Since its inception in 1920, the NFL has been a man's game. Just look at any sitcom; the scenario is always the same: A working knowledge of the game seems necessary for that legendary "man card." These same shows portray women as having (at best) a marginal relationship with the biggest sport in America. Not only are they excluded from the football festivities, but these fictional portrayals show women who are bitter about their husbands' obsession with the game. And, I think I speak for female football fans everywhere when I say, "Well, that's a bunch of bullsh*t."
Indeed, even qualifying the term "football fan" with "female" feels unnecessary. And, while we can't speak to the condescending comments your guy friends make, we can say that the NFL is making major strides to incorporate women — situational comedy be damned.
Over the past few years, the NFL has surpassed both the NBA and the MLB in female regular-season viewers
. And, in 2012, more women — a cool 43 million of ‘em
— watched the Super Bowl. Which is more than both the Grammy Awards and the Academy Awards combined. It seems not even the greatest J Lawr GIF moment can get a tried-and-true fan away from her team on the field. Indeed, in 2012 the NFL trailed only college sports in female fans
, counting women as 44% of their fan base. Among women ages 18 to 49, Sunday Night Football won out
over Dancing With The Stars
, and Grey’s Anatomy
. And, as you can imagine, that number is only growing.
But, what makes women such a key demographic to the League? And, what measures is the organization taking to not only get women into the game, but keep them lifelong fans? For female football fans everywhere, here's a closer look at why women have become invaluable to the most macho sport in town.