Yesterday, after the third quarter of the Baltimore Raven/Houston Texans divisional playoff game (too many turnovers, Texans!!), the NFL announced the winners for their 50th annual Punt, Pass & Kick competition. I’m always glad to see that the NFL includes boys and girls in the competition. There are five age groups, with a boy and a girl winner for each. Seeing all those girls on the field reminded me of this ad from Wonder Woman #197 in 1971:
The inclusion of girls in the competition is a relatively new thing. In 1995, ten year old Kendra Wecker made headlines when she reached the finals of the Punt, Pass & Kick competition playing alongside boys. The next year, the NFL launched categories at every age level for girls as well.
In general, the NFL’s done a remarkable job of reaching out to female fans, and they’ve been growing their fanbase and profits at ridiculous rates lately. It was really interesting to lots of the women I follow on Twitter commenting on the NFL playoffs the past couple weeks, and none of them in a “Grrr, my boyfriend is watching football” way… there are some hardcore lady fans out there!! Though not enough of them are cheering for the Patriots. A certain industry we all love (coffcoffcomicscoffcoff) would do well to learn from the NFL, which has expanded what was a traditionally male fanbase into a far more mixed audience.
Anyway, things have come a long way from Wonder Woman #197!! For one thing, the mod era is over… that’s a huge plus. But, and probably more importantly, sports aren’t just for boys anymore!! I say “probably” because the mod era was ROUGH. But yeah, girls playing sports sounds like the bigger deal.