Sure, that woman you may see in the supermarket tomorrow with her Ravens eye black and purple camouflage is calling tomorrow’s game for Baltimore. But don’t believe Syreeta Hubbard just because she’s a lifelong fan.
As the Baltimore sports talker who blogs as “The NFL Chick,” Hubbard writes about the whole league, covers the draft, talks football on the radio and defends her opinions with the ferocity of a linebacker.
“For the most part, men give me the utmost respect,” Hubbard told The Brew this week. “A fool or two will question my knowledge, but they learn quick.”
So what does the NFL Chick think about tomorrow’s big showdown with the Patriots?
“The Ravens match up extremely well and we know what we need to do up there,” she says calmly. “New England has everything in their favor but the intangibles. We have those.”
As a devoted Ravens watcher, she has defense on the brain most of the time.
“I’ve watched defense all my life. The Ravens are known for that,” she said. “I love seeing how the defense game plans for a finesse offense.”
She is, of course, talking Tom Brady here—the Patriots quarterback who does not like to be touched and whose offense is a flying circus of talented performers focused on precision and execution.
“If I were a player, I’d be a linebacker,” she said. “You have to make certain kinds of hits.”
Football in her DNA
Hubbard, 33, grew up in Northeast Baltimore listening to her father and grandfather talking about the Baltimore Colts: “I heard a lot about Johnny Unitas and Bert Jones.”
But the game is not just in her childhood – it’s in her DNA.
Hubbard’s father, Tyrone Hill, played for the Kansas City Chiefs and her grandfather attended the Colts’ 1958 Championship game against the Giants. As Hubbard watched games with them, they passed down their football wisdom.
As a young girl, she would drive with her grandfather to visit his friend on the west side who turned out to be legendary Colt offensive lineman Jim Parker. It was a lethal block by Parker that helped blow open the hole that Alan Ameche ran through in sudden death against the Giants.
Hubbard got to hear all their stories. “They would talk about the old days.”
“We Know the Plays”
Hubbard followed the Orioles in her youth because there was no football in town. Her journey back into the game occurred when she first took notice of a Green Bay Packer quarterback named Favre who played with passion.
“He was my entrée back into football.”
Now her favorite players include Ray Lewis, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Seattle tight end Zach Miller.
“I get picked on for Rivers,” she says. “But I love his passion.”
When the Ravens arrived in town, her family bought season tickets. She started blogging for Fox Sports in 2005 and started her own blog in 2008. As for her day job, she now works for CBS radio as a promotions coordinator and board operator.
As for the name “The NFL Chick,” she says, “I didn’t want something too schnazzy or too gimmicky. I wanted something straightforward.”
Hubbard says she’s had a great time inspiring female football fans around the country and getting up-close access to the league. (She said she has attended the NFL Draft the last three years and has spent time in the NFL offices with Commissioner Roger Goodell.)
“Women enjoy the sport as much as men do and they deserve to be respected as much. We know the game now. We know the plays,” she said. And when she talks football, the NFL Chick’s voice never wavers.
“The Ravens will finish their business in Foxborough and win this football game.”