View Full Version : NFL Chick-lit: Calling football fans!

01-24-2012, 09:26 AM
So. I seem to have written a chick-lit about a girl who falls in love with an NFL quarterback. This is all good and dandy, unless the reader realizes that I don't know much about football. I have the basics down; schedules, plays, positions, things I can look up online, but I was hoping anyone with more intimate knowledge could offer:

What's the social life of an NFL player like? Does he get much off-time?

Any catch phrases, inside jokes, gestures that get bandied about a lot? People who are mentioned, legends referenced? Any little details that would make the characters more convincing as players. I'm trying to get a feeling for the general culture of the team, especially off field.

Know much about the girlfriends? Since this is about a girl who dates one. Most of the book focuses on her family and job, but is there any specific treatment girlfriends and wives get? A specific place they sit in the stands?

Press box in the stadium? Anyone been in one?

I'm grateful for anything, or if you have memoirs to recommend, that's great too. Thanks!

01-29-2012, 10:16 PM
Hi Alison. I've got some experience in this area, so I can throw out a few answers to you. You've got to get it right, too, because football is very popular among women and they will spot factual errors.

The social life of an NFL player is whatever he wants it to be. He can go out to the hot party spots every night and stay out until 3am and hang out at strip joints and throw around enough cash to get his needs taken care of. Or, he can attend a church social and stay home and watch TV. It all depends on what kind of guy he is.

The social life will include a lot of team get-togethers. Football is very much a team game in which all parts must work in concert to be successful. There will be parties and BBQs at guy's houses and lots of golf outings.

As far as available time goes, there is very little during the season. From mid-July, when training camp opens, to the last game, they live and breathe football 24-7. On a normal week, Tuesday is the only day off. However, a QB is likely to spend part of that day watching tape of the next opponent. He will also be too tired/sore to get out and do much.

During the off-season, there are a couple of mini-camps on weekends. If your QB character is a big-shot, he might have a foundation and do some charity work. He has a lot more time. He will get together with his receivers and throw passes out at the neighborhood park every so often.

Any catch phrases, inside jokes, gestures that get bandied about a lot? Yes, and this is where being a good fiction writer comes into play. You can make them up. One thing to know -- a QB and his favorite receiver often communicate at the line of scrimmage with simple eye contact and, based on how the defense is lining up, they will know what each other is thinking. You can translate that into a social situation and have some fun.

People who are mentioned, legends referenced? Depends on the city where your story is based, where the QB went to college for old coaches, teammates. Current top NFL QBs are Tom Brady of the Patriots, Peyton Manning of the Colts (injured this year and might retire or land on another team) and Aaron Rogers of the Packers.

Wives and serious girlfriends are treated with respect by the other players. These guys who are watched by millions and make tons of money are just regular people, too. But they have access to women that most men can only dream of and there is a hierarchy. On the one hand, you've got groupies, strippers and girls who have a way of showing up at parties. On the other, wives and girlfriends. Here's something else. You have a lot of these guys coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and raised by single mothers. They know a good woman when they see one. I don't know about specific treatment, but they will be treated with respect.

They generally have their own section in the stands, yes.

The press box I am most familiar with is in one of the older stadiums, so I'm not sure how much help I can provide. It has long rows of counters with chairs. Reporters will have their laptops and the team will provide papers and cards with the rosters, starting lineups and various notes on the teams. In the back of the press box will be a buffet with crappy food for a small price. The one I used to go to has a clear sign that says "No Children Allowed" yet the men's room has a baby changing table :)

Hope this helps.

01-30-2012, 03:42 AM
Most of the book focuses on her family and job, but is there any specific treatment girlfriends and wives get? A specific place they sit in the stands?

Many newer stadiums have a tunnel that runs beneath the stadium. This is where many players park. Spaces are based on heirarchy.

Also beneath the stadium there are often medical rooms, media rooms for post game interviews along with the locker rooms. Since so many players have small children, there are often nurseries or playrooms where nannies, etc. watch the kids during the games.

While there are reserved areas for players wives, many of the high profile players will own a box for their own family and friends or for charitable foundation use.

ETA: Press boxes are typically located on the same level as the broadcast rooms. The areas where the TV guys are calling the game are quite small, maybe 10x10, even smaller in some cases.

Deb Kinnard
01-30-2012, 03:46 AM
Who's your hero like? Tebow? Brees? Cutler (oh, no, not Cutler. I'm a Bears fan)? Point is, their lifestyles are going to differ all over the map, just like men in other lines of work. For someone who gets it right (IMO), you might want to read some of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' superb (and funny!) football romances.

01-30-2012, 11:26 PM
Thanks so much, guys! That helps a lot. I figured it was something people would be upset about if I went wrong (since I know I've been up in arms about historical fiction that misses the mark in my areas) and while it's easy enough to find the big stuff, I worry about getting little ticks wrong. Appreciate it!