While many of us on this site bleed blue, Blythe Brumleve’s blood is a more unique shade of teal. She’s been a diehard Jaguars fan since the team’s inception. Turns out we Colts fans don’t have the monopoly on being awesome; Blythe is the founder and chief contributor to GuysGirl.com, where I’ve spent way too much of my cyber-time. It features a variety of articles, reviews and editorials on everything ranging from sports to gaming to general geekdom, with a smattering of more traditionally ‘girly’ material as well. Oh, and she’s now written a book…in a mere three months! I had the privilege of interviewing my fellow female football fanatic about her new book, appropriately titled “A Girl’s Guide to Football Fanaticism”, sneaking in a few Colts-related questions along the way…
MS: Blythe, I know firsthand just how much discipline it takes to write a book, as I've consistently failed to muster up enough of it to make it past the third chapter. How long did it take you to write this fabulous book of yours? Which topics do you, in retrospect, wish you could have devoted even more time and space to?
BB: Overall, the book took about three months to actually write. I knew I wanted to write the book late last year and started to loosely plan it out in January of this year. It wasn't until May was upon me that I had to kick it in high gear in order to do everything I had envisioned. In retrospect, and because I'm such a perfectionist, I wanted to add significantly more information on the game, more cultural traditions and really address the growing football fan base. (Already got my 2nd edition ideas jotted!)
MS: In your expert opinion, what's the single most important factor in converting more females to our cult of football fanaticism?
BB: It’s showing the community aspect of the game. Women want to feel included and have fun at the same time, but for many years, football has been seen as having a "boys club" mentality. I want to change this by teaching women about the game so they don't feel embarrassed to ask about it, but also to welcome them into the "football family" atmosphere of food, games and all the other traditions that coincide with football.
MS: You and I have both noted that female football fans often become very personally invested in our teams and players. Can you recall ever getting into an argument with a friend or family member purely because they criticized or disrespected 'your' Jaguars?
BB: Is this a trick question?! Yes, absolutely! We have been the butt of national media jokes for years, but this offseason was especially hard with our close proximity to Gainesville, aka Gator Country; many of the fans felt insulted by the Jags not taking Tebow and laughed at us, thinking the team was "good as gone". I have to try really hard not to get mad when someone suggests we should have taken Tebow at the 10 spot.
There have also been occasions where I...ahem...have deleted "friends" off Facebook because they had very negative things to say on the Jags. The Jags have sort of become a badge of honor for me, and insulting them is like insulting my momma. Don't ever insult someone's momma!
MS: Duly noted: I’ll try to refrain from insulting anyone’s momma for the duration of this interview ;) Is the hatred that most Jags fans seem to harbor for the Colts tinged with respect and admiration, or is it really just pure, unmitigated loathing? Are the Colts your very least favorite team in the league?
BB: While most fans do say they hate the Colts, it’s more jealousy than anything. While I really respect the team and how they conduct themselves, when the schedule’s released, I look for the days we play the Colts and make sure to ask for that next day off (just in case I need a day to emotionally gather myself). During the game, I curse and yell like a sailor, but I still laugh at Peyton's commercials, so I can't hate the team too much.
I would say most Jag fans HATE Tennessee, not only for what they have done to us in the past, but the simple fact most Titans fans have a superiority complex just because they went to a Super Bowl.
BTW, I firmly believe that we (the Jags, Titans, Texans) all got screwed with Indy in our SOUTH division, but that story is for another day! :)
MS: I look forward to that other day and will arm myself with obnoxious arguments! Meanwhile, let’s take a dip in the delightfully shallow end of the pool: who’s your pick for hottest/sexiest NFL player?
BB: Mark Sanchez. (I think I answered this in two seconds…tops!)
MS: Hmmm…he’s fairly low on my list, so you can have ‘The Sanchize’ all to yourself ;) On another note: we’re all haunted by losses that devastated us in ways only fellow fanatics can understand. What’s the one Jaguars game that most bitterly disappointed you?
BB: In 2007, the Jags beat the Steelers in the playoffs (their first playoff victory since 99), and I thought we had a real chance to compete against the Pats in the next round. Not only did we lose, but we were humiliated 31-20. I've never felt such a dramatic swing of emotions in such a short time.
Annnnnnd what you probably have been waiting for: the December game last year against the Colts was especially painful. The city put on an amazing party outside of the stadium complete with food, drinks, music and free games. The whole city was in attendance. The team was in the playoff hunt before dropping four straight: that second and season-crippling loss came at the hands of Manning, when he put on his Superman cape to win the game 35-31. It was an incredible back and forth game, and we really thought for a while we would pull off something to be excited about. Sadly, we lost, my brother almost got in a fight with a Colts fan, and that was how my home football season ended last year.
*Cue the NFL High Hopes commercial*
MS: When I read your book, I was struck by the extent to which members of either gender could appreciate it. Did you write it exclusively for females, or did you also have our male counterparts in mind?
BB: I wrote the book mainly for female novice fans of the game, but if a guy can get past the pink, he’s more than welcome to read it. Overall, I want the stereotype of football having a "boys club only" mentality to be extinguished. There are fans of all knowledge levels from both genders, and if each of those demographics can gain a bit of knowledge from the book, that is what it’s all about: welcoming more fans to the football family, no matter the gender.
MS: If you could steal one player not named Peyton from the Colts, who would it be and why? (Fair warning: I won’t surrender my beloved Dallas Clark without a fight!)
BB: I would drool at the opportunity to have Peyton, and Dallas Clark is my second choice-
MS: No! No Peyton or Dallas for you, regardless of how much I enjoy your blog and book…
BB: -but I’d pick Bob Sanders (despite the injuries) or Reggie Wayne. Not enough can be said about the lack of pass rush the Jags had last season, but we’ve sorely needed solid role models for our young WRs.
MS: Have you or would you ever date someone who was---(*gasp*)---indifferent to football?
BB: Absolutely not. Not to sound like I prejudge, but if a guy doesn't like football, I look at him like a strange alien from another planet....that's a red flag and a clue to turn around and run the other way! Football and the Jags are a main passion in my life. First, I would need a guy to like football just as much as I do…and I would prefer that they root for the Jags. :)
Blythe Brumleve roots for a division rival, but she’s right about us all being part of one big---albeit dysfunctional---football family. Make a cyber-visit to Guysgirl.com, and use “A Girl’s Guide to Football Fanaticism”as a bible with which to convert the football-indifferent women you know and love!