With the ever-growing NFL fan base here in the UK I decided to create a series of blog posts which celebrate female NFL fans across the UK.
Why, you may ask? Well, why the hell not! I see a lot of men discussing the sport across social media which is great but I’d like to play my part in making sure there are more females out there enjoying the sport, and to help empower them to be more confident in sharing their passion by talking about the game too.
We kick off the series with my good friend and fellow Seattle Seahawks fan, Shona Duthie. Here Shona shares with us how she got in to the NFL, how she made the choice of her team as well as more about her overall experience as a fan.
How did I get into following the NFL you ask? Well step into a pair of chinos, a navy jumper and a headset and you have got yourself Jim Harbaugh.
No seriously, it was the Harbaugh Bowl, the Brother Bowl – When the Baltimore Ravens clashed with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. I had also watched a couple of playoffs games before this showdown in 2013.
Even films like Ace Ventura, “laces out”, I found myself drawn to the sport but never quite invested enough time to truly back a team and follow the sport.
Back to 2013, an ex-boyfriend, a Green Bay Packers fan, got me into watching it one evening. Ironically by the time we got to the Super Bowl I had decided to back John and the Ravens.
It could have been the fact the ex was spouting rubbish about Colin Kaepernick (on reflection this was, indeed, all rubbish).
But alas the Ravens won over the 49ers and I was jovial. I tried to stick with it the following season, but I took a stand of not wanting to watch it due to the ex who broke up with me over the summer (it’s funny now).
In 2014 came my trip to Seattle, the year of the Seattle Seahawks’ first ever Super Bowl triumph – Super Bowl XLVIII– now that ought to do it am I right?
Dip in the fact someone I knew from home was a massive Denver Broncos fan, I backed the Hawks and well this is where the love affair began [sorry Peyton Manning].
The streets in Seattle were full of Seahawks fans, flags everywhere and let’s not forget Century Link Field.
And from here this is where I have never stopped watching an NFL game on Sundays.
I went from an all-time high backing the Seahawks to heartbreak against the New England Patriots the following year.
I was hooked. Even the pain of not handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the one-yard line, Tom Cable and Pete Carroll – I am looking at you, could not stop me from watching the Hawks and the league again.
My move to London in 2015 for work, sports reporter, got me even more focused on the American game. From there I was luckily enough to write for Ninety-Nine yards after meeting a fellow fan.
In 2017 I met Beast Mode himself through the site. I was star struck, I was speechless but hey I got a photo.
I was writing about a local football team at the time with the blog on the side and while I loved my role I wanted to write more on the sport that was so electrifying to watch.
So flashforward three years, I am now luckily enough to support my Hawks and write about a sport I adore for my job – as they say you never work a day in your life if you love what you do.
Now to 2018 not only did I attend the London Games for the first time I got to do Techno Thursday’s with Neiko Thorpe in the summer – we smashed it to Sandstorm – Techno, Techno, Techno!
I just did the Techno Thursday dance with @Neiko15 from the Seattle Seahawks. Counting on you to bring it back! #yearmade #12s #TechnoTechnoTechno pic.twitter.com/kVB7W6PsCQ— Shona Duthie (@ShonaDuthie4) July 18, 2018
Seattle then came over in October and beat the Oakland Raiders at Wembley.
I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to watch my team in the city I lived in, I saw Russell fricken Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Frank Clark, the Griffin twins – Shaquill and Shaquem – and Tyler Lockett.
That week in October I was also able to interview Pete – I asked a question – I stuttered – he didn’t understand my Scottish accent, but I spoke with Pete Carroll. Awesome.
So, in a way after all this time, I guess I should thank the ex for getting me into the sport, yeah? Yes, yeah…no. I’ll go with Seattle, it’s dazzling lights and it’s fanbase.
Oh, and I can’t forget Jim’s chinos.
Interested in being featured in our blog series celebrating female NFL fans? Send your story along with any photos you wish to share, to firstname.lastname@example.org.