Holly Robinson Peete has been married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete for 14 years, but this Hollywood actress was a football fan long before she met her husband. Author of Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!: A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football, Holly shares tips on how you can love football too!
Every Monday night, as I snuggle with my husband, watching the nail-biting Monday Night Football games, I'm happy we were bonding. Seriously, I am so excited about football season—aren't you? No? Do I hear a groan? Did you just say you'd rather get shock therapy than sit down and watch a whole game?
I imagine you think you're like most women in America, but the fact is that more than 40 percent of the Super Bowl viewing audience is women, and they are not all watching for the commercials!
If you're really dreading football season's arrival, I want to help you turn your weekends around. I'm convinced that you understood the game of football, if you were hardwired to like it like most men, you'd enjoy it as much as any guy. You may even become hooked!
Ladies, what the guys won't tell you is that the National Football League (NFL) has more drama and gossip than any episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta! They love, love, love gossiping about football, and there is a lot to gossip about. Players have reality shows, they go to jail and they date celebrities (no problem with that). During the last off-season, all sorts of syrupy NFL headlines captivated football fans: Quarterback Brett Favre's wishy-washy retirement plans; Michael Vick goes to the Philadelphia Eagles with his "tail between his legs" (pun totally intended); and dimpled quarterback Tony Romo breaks up with Jessica Simpson and is now with a new celebutante. The list goes on and on as the lines blur between the Sports page and the Entertainment page. There is always some backstory for any game, and it makes football more fun to watch.
Why is Peete such a fan of the game?
Also, just imagine looking forward to a long Sunday afternoon, snuggling in front of the TV with your man, instead of being relegated to beer and chips detail. Can you see that? Imagine, too, that on Sundays your man no longer calls his guys over to watch the game because there is no one he'd rather watch it with but you! Some of my girlfriends have described football as "barbaric" and nothing more than a bunch of guys running around patting each other on the butt, but it's so much more than that.
I love professional football. Truth is, I am probably more in my element talking football with guys on a TV show set than I am chatting with my girlfriends about a hot new pair of Christian Louboutin shoes! It's a human chess match. It really can be exhilarating, intricate and edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. It has drama, gossip and some pretty hunky cutie-pies—I even married one!
So many people ask me if I love the game only because I was married to it for so many years. The answer is no—I love pro football because I was born in Philadelphia, with a die-hard Eagles fan father who "bled Eagle green." When the Eagles won, I got Good Humor ice cream; when they lost, well, things were very gloomy around the Robinson house. My childhood happiness was inextricably linked to Eagle "W's" (wins). Does that sound sad? It wasn't. It's how I bonded with my daddy. Imagine a couple decades later when I actually married an Eagles quarterback! Whew! That was a like fairy tale, wrapped inside a dream, wrapped inside a fantasy for my dad, and it didn't hurt that his son-in-law was actually a great guy!
What was life like as an NFL wife?
I was an NFL wife. It was a roller coaster ride. Rodney played for six teams over his career: Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers and the hardest team to play for, the Philadelphia Eagles.
As the wife of an NFL quarterback I've been applauded, cussed out, praised, hated and even pelted with the last bite of a cheesesteak during my years in the NFL. Rodney may have been wearing the pads, but, girl, I felt like I was out there too. When a 300-pound man tried to crush him, let me tell you: I felt it too. Though I didn't struggle to get out of bed Monday morning.
During the last years of our NFL days, I wrote a book: Get Your Own Damn Beer I'm Watching the Game!: A Women's Guide to Loving Pro Football. I had the best time telling stories of my crazy NFL days and explaining the game to ladies who were getting their heads bitten off when they asked their impatient and often condescending husbands questions. I got the idea when my girlfriends would call me during Rodney's games (a huge no-no) asking me questions about what the heck was going happening on the field. Some didn't even know the difference between a touchdown and a home run.
Ladies, watching a football game is a fun, intense way to spend an afternoon, once you understand it. So give it a shot. Learning about it can be a fun process. And it can be very healthy for a relationship with your pig-skin-lovin' man.
Get the basics about the game
Here are a few basic football tidbits that will help you understand what millions of fans already know about this game:
Offense: the group that tries to advance the ball and score touchdowns and field goals
- A football team is divided into three units:
Defense: the group that tries to stop the other team from advancing the ball and scoring touchdowns and field goals
Special Teams: handle punts and kickoffs
What you should never say to men during a football game
- The quarterback is the offensive player who steers the ship. You can always find him since he is the only guy with his hands place between the big butt cheeks of his center. If you locate him, you are on your way to understanding how a play develops. The quarterback will either hand off the ball to a running back or throw it to an open receiver, or sometimes run it himself.
- The guys facing him (the defense) have to stop the offense and keep them from getting a "first down," which is the first in the series of four downs (tries) in which an offensive team must advance 10 yards to retain possession of the ball.
- If the offense gets the ball in the end zone, they score six points with a chance to score an extra point with a kick through the goalpost. Or, they can kick a field goal worth three points.
- Often, the defense gets the ball back because of a fumble (player drops ball) or an interception (the quarterback's throw gets caught by a defensive player).
- There are four 15-minute quarters throughout the game. The actual game lasts longer than that, with time-outs and commercial breaks. A coin toss decides which team has the ball for the first half, and then the other team starts on offense at the beginning of the second half.
With my tongue planted firmly in my cheek, I give you:
My Top 10 All-Time Annoying Things Women Should Never Say to Men During a Game
1. Honey, I still look good enough to wear that Dallas Cowgirl outfit, don't I?
2. I'm sorry, but this was the only time the decorator could come. And besides, it's only a few dozen fabric swatches.
3. You already watched three quarters. Why can't we spend the last one just talking about us?
4. Good News! My folks are on the way over and they've got their cruise videos!
5. You are gonna love this game I Tivo'd for you! The Giants won!
6. Why can't you get our lawn to look like that?
7. Those Doritos and Coronas gave you heartburn, so I threw them out. Try these delicious rice cakes and "near beer" instead!
8. O-o-oh, those shoulder pads are sooo '80s!
9. Honey, I just peed on a stick and I am glad you are sitting down.
10. Overtime, schmovertime! Can we change the channel? NBC has ice-skating!
More on Relationships
Printed from Oprah.com on Sunday, March 9, 2014
© 2014 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.