My first NFL WAG feature is of my dear friend Sara Hood. Sara and I met last year while our husbands both played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. She is indeed one of the most beautiful women I have ever met on the inside as well as the outside. She is the type of woman to compliment another woman in a heartbeat. She's super funny, keeps it real, and loves her family. Sara is married to Ziggy Hood (currently with the Jaguars). They have been together almost 10 years and married for 5 years. I sat down with Sara to ask her a few questions and gain the perspective of a woman who has lived this life for several years. Read what she had to say below…
Name: Sara Hood
Husband: Ziggy Hood
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran -7th year (Pittsburg Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Children: Two boys
NFLWAG: 7 years (and counting)
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Pittsburg & Jacksonville
Favorite Food: Any dessert!
Hobbies: Makeup (check out her IG @embracingbeautybysara) Interesting Facts: I used to work for a Congressman in Missouri before Ziggy got drafted; I used to figure skate; I’m great at salsa dancing & I enjoy it!
LM: Do you have any fears about appearing on a public blog?
SH: Judgment or people getting the wrong idea of who we are as wives. Also, letting physical attributes be the only judgment made . I had a man come up to me one day and say, "You look like an athlete's wife." I was offended by that.
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
SH: I’m from Seattle. Ziggy and I met in college at the University of Missouri. I had three rules for myself in college: 1. I would NOT date my Freshman year. 2. I would NOT date a man with tattoos. 3. I would NOT date an athlete.
LM: I see you broke all three rules (laugh out loud)! Explain how that happened.
SH: The dorms I stayed in at Missouri were coed. My roommate and I stayed on the second floor. There were several athletes in the dorms as well. Ziggy stayed on the third floor. My roommate saw him before I did and she introduced us…and pushed..and pushed. She said, “Give him a shot,” and I would reply “No, I’m good.” I didn’t talk to him until a few weeks after we initially met. We happened to have a movie night on our floor and Ziggy was there. We talked through the entire movie (couldn’t tell you what the movie was about). We started dating a few months after that.
LM: Did he officially ask you to be his girlfriend at that point? How did that go down?
SH: We were super nerdy. He would play this computer game called Star Craft and we also used to watch cartoons in our dorm room. One morning while watching [pause] Spongebob he asked me, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”
LM: How did you respond to him when he asked?
SH: I am my parent’s oldest child and I had the pressure of being the oldest child and being in college. The way I grew up is you date to marry. How did I respond to him? I said, “If you think you’re just going to sleep with me and then drop me like a bad pair of dice, you got another thing coming! I’m going to come back in an hour with my decision.” I actually left the room after that, but when I came back later in the day I told him yes and we’ve been inseparable since.
LM: Love that story! What would you say are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
SH: I guess the pros would be knowing that your family is taken care of and being able to stay at home and take care of my kids and my husband. The cons include the lack of privacy sometimes and hearing people say bad things about our spouses. I can take the comments about football but when it starts to get personal and people talk about our family is when I have the issue. Also, the judgment and perception of NFL wives. People assume I'm stuck up, bougie, and a “label whore”. They assume I’m like the housewives on reality TV. Then after a ten minute conversation when they see I can hold a convo about politics (used to work for a Congressman) or this and that then they change their opinion.
LM: You seem to have such a healthy and grounded relationship with your husband. What is your love advice to the people?
SH: I am going to speak from a general perspective and give advice for the football life. I remember another wife once giving us the advice, “Don’t forget to date each other even after you’re married and have kids.” I didn’t realize how important that would be, especially until after we had children. It’s important to connect. You can’t be going in two different directions. Also, it’s important for me to have my quiet time. Do things where you’re not so tied up with your partner but also find the time to connect with your partner. My husband and I call it “checking in” whether it’s talking or playing a game, whatever, we make sure to check in. Do something where Christ is the center of it all: pray together, read together, etc. Doesn’t mean relationships and marriage is perfect. It’s work. A marriage has to have two people willing to connect, invest and want to work at the marriage continually. In the middle of our marriage is Christ. We know marriage can be difficult but it’s beautiful. As long as Christ is in the middle and always present in our marriage we will continue to be blessed, not by the money or lifestyle which (side note, is a good thing) but by having peace, love, happiness, and our family together. In terms of football, one of the things my husband does well is leave football on the field. You HAVE to learn to leave stuff on the field. That’s also where having a good partner comes in to be a sounding board and be that support system.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
SH: A lot of the NFL wives I know are amazing women. I have been super blessed that when we were in Pittsburg (with the Steelers) in particular, Yonka Clark (wife of NFL player Ryan Clark) was there to show me how it is done. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my entire life. She would say, “It’s not only about football but being happy. Are you happy? Are you in tune with your husband and kiddos? When football becomes serious, that’s where we come in to support.” Like the Bible says, we are there to help. We do more than just look pretty. Doesn’t mean we don’t clean up nice or have nice things but we are more than a pretty face. There are super smart wives who have degrees, who have or had amazing careers, and who are mothers.
Ziggy and I have a child with special needs. One great benefit of being an NFL wife is the platform it gives us. A cause dear to my heart is education on children with autism. Since we have a son with autism our work with HEAL foundation and our platform allows us to reach more people and spread awareness. [Learn more about the HEAL foundation and the Hoods in the article below]
Read Ziggy's Father's Day article with the Players Tribune here
LM: What does being an NFL wife mean to you?
SH: I don’t want to sound offensive but in reality, not a whole lot. I'm proud to be a wife. More importantly, I am proud to be MY Ziggy's wife. That means more to me than being an NFL wife. People tend to judge us wives based on what our husbands do for a living. What my husband does for a job does not define me or who I am and it doesn’t define who he is either. There is nothing on my work page (social media) that has to do with my husband and there is a reason for that. Does football allow us to have a wonderful life? Absolutely. Are we able to take care of a child with special needs without having to worry about insurance and all that? Absolutely. Do I enjoy football? Absolutely. I am a fan of the sport. But I am more a fan of my husband. I get the privilege of meeting amazing women (through the NFL)…that’s something that I enjoy. Football is not everything we are.
Spoken like a true veteran, Mrs. Hood...