Women comprise nearly half of the NFL's viewing audience nowadays, but this wasn't always the case. Back in the 60's, America's wives were positively flummoxed by the confusing and male-dominated arena of football enjoying. It was enough to make a gal feel left out and abandoned! Tensions ran high! We were on the precipice of despair! Thankfully, by 1966, BirdsEye brand vegetables had enough and published a guide for women who just want to know what the H-E-double hockey sticks was going on with football, and how to be a proper ladyfan. And now we're showing it to you.
Let's start with a quick introduction to the pamphlet's author, Pat Kiley. Kiley was a female Pittsburgh broadcasting pioneer; according to The Design Morgue blog, the first woman to appear on broadcast TV in the Steel City. She was married to a Pittsburgh Steelers executive and had written other articles about watching football as a family.
The first thing you need to do, lonely lady who wants to know about football, is understand that until you know your football basics, anything and everything you could possibly ask your husband until you know those basics will be a stupid annoyance to his valuable man-time. Says the pamphlet,
The catch is, HOW do you join? It is sheer madness to ask the man in your life to start at the beginning and explain the game to you. Things are tough enough without deliberately looking for trouble!
What you need are the answers to what males think are stupid questions about football. Once you master the basics, it will be safe to play The Togetherness Game and ask your hero intelligent football questions.He will welcome the opportunity to show off his superior knowledge, but more important, he will welcome you — at his side, either at the stadium or in front of the TV. And that's what all women want, isn't it? Not to be left out of things, or, Heaven forbid! ignored!
Hence, this booklet, The Ladies' Guide to Football. It is your passport to the brave new world of the National Football League. This is where the action is. More important to women, it's where the MEN are!
We then move into the nuts and bolts of the game. For example: what is football? What is a ball? What is gravity? What is the point of any of the things we try to do with our precious, finite lives?
Something else: football is a contact sport. This means players are allowed to bump into an opponent (blocking) or they may grab him and throw him to the ground (tackling). Obviously this is why women prefer to watch, rather than play, this game.
WHY IS IT PLAYED? Good question. However, once you become a fan, you'll know why.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that some women in the 1960's must never have left the house or looked at pictures of anything or could read a newspaper.
The pamphlet continues with more specifics of gameplay, and how the game is divided into quarters. But, most importantly, what the woman's job is to do when the play stops.
Between the halves, there is a 15 minute intermission during which the players leave the field. They go to their dressing rooms and rest. And you go into action: make a beeline for the refreshment stand, hunt for the ladies' room, chat with friends, check who's with whom, and who's wearing what, or simply enjoy the half-time show.
This, of course, refers to your activity at the stadium. If you are at home watching a televised game, your half-time is usually spent on KP! Many a stew has been stirred, casserole checked, or dinner table set during these 15 minutes (see menus, page 10).
Thank god there's both gossip time and recipes. I was beginning to feel out of place around all of this diversion and with no servant responsibilities or lady cattiness in which to indulge.
On the next page, more gameplay, and a convenient way for women to understand the job of a place kicker.
As stated earlier, this is a game of specialists — one of which is a place-kicker. In the NFL, making extra points for kickers is as automatic as getting up in the morning and making beds is for you! This is why extra points are invariably made by the kicking method.
Well, when you put it that way, kickers must be awesome. I'm pretty much the Gary Anderson of bedmaking myself.
God, finally the ladystuff. Here we have two pages of delicious menus that go perfectly with football. What man doesn't crave a hearty stroganoff after an exhausting day of watching other people run around?
And more important things for the ladyfan— stadium fashions.
Now for special offers for gamewatching accoutrements and NFL trivia that you can spout so your husband doesn't think you're stupid. For example, did you know that Frank Ryan, quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, has his Ph.D in Mathematics from Rice University? And that the Cardinals, who are in St. Louis instead of Arizona now, have a quarterback who is studying chemical engineering in the off season? My, what nice young boys we have out there. And what a favor you're doing to your husband to spend your time brushing up on his hobbies. As a man might say, "Touchdown!"
The Ladies' Guide To Football [The Design Morgue]