Celebrating female NFL fans in the UK: Introducing New York Jets fan, Joanne Lenton.

Celebrating female NFL fans in the UK: Introducing New York Jets fan, Joanne Lenton.

As part of our series in celebrating female NFL fans across the UK, I’d like to introduce you to Joanne Lenton. Joanne is a Jets fan and 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.

So, I’m pretty new to the NFL and appear to have made a big initial error…yes, I have chosen to adopt the New York Jets!

Crazy I know but I do like an underdog.  

My first love is football and I have supported Newcastle United for more years than I care to remember.  Again, we’re talking about a big city where they love their sport. But on and off the pitch things can get rather complicated.  

Then there’s my love of baseball. I got into baseball in a big way about 5 years ago now. Recently I’ve become part of the UK Mets helping to promote MLB here in the UK.

The New York Mets are another team that promises a lot but rarely delivers. But you can always guarantee a rollercoaster ride every time you tune in.  Due to this connection with the MLB I noticed a lot of fans were also avid NFL followers.  It would have been too easy for me to pick the Giants so I picked the Jets… good choice, right?!

I think it was my love of baseball that led me to the NFL.  

American sports are great and it’s so easy to get consumed by it. Football over here can get quite tribal and whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s nice to follow a sport that are more open to new follower. That’s what I have found with the NFL.

As I mentioned earlier it’s still early days but for the past couple of years I have tuned into watch the Red Zone or a full game every Sunday. Its one of the highlights of my week.

The coverage on the BBC has also been a great introduction to the game as well. There’s still so much more to learn but now I have grasped the basics it’s a fantastic game to watch.

I’ve only scratched the surface and I know there is a whole world of tactics, plays and statistics out there but in its purest form, American Football is engrossing.

It would be great to watch a game live but as this stage I haven’t had the opportunity.  

I’ve watched baseball in New York and Boston and absolutely loved every minute of it.  Going to a stadium in the USA is so much more than just watching the game. I love the atmosphere, the food, the fans, the merchandise and of course, the beer!!

My aim over the next couple of years is to get to a game; I’d love to make it to one of the London fixtures.  Viewing these from afar they also look like a fantastic social event more than anything else, which is great.  

There seems to be a vibrant and dedicated NFL scene here in the UK and I would love to get more involved.  

Usually I visit New York every year as well so if I can I’ll be trying to get to a game at the MetLife Stadium, another tick on the bucket list!

I would love someone to tell me that following the Jets is going to be a success.

I have a feeling that it may take a few years yet. Sam Darnold looks like he has loads of potential at QB so I’m really looking forward to see how he progresses next season. Jamal Adams is always entertaining to watch and with a new coach next season who knows what will happen…well apart from the Patriots winning the division of course!

As an NFL newbie it would be great to hear from fellow NFL fans on Twitter so please feel free to recommend any podcasts, cool people to follow or just to chat about the NFL and the Jets prospects next season with me.  

You can find me lurking as @Pidgeos but be warned, prepare for a large amount of baseball posts as well!

Interested in being featured in our blog series celebrating female NFL fans? Send your story along with any photos you wish to share, to liz@nflgirluk.com. 

Liz Bhandari

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons, and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards and for her own website, NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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