Gone Campin’ : NFL Training Camp

I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach and giggles escaping with uncontrollable glee. And not because I greet each morning with a smile and a song, ala Snow White. I greet most mornings with decidedly un-Disney-esque sentiments. But this morning was different. Because this morning…Packers training camp begins.


Training camp is the pre-pre-season. It’s basically a really long audition for teams to figure out who makes the 53 man roster. It’s also the ultimate boot camp to get players back into football shape.

Because training camp marks the beginning of the football season and comes at the end of a 6 month football drought, it probably gets more hype than necessary. But really, enthusiasm is warranted after 6 months of racing, X games, and golf on Sunday afternoons. (My apologies to all of those sports and their fans…I just can’t handle it.)

Here’s what you need to know about the big training camp stories this season:


Peyton Manning beginning his reign with the Denver Broncos is the biggest focus point of training camp this year. You may have seen Peyton Manning on any number of commercials for automobiles and/or sneakers and/or Oreos. He was the franchise quarterback* for the Indianapolis Colts for the past 14 years and is one the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. However, after sitting last year out to due injury, the Colts decided to move on with a spring chicken: Stanford’s stand-out prospect and first overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Because transitional quarterback moves can create controversies (like the 49ers Montana to Young transition and the Packers Favre to Rodgers transition), Peyton decided to leave the Colts and pursue greener pastures. He found them in Denver. All eyes will be on how he plays post-injury (he had a year-long rehab from neck surgery) and how he fits with a new organization. (Additional trivia: You may also know Peyton’s brother, Eli Manning, who is the quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.)


Peyton’s arrival in Denver displaced their starting quarterback, Tim Tebow. You may know Tim Tebow because you don’t live under a rock. Homeboy is everywhere, and he’ll be a huge story of training camp because, well, he’s a huge story no matter where he goes, on the field or off.

After Peyton decided to come to Denver Tim was traded to the New York Jets, a media-happy team on their quiet days. The Jets are known for being big talkers and attracting lots of media attention for their unconventional antics, so adding Tebow, who already draws plenty of media attention for completely opposite reasons (parents: if your kids need a role model, look no further!), might cause both the New York and national media outlets to explode. From a football standpoint, it will be interesting to see how the Jets use Tebow, who is currently slated to be the teams back-up quarterback. The Jets are talking about using him in a variety of quarterback and non-quarterback ways, but again, it’s the Jets. And the Jets talk. A lot.


New Orleans. Oh, New Orleans. You’ve probably heard something about the Saints this off-season, whether it’s regarding the bounty program or the Drew Brees contract negotiations. The drama that unfolded over the past 6 months is what multi-million dollar movies are made of, but in short: the NFL uncovered a substantial “bounty” program run by the organization in which players were paid extra to take out other players on the field. The Saints deny the existence of this system and say they had a “pay for performance” program like many teams do. But in the end their head coach, Sean Payton, was suspended for a year as a result, along with numerous other player and coach suspensions.

The good news is that after months of negotiations the Saints finally reached a deal with franchise quarterback* Drew Brees so he will be back in New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Their training camp story is interesting because they’ve basically been decimated during the off-season with suspensions and bad news. They will also be without their interim head coach for the first 6 weeks of the regular season due to the bounty suspensions, so everyone will be waiting to see how they pull it all together in spite of their circumstances.


Training camp wouldn’t be training camp without a good holdout story. This season it’s Maurice Jones-Drew, who is “holding out” (not attending any team activities, including training camp) to try and get a better contract. The tricky part is that the Jaguars owner has already said that they expect Jones-Drew, the league’s premiere running back, to honor the last two years of his contract, and will not give him a long term deal. What happens next is a long, expensive stand-still to see who blinks first.


Namely: Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Robert Griffin III in Washington. Both will garner lots of debate. They are two of the most highly esteemed quarterbacks to enter the league in the past several years (or…ever), which is why they were picked first and second in this year’s NFL draft, respectively. Too much will be made of their training camp experience because, after all, it’s just camp. But it will be a big story nonetheless, especially for Andrew Luck, who is replacing aforementioned legend Peyton Manning.


Here’s a little hometown love for Buffalo! They did WORK over the off-season, bringing in much-needed big name free agents. The biggest of which is Mario Williams, who chose to sign with Buffalo after leaving the Houston Texans. He plays defensive end, a key position on any team, but his addition to the Bills makes them about 1,000,000 times better. If they can pull it together on offense they could be legit this season.

To get the full effect of training camp, take a look at this video. And lest you think training camp is all work and no play, see Brett Keisel.

*a “franchise quarterback” is a team’s star player, the quarterback who they believe will lead their team for the foreseeable future

Making The Connection

Theory about connection:

Girls are different than guys. (Don’t worry, that’s not the theory.) Men seem to be content to do things for the sake of doing things. Women need a reason. Women don’t do things they don’t have a connection to.

I’d guess that that’s why a lot of women don’t watch football: there’s no connection. We are busy creatures! We have lots to accomplish in life! And when we have nothing (or everything) left to do, we have Pinterest! So what woman in her right mind would spend 4 hours watching burly men walk back and forth across a field for no apparent reason?

Um, not a one.

That’s why I want to help! Because once football makes sense, you’ll have a connection. And once you have a connection, you’ll just love it.

Maybe even more than Pinterest.

So ladies: let’s talk.


Shout it out in the comments – anything at all. I’ll learn more about it and then post about it in a way that makes sense and is not painful.

I promise!

Let’s make the connection and get this season off to a great start.

In The Beginning, There Was Football

I’ve loved football for as long as I can remember. It’s a true love, the kind that makes you leap for joy and cry in sorrow and lose sleep over equal amounts of enthusiastic anticipation and impending doom (hello, Playoffs).

It’s also the kind of love that makes you want to learn everything you can about the object of your affection. You know, like when you first start dating a guy and hang on every detail about his appearance as The Tree in his 3rd grade musical. That’s how I feel about learning the ins and outs of football.

But I realize not every girl feels this way. A fact I found out all too quickly when I recently tried to help a friend find resources to learn the basics of the game so she could watch football with her husband and not want to poke her eyes out. There aren’t a lot of simple guides to football for girls, at least none that I could find.

So instead of sending my friend a huge book of trivia that would make her want to poke her eyes out even more, I just wrote down the basics. Nothing too fancy, just stuff like who the quarterback is and how to get a first down and what the yellow flags mean.

After I sent it to her a few other people asked if I could send them a copy as well. And while I’m more than happy to oblige, I think I can do one better. Because I think easy, fun football information for everyday girls is a needed commodity. And because there are few things in life I love more than football (my relationship with the Lord, my family and friends, all things visual and verbal, and food are basically the only items atop the list), why not dive into learning even more about the game I love and help some friends out along the way?

So here we are! A blog is born.

Big honkin’ disclaimer: I am still learning. There are a LOT of things that I don’t know about football. There might be some fumbles along the way as we learn together, so if you have any questions/comments/concerns please feel free to let me know by using the contact form on the last page!

The one thing I do know is that football is more than just grunting and tackling and tailgating. Trust me. This is coming from someone who has interests outside of cars and video games (sorry, guys). When I’m not spending 12 hours watching football every Sunday from September to February I’m baking cookies and taking pictures of flowers and eating too much frozen yogurt. I’m a normal girl who loves football. You can be too!

So what can you expect from Football for Normal Girls?

You can expect all of the basics to be covered in a way that makes sense.

You can expect current NFL news updates that will help you understand what everyone is talking about on Sundays.

You can expect a breakdown of the major moments from the big games of the weekend that will help you understand what everyone is talking about for the rest of the week.

You can expect game day recipes (hello, I’m still a girl, and I still love food).

You can expect me to be completely and irrationally biased toward the Green Bay Packers (at least we’re clear from the start on this one).

But mostly, you can expect that YOU will determine the content! I’ll be asking what you’d like to learn more about here and on social media outlets┬áperiodically and will post on topics that matter to you. Whether it’s what constitutes a touchdown or why there are rules about sock height or a manifesto on why, in fact, you should become a Packers fan, I’m happy to learn more about what you want to learn more about and post accordingly.

Can’t wait to talk to you all soon! It’s going to be a GREAT season!