Despite the overwhelming availability of sports information, fueled by the public's growing quest for knowledge, very seldom do we learn about the women most closely associated with the NFL - the players' and coaches' significant others. Rare are the reports, comments, or interviews with the actual wives/girlfriends/partners of NFL players. Their views and opinions are among the most neglected in professional football.

The women in Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women represent a wide range of tenures in the league, and these ranged from two years--as the girlfriend of a rookie free agent--to 26 years--as the wife of a veteran defensive coordinator.

The league's widely differing salaries, each player's or coach's level of fame (or anonymity), and the number of years in the NFL all greatly influence how people live, how they experience the NFL, and what issues they face. For instance, Jackie Rice and Kim Singletary are married to highly visible Hall-of-Fame or future Hall-of-Fame players. Their experiences with, for example, star-struck female groupies are different than for women married to less recognizable second-string players. Likewise, head coaches' wives, such as Kathy Nolan of the San Francisco 49ers, do not have the same financial concerns as the fiancÚ of a low-level assistant quality control coach who earns $25,000 per year.

Regardless of these differences, all of the women profiled in this book have one common characteristic: strength. They may not have started out tough and resilient, but the NFL has made them that way. Some of these women don't even know, or recognize, their own strength, but it's there, overshadowed by the name of her husband or boyfriend in the sports pages

 

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