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The Jordan Zucker/Girls’ Guide to Fantasy Football Interview

When Jordan Zucker isn’t playing “Lisa the Intern” on Scrubs, the TV hit starring the insufferable Zach Braff, she runs a spunky fantasy football website for women called “Girls’ Guide to Fantasy Football.” Each week Ms. Zucker shoots a surprisingly content-rich webcast covering last week’s games and highlighting next week’s matchups. Her site has earned some press recently, and we thought drop her a line and see what all the hype was about.

EF: When did you develop a personal interest in football? How long have you been a fan?

JZ: “I’m no veteran fan. In fact, I'm relatively new to the sport. I didn't grow up in a football house—my folks could take it or leave it. I picked up baseball and the New York Yankees from my high school boyfriend. In college, despite regularly bumping into my dorm neighbor, the star running back of the mighty UPenn Quakers, as he pranced through the halls in a towel after a shower (thanks Aman!!), my interest was limited. I seemed more concerned about having fun in my turtleneck and sweater (big trend at that time) and throwing toast after the 3rd quarter in Franklin Field (big trend at that school) than following the game. UPenn is not exactly known for breeding football fans for some reason…. I always enjoyed the game, I was just never all that into it. But I was intrigued by it and decided if I wanted to grasp it I'd have to follow a specific team. This became the Miami Dolphins (I had been going to Miami my whole life to visit the grandparents). When I graduated and moved to LA, I started working in an office, which of course had weekly pick ‘em pools, which, of course, I started winning. And the thrill of those victories led to increased curiosity about fantasy football. So three years ago I formed a fantasy league with the intention of getting my girlfriends into the sport. I knew they'd follow it once they were invested. But I'm still learning. I have a copy of the NFL official rule book that I carry around. Not an easy read, incidentally.”

EF: Why do women need their own ff site? What’s wrong with the ones for the dudes?

JZ: “Excellent question. The ones for dudes are great. We like them; we use them. But the sites geared toward men don't necessarily include all of the fabulous things that football has to offer that women would appreciate more than men. We don’t need our own site, we want our own site. MAN PILE!!!! [Editors Note: “Man Pile” is the term used on Ms. Zucker’s website for what happens after a fumble.]

“Also, the existing sites don't cater to the women that deep down want to get into the game but are afraid to harness their inner football fan. I’m planning to start a feature on my site next year to recruit newcomers, introduce them to the sport, and guide them in the game. If they are in a group where everyone is learning together, they are less likely to be intimidated by it. In that sense it would be like separating a never-ever level 1 skier from a parallel turn level 5 skier in ski school. It would be akin to the training wheels for a bike, the floaties for a swimmer, or the GPS for a road trip. This of course, is not limited to women, but the men that sign up on my site are certainly subject to ridicule”.

Cheerleader of the Week: D'arcy showing her spirit for the Eagles.

EF: As well they should be. You know, the whole Man Pile objectification thing undercuts your street cred as a legit ff site--it's as if FFToday started running a “Cheerleader of the Week” feature with pics and projected stats. Like I said, it's as if FFToday ran a smart little piece every week featuring a professional football cheerleader.

JZ: “Oh, was it the man-piles that short changed my street cred? Phew! And here I thought it was the gratuitous use of show tunes…. Your site has the legit reputation, what does my site need it for? Mine serves a different (but just as valuable) purpose. You’re the CNN and I’m the SNL of Fantasy Football.

“Oh, and FYI, if you ran a Cheerleader of the Week feature, my site would parallel it with “Best Cheerleader Wedgie.”

“My site is legitimate in what it stands for as is yours—and we both are for the love of the game.
Incidentally, do you think my street cred would increase if I had Suzy Kolber do a guest cameo? If she’s unavailable there is always my girlfriend Monique who basically is Melissa Stark’s doppelganger….”

EF: No. How might a woman approach her team management decisions different than a guy?

JZ: “I actually haven't noticed much of a difference between management in my girls league than my guys [league]. Both will try to own players from their hometown team (or steer clear of players from their rival team), both will sometimes not be patient and drop players prematurely, both have their share of sore losers and gracious champions. I admittedly will opt for the player I'm more drawn to on the TV screen if I can't decide between two. Perhaps generally, women go more with their intuition and men go more with stat history.

EF: More drawn to on the TV screen? You're kidding, right? What the hell?

JZ: “Like I said, woman’s intuition, if I don’t have a good feeling about someone when I’m watching him, he’s getting kicked to my bench over a guy who has something going on. (This coming from a math major, embarrassing! What has California done to me?!?!)”

EF: Why should we care if women participate in ff? Isn’t fantasy football kind of like our testosterone foxhole? I mean, how many “Sex and the City” fanboy websites are there out there? (Nah, I’m not googling it.)

JZ: “Because after kindergarten, it is actually MORE fun to share your sandbox with the girls! Then you might have to shower after....”

“OK, no. Let’s not make an issue out of a non-issue. First of all, if you want ff to be your foxhole, you're welcome to play in an all-male league, and the girls can play in an all-female league. Keep it separate.

“I just don't see why football, especially fantasy football, isn't gender blind in some male minds. Women can be just as competitive. We may not be physically built to play the sport as well as men, but we can certainly engross ourselves in it as much.

“Also, Sex and the City (which is going to be representative for ‘girl time’) was only a half-hour a week, whereas football is at least twelve. And that's just the actual watching. Sex and the City, though highly conversation inspiring, was purely spectator. The interactive game provided by fantasy football adds a whole other level of entertainment. We want in on that. Besides, perhaps there are no fansites for Sex and the City, but I'm sure there are for the individual actresses. (Just as I'm sure there are for individual NFL players.)”

EF: As a time-honored ff tradition, what form does trash talking take in a women's league? I can't imagine.

JZ: “Eh, honestly it hasn’t been that impressive. But we’ll do side-bets that are fun for individual match-ups and name them accordingly. For instance: The bacon bowl, the bourbon bowl. Loser buys the bacon/bourbon for the winner of that match up.”

EF: So you start dating a woman and she claims she’s a huge fan but you start to suspect something when she doesn’t even know who the Whizzinator was…punt or give her a second chance?

JZ: “Hmmm, can said woman roll a joint in under five minutes? If so, perhaps she has an ex that ran off with a big blonde Nordic woman from Minnesota and now ignores and blocks out all news stories mentioning the state. Give her another shot.

EF: Is Darren McFadden ever going to be a number #1 ff RB?

JZ: “Yes, and probably sooner if I'd just start benching him in my guys league. The toes have to heal eventually, right? Getting him the eff out of Oakland probably wouldn’t hurt matters either.”

EF: In one of your webcasts you said that “Sage Rosenfels has the douche-iest name in the NFL.” Given that, would it be safe to say that if you were to put Sage Rosenfels in the same room as Rock Cartwright there would be a flash of light and then absolutely nothing left of either of them?

JZ: “Definitely not, Rock took matters into his own hands and left the Roderick behind him. Wait, was that a Manfred Mann/Bruce Springsteen reference? It's “DEUCE,” not “douche”! However, perhaps if it were Darcy Johnson, Stacy Andrews, and Owen Daniels (the Texans clearly don't discriminate), there'd be some serious fighting over who was the "Carrie," "Charlotte," "Samantha," and "Miranda" of the crew.

EF: Maybe that's the Texans' problem.

JZ: “Interesting theory. Poor Andre Johnson can’t be man enough for the whole roster, now can he? If only Bud Adams hadn’t hung on to the rights to the Oilers name like they were the last cookie in the cookie jar. (Speaking of cookies, what do you think they tell LenDale White is waiting for him in the end zone? Cookies? All you can eat buffet?)”