🎙TFG Pod: ESPN’s Mina Kimes on the NFL Draft, Her Rise, Normalizing Women Talking Football

From the The Football Girl Podcast, hosted by Melissa Jacobs. Please subscribe in iTunes to get new episodes of the pod in your feed the second we publish. If you like what you hear, please rate and/or review us! 

In this special-post draft edition of the TFG Pod, Melissa opens with three players to keep an eye on out of the NFL Draft (1:57) and thoughts on the monstrosity of the weekend.

Then the multi-talented Mina Kimes from ESPN joins for a wide-ranging conversation (begins 11:15) that captures her thoughts from why the Baker Mayfield pick could change draft think to the NFL’s big parrot failure to normalizing women talking sports on TV to loving football despite its issues and much more.  (See full rundown and some notable quotes from Mina below)

Melissa ends with a musing on why it’s finally time for the NFL to be honest about the dangers of tackle football for young kids.


1:57: Melissa on the something-to-prove players coming out of the NFL Draft

5:58: Melissa on ESPN’s lackluster pursuit of Jason Witten for MNF


13:30: Mina on why Russell Wilson could be fine despite OL questions + similarities with Lamar Jackson

16:20:  Mina on how Baker Mayfield could bust conventional draft think

17:55: Mina on she approaches her NFL Draft analysis

22:15: Mina and Melissa take the NFL the task for promising a Day 3 talking parrot and not delivering

24:23: Mina on the NFL’s current trajectory

27:05: Mina on how the NFL should market to women*

30:15: Mina on the day ESPN reached out her out of the blue

33:28: Mina on her entire writing process and what she strives to achieve with profiles

36:43: Mina on getting ready for Aaron Rodgers to come to her house for an interview

37:45: Mina on ESPN giving women a mainstream voice *

42:20: Mina on still loving football despite it being “so messed up in so many ways”

43:44: Mina’s choice for the next MNF analyst

45:00: Mina on the evolution of her etch-a-sketching

47:15: Melissa’s Musing on the NFL’s moral responsibility to warm young kids about dangers of playing tackle before age 14

* See below for quotes


Follow Mina on Twitter: @minakimes

Read Mina on Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers and everything else she has ever written

Watch Mina’s etch-a-sketch skills:


Mina on how the NFL should market to women:

“We’ve often criticized them for pink stuff or some of the superficial ways they’ve tried to build female fandom. Women love football. The only way that can appeal to that that will work is by appealing to them as football fans first.  Also I think taking steps and making sure the league’s values – or some of the values that are conveyed by the decisions they make – don’t run counter to the interest of those fans.”

Mina on ESPN giving more mainstream analyst roles to women:

“There’s a lot of people at ESPN who really care about that. People I’ve been in rooms with, people I’ve had conversations with, people who have showed they cared by giving me opportunities and other people.  But I also think being the industry leader and having those various platforms and having access to all the people they do certainly makes it easier in some ways or increases the responsibility in the way big companies… big companies have diversity officers in place, they have the infrastructure to make this kind of thing happen.

So it’s a combination of those things and I also say to people who ask how we get more women on television or writing or whatever, I always say by having women there to begin with and you normalize it.”

Mina on the importance of normalizing women talking sports on TV

“The more women we have in these roles the more normal it gets, less people comment on it. People always ask me, ‘It must be so hard when you get horrible insults in your mentions’. The weird thing is that it’s declined. My follower count has gone up as I’m on more shows but weirdly the negativity has declined because people are used to me now. I know that’s crazy but people get used to seeing you, then it stops becoming a novelty and the horrible voices get drowned out. “


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More TFG: The Female NFL Draft Analysts You Should Know