The Football Girl Podcast

By Underdog Sports

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Finally, a podcast celebrating all the women who know and love football. TFG Managing Editor Melissa Jacobs talks to the most prominent female voices in all aspects of the NFL and shares a weekly musing on the intersection of football, society and feminism.

Episode Date
Amy Palcic on Running the World of an NFL PR Department
A rare, wide-ranging conversation with Amy Palcic, the first woman to run an NFL PR department. Palcic takes the listener inside her job including that monumental night when J.J. Watt decided to start a small fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey. Palcic also offers great insight into the modern pr-media relationship and considers how men and women may cover the sport differently. Also in this episode, Melissa shares what is most exciting her about the upcoming NFL season (hint: think robust QB rooms). Later we hand name our first TFG Do-Gooder. The Rundown: 4:45: Why the NFL’s QB future looks especially bright 8:40: On Ed Werder’s misguided blindness about general inequality in sports media 14:36: Amy Palcic joins! 16:20: Palcic on being a “female first” 17:37: Palcic on what the head of communications for an NFL team actually does 20:11: Palcic on the Texans high ratio of female executives 22:09: Palcic tells the crazy story of how J.J. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey came to life 32:30: Palcic on why the NFL pr-reporter relationship has become more difficult 34:55: Palcic on the most difficult aspect of her job 37:03: Palcic on whether there is difference between the way women and men cover the NFL 38:41: Palcic on the importance of women supporting each other in the NFL 41:50: Palcic on growing up the daughter of an NFL coach and whether she ever wanted to coach 42:50: Palcic’s advice for anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps. 44:47: Our debut Do Gooder of the Week is … Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin
Jun 21, 2018
The Fascinating NFL Afterlife of D'Brickashaw Ferguson
When former Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired two years ago at age 32 in the midst of a storied, injury-free career, the news was stunning for many. Was it because the Jets wanted him to take a pay cut? Or perhaps it was because Ferguson felt a ‘little betrayed’ after seeing the movie Concussion? Ferguson clears the air in this wide-ranging conversation. He also speaks honestly about the unique transition from professional athlete to regular human, and his process of self-discovery. As a player, Ferguson prided himself on being quiet and non-controversial. Here, he talks about his evolved mindset, the unique platform given to athletes, and the types of conversations he hopes to start with his new experiential blog, The Perspective. Plus, his current health, his feelings about the trajectory of football and much more! Also in this episode, Melissa reflects on the life and impact of Dwight Clark, plus breaks down all the antiqued elements of the 1982 NFC Championship. (A time out with :58 seconds left and third down? What was Bill Walsh thinking???) THE RUNDOWN 4:26: Melissa remembers the greatness of Dwight Clark 8:30: Melissa on the anachronisms of the 1982 NFC Championship 13:30: D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON JOINS 13:53: Why he retired in 2016 17:13: Whether CTE and seeing Concussion factored into his decision 19:22: Examining his post-NFL options and why he chose finance 22:48: On the mental transition from professional athlete to regular human 27:01: The varying layers of NFL players deciding to retire 30:53: On why he’s starting a new blog called The Perspective about his experiences 34:15: Why he was non-controversial as a player and why he’s done being quiet 37:30: The emotions of writing 39:15: How much football he watches 43:35: On the only surgery he’s ever had. He was 9. 48:14: Does he agree with Melissa’s notion that LT is the second-most important position in football
Jun 07, 2018
Navigating the NFL's Shameful New Anthem Policy
On this special edition of the TFG Pod, Melissa shares her views on the deeply disturbing new anthem policy wrong, and the possible ramifications for the NFL. She also discusses a recent Player’s Coalition event in Oakland rooted in criminal justice reform and a particularly poignant statement from 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. Then Howard Bryant, ESPN the Magazine senior writer and author of the prescient new book, The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, joins to offer his fiery lens on the anthem policy and what’s next for the players. Bryant is hopeful this policy will ignite a true coalition of players but is skeptical given the union’s decades-long lack of moral backbone. Also three NFL fans announce they are done with the league after the new anthem policy. THE RUNDOWN 1:30: A fun announcement about the TFG Podcast 5:30: Melissa attends a Player’s Coalition event in Oakland 7:52: Richard Sherman on why sports and politics SHOULD mix 9:10: The NFL players got royally screwed by the new anthem policy 11:35: Melissa on the never-ending holes with the anthem policy HOWARD BRYANT JOINS 18:25: New policy confirms skepticism toward union + “players got played” 20:32: We’re going to find out what the players are made of. 23:25: Solidarity among players should have taken priority over working with NFL 25:40: Players need to find more new, creative ways to protest 28:80: Hopeful that Malcolm Jenkins will change his tactics 29:50: How to keep original messaging on target 31:45: Up to the union to create platform where player activism can be passed on
May 25, 2018
ESPN's Mina Kimes on the NFL Draft, Her Rise & How to Market to Female Fans
May 02, 2018
A Tale of Two NFL Draft Previews
Ex-scout, current Dallas Cowboys analyst & draft genius Bryan Broaddus brings a boatload of insight and astute QB dissection. In an earlier segment Melissa and her husband drink a bottle of wine and also talk draft with just a bit less analysis. If you like wine, weird QB analysis, Westworld-NFL Draft analogies (8:20), the dissection of Mitch Trubisky’s name (9:27) Melissa’s “drunken draft preview” with her Bears fan husband Dave has you covered. If you are a draft nerd, don’t have much spare time or want an brilliant depth lens into the NFL draft process and this intriguing crop of QBs, you will love our conversation with Bryan Broaddus (38:02). Broaddus, a former personal/scout man for the Eagles, Jags, Packers and Cowboys who now covers the Cowboys and the league at large, illuminates the draft process given his unique vantage point on both ends. Bryan’s Top 5 QBs are, in order – Josh Rosen, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield. Among Bryan’s many insights in this convo: Behind the mask of anonymous scouts (39:40) What really goes on in the war room? (42:01) Josh Rosen’s comp… (46:40) Why Cleveland is even considering Josh Allen at #1 (47:28) The Lamar Jackson (and any non-traditional QB) conundrum (54:25) Biggest deficiency for a QB to overcome at the next level (58:50) What trends we’ll see in this NFL draft (1:00:46) The one draft buzzword that drives Bryan crazy (1:02:10)
Apr 26, 2018
Past, Present, and Future of the Activist Athlete
The Nation's Sports Editor Dave Zirin joins the TFG Pod to discuss the whirlwind process and shocking aftermath of co-writing, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable, with Eagles DE Michael Bennett. (11:50) Dave explains who exactly should read the book and why Michael is such a prescient voice for our times. (21:42) He also discusses his next book, Jim Brown: Last Man Standing, about perhaps the most complex mega athlete of the last century (24:21), and reveals the under-the-radar athlete activists whose impact we'll be talking about in 10 years (36:00). Plus, Dave and Melissa examine Eric Reid and the NFL's attempts to squash its anthem issues. (32:39) Finally, Melissa muses on why the NFL needs Josh Rosen and why it needs to send Ray Lewis into exile. (48:15) MUSIC: Funky Cha Cha - Arturo Sandoval | They Reminisce Over You - Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth | Confident - Demi Lovato | GOD. - Kendrick Lamar | Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Apr 12, 2018
Ex-ESPNer Jane McManus on her new life in Europe
Highly respected journalist Jane McManus was one of the many stunning casualties during ESPN's massive layoffs in April 2017. Faced with a jolt, Jane turned the news into a life-altering adventure for her and her family. Her husband, a teacher, got a new job in Surrey, England and they found a new rental with the help of House Hunters International! In this wide-ranging conversation, Jane discusses the impetus for the move, takes us behind the scenes of her HHI episode, the emotions of being laid off, her views on ESPN's controversial trajectory, the treacherous media landscape, gun violence in the UK vs US and much more. Later in the episode, Melissa has a special Passover edition of her musings with questions and answers on Odell Beckham's future in NY, Johnny Manziel's chances at an NFL job, Michael Bennett's felony, and the new NFL rules. If you like what you hear, please leave us a nice rating and/or review! THE RUNDOWN: 7:49: JANE MCMANUS conversation 10:25 Behind the scenes of Jane’s family’s stint on House Hunters International 12:02: How Jane got on House Hunters 15:30 How Jane and her husband refrained from laughter during filming 21:13: On finding peace and adventure after being laid off from ESPN 27:40: On not working in the aftermath of the layoff 31:20: How the NFL is covered in the UK 38:15: Whether or not she missed covering the NFL last season. 40:15: Gun violence in the UK vs. the US 49:30: How ESPN has changed in the past year 52:10: Jane’s views on sports media’s trajectory 56:13: Best place Jane has visited in Europe 57:45: MELISSA'S MUSINGS on Odell Beckham Jr, Johnny Manziel, Michael Bennett and player safety. MUSIC: Funky Cha Cha - Arturo Sandoval | Around the World - Red Hot Chili Peppers | All About the Money - Troy Ave | Johnny B Goode - Chuck Berry | F*ck the Police - N.W.A. | The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats | Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Mar 29, 2018
Lia Reich, NFL Daughter Extraordinaire
Imagine growing up the daughter of an NFL quarterback, especially one as grounded as Frank Reich. Or experiencing your dad's glory winning the Super Bowl and immediately landing a head coach gig. Lia Reich provides a lens into her close relationship with her father and family and how the values he passed on catapulted her to delightful childhood and fascinating career in robotics. (Starts 15:35) Plus, Melissa Jacobs on what appears to be the blackballing of Eric Reid, how Nate Solder's signing leaves a lot of teams with a big hole and Tom Brady's jaw-dropping beer chugging abilities. 🐐 MUSIC: Funky Cha Cha - Arturo Sandoval | Whatever It Takes - Imagine Dragons | Make It Rain - Fat Joe Featuring Lil' Wayne | Mr. Brightside - The Killers Questions? Comments? Guest suggestions? Drop us a line:
Mar 16, 2018
Twitter's Laura Froelich on Global Efforts to Enhance Sports Consumption
If Global Head of Sports Partnerships for Twitter sounds like a dream job, that's because it is. Laura Froelich, who has held the role for 2.5 years, join the pod to talk about her career trajectory, how exactly Twitter helps sports entities and athletes, efforts to make high profile athletes feel safe on Twitter, and when her New York Jets may reappear in the Super Bowl. (Interview starts 7:50). Plus, Melissa's 6-year-old son invites Jimmy Garoppolo to his upcoming birthday party.(5:37) Also, Melissa longs for a more diverse Monday Night Football booth. (37:50) Music: Funky Cha Cha - Arturo Sandoval | When You Wish Upon A Star - Jiminy Cricket | Int'l Players Anthem - UGK Ft. Outkast | Power - Little Mix | Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Feb 21, 2018
Inside the NFL's Tone Deaf Women's Summit
In this Super Bowl hangover edition, Melissa opens with some piercing thoughts on Josh McDaniels backing out of the Colts job. (1:01). Bleacher Report's Natalie Weiner then joins the pod to talk about the fascinating ramifications of her Kendrick Lamar question to Tom Brady.(8:43) Natalie and Melissa also dive into the intricacies of the NFL's misguided Women's Summit (16:15), the uncomfortable sexualized maze women in football have to navigate(23:40)and the real gender issues the NFL should be discussing (31:13.) And finally, Melissa's musing on why the Eagles are the NFL's perfect team, including some inspirational words from Nick Foles. (34:54) Follow Natalie Weiner on Twitter: @natalieweiner And if you like our pod, please rate and review us!
Feb 08, 2018
Super Bowl 52 Extravaganza with Michele Tafoya and Charlotte Wilder
Our Super Bowl special from Minneapolis begins with Melissa's explanation of the monstrous Mall of America and its strange yet endearing logistics for the Eagles and Patriots.(2:02)Then Melissa is joined in person by SB Nation's Charlotte Wilder who is on a quest to decipher Tom Brady's fake newspaper. (8:41) Later in the episode Melissa chats with NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya about the intricacies of working a Super Bowl and whether she would want to move into the booth. (21:51). And finally, Melissa makes a Super Bowl prediction and throws in two props with extreme confidence! (31:26)
Feb 02, 2018
Everything But The Super Bowl
In this episode, Melissa talks about why the new XFL has little shot at success (4:19), the NFL's new partnership with certain players on social justice (7:36), the hiring of Steve Wilks (11:32) and other non-Super Bowl news. (Don't worry, we'll have plenty of Super Bowl coverage from Minneapolis next week.) Also, Emily Kaplan, one of the great writers in all of sports, joins the pod (14:48) to talk about her fascinating transition from The MMQB to ESPN NHL reporter. Emily notes some of the surprising differences between NFL and NHL players, the struggle to give hockey attention and the climate for women in the NHL
Jan 27, 2018
Laura Okmin is leading the NFL's next generation of female broadcasters
This week, Melissa chats with inspirational Fox sideline reporter Laura Okmin who details her personal transformation and why she has dedicated herself to helping aspiring female NFL broadcasters. Why are the perils these women will face too similar to those of 20 years ago, and how does it get better for women in the NFL? Also, Melissa on an extra strange week on Twitter + AFC and NFC Championship picks.
Jan 18, 2018
Vernon Shazier(Ryan's Father)on his son's injury, prayer, and humanity
It was a phone call Vernon Shazier will never forget. His son, Ryan, amid being rushed to a Cincinnati hospital last month with a severe back injury, called his father and said, “Daddy, pray for me. I can’t feel my legs. “ Vernon joins us and powerfully details that night and the ensuing weeks since, including his frequent visits with Ryan. Vernon Shazier is a pastor and motivational speaker and even he was been overwhelmed by the goodness of humanity in wake of tragedy.(Starts at 8:57) Also in this episode: Melissa Jacobs on looming issues from wild-card weekend and what to expect out of the divisional round. Have something to say about this episode? Leave us a note at
Jan 10, 2018
NFL Playoff Preview: Will New England Be Dethroned?
USA Today National NFL Reporter Lindsay Jones joins the pod to talk all things playoffs. Who can beat New England? Can the Eagles' defense talk them anywhere? Who are the sneaky, dangerous teams and players? And, of course, who will hoist the Lombardi Trophy on February 4th? We also wrap up Black Monday as Lindsay explains how on earth Marvin Lewis is still employed in Cincinnati.
Jan 04, 2018
Yahoo's Liz Loza Helps Us Bid Adieu to 2017
Our fifth and last episode of 2017 puts a bow on a tumultuous year in the NFL. Melissa offers some bold predictions about the playoffs, including a James Harrison twist – and adds more prognostications about 2018. (Think Tom Brady's farewell tour) Joining The Football Girl podcast is Yahoo! Fantasy Analyst Liz Loza who offers her biggest fantasy surprise and disappointment of the season, explains her amazing transformation from actress to fantasy analyst, dishes on her big night at Hamilton and much more!
Dec 30, 2017
Beth Mowins shatters glass, Jourdan Rodrigue on the Jerry Richardson fallout
The first female to call a nationally televised NFL game talks about her journey, the art of play-by-play, understanding the magnitude of her accomplishments and much more. Plus Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer gives a tick-tock into the mad, mad world of the Panthers in the wake of the Jerry Richardson allegations. Plus, Melissa Jacobs makes the case for Frank Gore as a first ballot Hall of Fame and offers a ten point plan for the ideal next owner of the Panthers. (No. 1: Be female or a minority)
Dec 21, 2017
#MeToo Finally Spills into Sports
WARNING: Some language is inappropriate for children. As the #MeToo movement spread through entertainment and politics, the sports world collectively wondered when it would hit our heightened bastion of sexualization. It finally has as a disturbing lawsuit alleges mass sexual harassment at NFL Network. This week's guest, noted sports and feminism journalist Julie DiCaro, has some fascinating thoughts on whether the floodgates will really open and the difficulty of being a woman in sports. Plus, Melissa's Musing on the NFL MVP race and more.
Dec 14, 2017
ESPN's Stephania Bell: Can the NFL Ever Be Safer?
ESPN Injury Expert Stephania Bell joins us to talk about brutality of football, where players factor into the concussion issues and how to cover players for fantasy purposes vs. reality. Also, a lively discussion about the new look 49ers and their upward trajectory as the Jimmy Garoppolo era begins.
Dec 06, 2017
Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, SI's Maggie Gray
The Football Girl podcast, hosted by Melissa Jacobs, debuts in splashy fashion with ex-Raiders CEO and current CBS Network NFL Analyst Amy Trask. Amy talks about her years with the Raiders (1987-2013) and being an executive decades before women were given real opportunities in the NFL. SI's Maggie Gray talks the radio dream job she's about to start (you'll have listen to find out) and tries to diagnose the Buffalo Bills. Finally, Melissa closes out the show with a musing on the NFL's quarterbacking woes.
Nov 30, 2017