egos in the process, but usually my point is made.

As much as I love talking about shoes, sundresses and Halle Berry's hair, I love talking about 3-4 defenses, five wideout sets and zone blitzes just the same. And it's not just me, there are tons of women who know the game the way I do. It's time for people to realize that women love football, too. And not just for their colors and tight pants.

-The NFL Chick

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