This is the first installment of The Claire Bear who will be a contributor here on State of the Texans.
The NFL guesstimates that of the 313+ million people living in America, 90 million of them are “avid female football fans.” That’s 44% of the total fan base. What is it about the NFL that creates so many “avid” fans of U.S. women? We can point to the adorably bedazzled fitted jerseys and other crap (hottest female fans in the NFL, anyone?) that fill 10 pages of a Google search for “Women & NFL.” Potentially, it could be the leave-nothing-to-the-imagination pants on certain for-whatever-reason irresistible men. Could it be our recent inclusion into the Fantasy Football world? Certainly it wouldn’t be the strategy *gasp* of the game on the field (how dare such aggression be so appealing to a lady?! ) Maybe it’s our team’s identifiable personality that we find so intriguing. Any one of these factors can be pivotal in gaining our interest, but I argue that it’s the players themselves who draw in so many female fans.
What would create that idea? If you follow any female football fans on Twitter (i.e., me – @raymond27, FYI and the few, but knowledgeable female football writers I follow, each deserving of appreciation for their football IQ,) you will see a number of comments regarding the deeper details of the game, but numerously more tweets regarding individual players/coaches. This tends to be in opposition to the tweets concerning scheme, salary cap details, and overtime rules that the guys are more inclined to post … (this was done via a very informal, retrospective analysis of the some 600 people I follow on Twitter – certainly exceptions exist.)
Take it from a girl (woman, lady, what-the-eff-ever) who was a cheerleader in high school primarily so I could watch football games on the sidelines. It wasn’t figuring out the difference between a 3-4 versus a 4-3 defense, understanding the distinction between zone and man defense, or getting pissed about downfield blocking that drew me in. Call me self-indulgent, but I dreamt of being a Derrick Doll – chiefly for the same reason I cheered in high school: to be up close and personal to the game, players and team. Of course, the Oilers left Houston in 1997 – the same year I graduated from A&M, and had originally a few years prior, believed I’d find a “real job,” cheer on Sundays, do the other extra cheerleader stuff the rest of the time, or – back-up plan – buy season tickets. All options were gone. It wasn’t very good.
Then the Texans arrived in 2002 with a victory over the hated Cowpokes and all the promise and potential of what took awhile to develop into what it is now – Bulls on Parade, #Namaste, The Milkman, Ninja; Wade Phillips replying to my tweet (a highlight of my Twitter life.) This team is primed for female fans to not only enjoy its personality and cheer for the crushing defeat of the enemy. If us ladies who love our Texans (or other NFL team – heaven forbid,) haven’t done so already, now is a perfect time to work on learning the game so we can adore what our favorite dudes on Sunday do with yet more fervor. The NFL wants our participation, the Texans want our involvement. Let’s be the best female fans in the league. I have linked a few resources that have been helpful for me. I hope they do the same for you. Until next week, I bid you be a lady in the streets but a battle red b***h everywhere.
http://www.houstontexans.com/ : know your team, girls – really, this is imperative.
http://www.nfl.com/rulebook, http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/beginnersguidetofootball : being the NFL and all, you’ll find all your rules, penalties, and basic definitions to have better fact-based conversations with other fans.
http://www.patkirwan.com/ : I listen to the audio version of “Take Your Eye off the Ball” while driving; Tim Ryan narrates and delves into formations, schemes, and tons of other X & O stuff. Great for those of us who have never seen a real playbook or been in a huddle, but want to know what goes on in there.
http://football.about.com/od/football101/u/Football_Basics.htm : a great quick resource when you have questions about something on Sunday.
http://football101women.com/ : REALLY girly, but a nice 101 Basics section is included that’s good if you need a ground-up primer.
You can follow the Bear on Twitter here.