Featured Football Girl: Actress Nikki DeLoach

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Writing a book about Hollywood actresses and their love for the NFL would make for a challenging assignment. Which is why Nikki DeLoach, who carries a deep passion for both the college game and the NFL, and isn’t afraid to show it, stands out so greatly.

DeLoach, who was part of the “Mickey Mouse Club” at age 12, is probably best known for her current role on MTV’s “Awkward,” where she plays Lacey Hamilton, the mother of a high school girl. DeLoach describes her character as “inappropriate, self-absorbed, overbearing, but well-intentioned.” “Awkward” just wrapped up its second season this summer and starts shooting a third season in January.

It’s an almost perfect filming schedule, in that is almost perfectly meshes with the end of football season. Almost.

(Photo credit: Elisabeth Caren)

Having grown up in a small town in southern Georgia, DeLoach’s love of football came through her early exposure to the Georgia Bulldogs, the team she is a fan of first and foremost. “We went to Georgia games growing up; I try to fly in for two a year now. It really becomes part of your life,” DeLoach said.

DeLoach credits her knowledge of and passion for football to her family who always had ESPN on. But it was more than fanaticism that rubbed off on DeLoach; she played basketball and softball and was a gymnast growing up, experiences which gave her the mental toughness to handle the challenges of life as an actress.

The Atlanta Falcons are DeLoach’s NFL team, and she is fairly confident we will see a Falcons-Texans Super Bowl this year. But when it comes to professional football, DeLoach is more drawn to some of the league’s larger-than-life players.

“I’m a big fan of Adrian Peterson and just loving what he’s doing in his return this year,” DeLoach said.

There is also Aaron Rodgers, and DeLoach holds a special fondness for the brothers Manning.  Her brother, Brett, who plays baseball at University of Georgia, attended the Manning Passing Academy, a popular three-day camp.

“He had nothing but amazing things to say about them. So I have a special place in my heart for that family,” she said.

However, DeLoach’s love of the Mannings stops on the football field, at least when it comes to Eli. When asked about the younger brother’s recent turn at hosting Saturday Night Live, DeLoach said she would give his performance “a four, and probably a three if not for the passing academy.”

Hollywood and the NFL continue to be intertwined in more overwhelmingly successful ways. DeLoach considers “Hard Knocks” her favorite reality show on television, although when asked about the enjoyment of the latest season featuring the Miami Dolphins, she cringed.  But she is leery of NFL players who think they can automatically leap to the Hollywood sign. With guys like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco out of work, and no teams interested in their services, the next crop of athlete-actor wannabes is probably around the corner.

“I have this thinking about being paid on potential. Tim Tebow is a perfect example of someone – yeah, he really shined in college but look at the team he had at Florida,“ she said.

Being female and 5’5, DeLoach would probably never be cast as an NFL player. But if she could live in an alternate universe where that was a possibility she knows exactly who she would play in a biopic.

“Tom Brady, so I can date Gisele.”

Good answer.

Nikki DeLoach will next be appearing in: Flying Lessons, which will be released to Video on Demand November 7th , Love for Christmas, a television movie that will air this Holiday season on the ION newtork; and Devil’s in The Details starring Ray Liotta. Follow her on Twitter at @nikkideloach

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Melissa Jacobs

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