Tag Archives: NFL

Marie Claire NFL Supplement Minka Kelly

Marie Claire Magazine and NFL Team Up to Get Female Football Fans in the Game

Marie Claire NFL Minka KellyMore and more ladies are paying attention to the NFL, so the league is partnering with top women’s magazines to educate the fairer sex on football and fashion and the rules of the game.

Ladies, are you ready for some football? Marie Claire magazine and the NFL are teaming up to make sure you are.

Fashion and football might seem like an unlikely partnership, but not if you consider that female viewership of the Super Bowl has quadrupled in the last 10 years, according to Sports Business Daily, or that women’s jerseys are among the fastest growing merchandise sector, according to the NFL.

So it’s no surprise that the National Football League is building on that popularity with ads in women’s magazines, Marie Claire being the biggest for which it shelled out the presumably big—but undisclosed—bucks to sponsor a 16-page section titled “The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Football” in its biggest issue of the year.

Actress Minka Kelly of “Friday Night Lights” fame covers the supplement that walks a fine line between giving us ladies stereotypical advice about what to wear and giving those of us who know something about football a little credit.

The special section is padded with ads featuring gals sporting their football gear (it’s not just pink) in the most fashionable of ways and beauty pointers on getting the most spirited manicures for game day.

In a similar vein, there’s tips on throwing the perfect party at home, covering everything from the menu and the guest list to the color-coordinated tableware and serving accoutrements.

There’s even a game-day playlist that includes mood-appropriate tunes for every thrilling moment from the pre-game warm-up to celebrating victory—or soothing sounds for when the team comes up just short.

Props to the magazine for realizing that we’re not all about cute ways to accessorize our girly jerseys, though. The section highlights the league’s most thrilling defenses, the hottest QB-WR matchups, the most entertaining touchdown celebrators and the biggest media spectacles in the game.

Should we be among those who venture into the world of fantasy football, the supplement gives the insight into the apps and gadgets to help us keep track of where we stand in our own leagues and how to rise to the top.

Stilll, there is useful information to the uninitiated football-watching gal. There’s a handy primer that details every unit’s role on the field, as well as every position within it. It even gets into basic rules and scoring.

What do you think of the NFL’s attempt to build its female audience?

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue

Telling Tebowtime: What the NFL’s Newest Phenomenon Can Teach Us All

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue

Sports Illustrated magazine's December 19, 2011, issue featured Denver Broncos sensation Tim Tebow as its cover boy.

Tim Tebow’s winning ways defy explanation, even measurements of time. As he seems to win on heart alone, we can take this lesson from his example.

Don’t bother checking your watches or clocks. There’s no way of telling “Tebowtime” by them. (Well, at least not yet.) Better to check a game clock instead.

That’s because “Tebowtime” usually arrives in the fourth quarter, when victory seems all but out of reach, and, then something unexplainable happens.

Suddenly, second-year National Football League quarterback Tim Tebow’s stats do an improbable 180, and he seems to will his team (the Denver Broncos) to victory. Again and again.

In Tebow’s 11 regular season starts for the Mile High City’s team in 2011, “Tebowtime” came through on seven of them. A mark good enough to earn the Broncos an at-once-unthinkable AFC Wild Card berth in the playoffs. And this past Sunday, the Tebowtime drama was even more prolonged, as the QB capped a career-best performance with an overtime touchdown throw that propelled his team past the Pittsburgh Steelers and into Round 2 of the playoffs. Seriously.

Despite winning a BCS National Championship, the Heisman Trophy and other major hardware during his college career as a Florida Gator, Tebow may have been one of the most decorated, yet least heralded quarterbacks or players headed for the NFL.

His critics have pointed to his inaccuracies, his college preparation, the challenges of the NFL, a new system, you name it. And that’s just on the field. He’s endured as much–or more–ridicule for professing his faith on and off the gridiron.

And it’s given rise to a new phenomenon: Tebowing. It simply requires bending on one knee, elbow resting on top, a clenched fist supporting your forehead, as if in prayer–a stance you’ll often see Tebow in on the sidelines. There’s even a website devoted to all acts of Tebowing the world over.

So what is it about Tebowtime that’s winning over some of his detractors? Sports Illustrated’s Dec. 19, 2011, cover story tried to explain it by Tebow’s numbers, but his performance has defied them. Not even three straight losses to end the regular season tarnish what he’s accomplished.

I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of his while he was in college–much of that was due to his playing on an opposing team and the unabashed adoration of certain college football announcers.

But I have to admit I kinda like the guy–or at least what he’s been doing and what it inspires in the rest of us. And that is if you believe in yourself, even the impossible seems possible.

Sports Illustrated magazine's November 7, 2011, issue

1972 Miami Dolphins Dismiss Idea They Want Undefeated Teams to Lose

Sports Illustrated magazine's November 7, 2011, issue

Sports Illustrated magazine's November 7, 2011, issue featured the Green Bay Packers, who at the time were undefeated and making a run at the 1972 Miami Dolphins' perfect season. The Packers lost on Dec. 18.

There’s a rumor that the ’72 Miami Dolphins, the lone team to complete a season undefeated, cheer against those who challenge their record. Fact or fiction?

In the NFL, notching a perfect season is so rare that only one team–the 1972 Miami Dolphins–ever achieved it, and in almost 40 years, a handful of teams have come close to challenging it. The 2007 New England Patriots came the closest, falling one game short–and that was in the Super Bowl.

As this year’s Green Bay Packers chased perfection–but finally fell short on Sunday, Dec. 18, in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs–you might hear many references to champagne celebrations, but the sportscasters aren’t referring to toasting the Cheeseheads’ accomplishments. They’re referring to those 1972 Dolphins.

It’s long been suggested that the surviving holders–coaches and all–of the untouchable record chill a bottle of champagne from that magnificent year’s vintage to be uncorked when the last undefeated team falls every season.

But is that fact or fiction?

In a 2007 ESPN.com article, Don Shula, the legendary head coach of the Miami Dolphins, dismissed the notion that the surviving members of the NFL’s only perfect team gather together to celebrate when their record is still unchallenged–at least for another year.

According to urban myth-buster website Snopes.com, Dolphins defensive end Jim Riley admitted that some of the guys gathered together to toast the continuance of their perfect record–but just once. And even then, it was an informal meeting of three players in a parking lot in South Florida.

In the ESPN article, Shula shot down the idea that he and his former team were cheering for their unblemished record not to be duplicated.

“Everybody thinks we’re a bunch of angry old men who can’t wait for that last team to get beat,” he said. “If that happens [a team goes undefeated], I’m going to be the first guy to call that coach and congratulate him. And our players will do the same thing. But until it happens, that’s a record we’re proud of.”

So why has a nearly 40-plus-year mark yet to be bested? Chalk it up to longer seasons, changes in the game, whatever. But at least for another season that untouchable record of the ’72 remains untouched.

Sports Illustrated magazine Detroit Lions October 2011 cover

Why I’m Mourning the Detroit Lions’ First Loss Even Though the Season’s Not Over Yet

Sports Illustrated magazine Detroit Lions October 2011 cover

Sports Illustrated magazine featured the Detroit Lions on its cover earlier this month--before the team's first loss.

If not for the hoopla over “the handshake” between the head coaches of the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions, the first loss suffered by one of the NFL’s most beleaguered teams of late might have been more painful.

San Fran’s Jim Harbaugh let his jubilation over the previously unbeaten Lions spill over into too firm a handshake and an unnecessary slap on the back–at least that’s how Detroit coach Jim Schwartz took it.

Much ado has been made about the handshake since then, so much so that it’s dominated the sports headlines and sports news shows with the coaches’ reactions, the league’s reaction, sportscasters’ reactions, and on and on.

I get that one loss in the NFL doesn’t carry the weight that it carries in the absence of a true playoff, such as in Division I–or Football Bowl Subdivision–college football. But I would cringe when my die-hard NFL fan friends would shrug off a loss (or two) and put their trust in the team to pull through in the postseason.

Chalk it up to too much faith, too much Disney, but I love the underdog (except of course in some college football match-ups). Growing up a default New Orleans Saints fan–the Big Easy was only about two hours away from my hometown–I knew a lot about cheering for the underdog.

The hapless Saints struggled for years, and the city that treasures its faith and its voodoo turned to both at some point or another, trying to exorcise whatever demons held the team back and bless them into victory.

Finally, finally, the dubious “Ain’ts” won it all in Super Bowl XLIV. Amid the ruins left by Hurricane Katrina and rumors that the team would leave town, the underdog of all underdogs pulled off its biggest win yet. And over the seemingly unstoppable Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts, of all teams.

While I’m still a Saints fan, I’m also an Atlanta Falcons fan (being in Georgia now). I was developing a soft spot for the Detroit Lions, a struggling team in a struggling city. This season’s six wins (consecutive at that!) is just one away from the team’s total in 2007, the Lions’ best showing in the last decade.

I know one loss doesn’t ruin what the team has accomplished this season–and what it could do the rest of the way. But I’m just feeling a little heartbroken for one of the NFL’s Cinderella stories to have a blemish on its spotless record so soon.