Oakland Raiders: Real Women Wear Silver and Black

How does it feel being a woman in the man's world of the NFL?

How are you treated by men?

Do they show you respect, or give you a hard time?

When you support your team, do you wear your team colors?

These are just a few of the questions I have been asked from time to time being a hard core, female Raider football fan. I was recently prompted to write an article about my responses to these questions, so ladies, pay attention and feel free to comment back.

Guys, now is definitely the time to put your two cents in. Let's keep it real in the Raider Nation!

First of all, it is true that NFL fans are mostly men, but the female fan base has grown fairly rapidly over the last several years. Taken from the New York Post, NFL statistics show that from 2001 to 2005, the percentage of female NFL fans increased by 8.6 percent.

In 2005 an ESPN fan poll found that 43 percent of the football league's fans were women. It was reported by the NFL in 2006 that the female fan base grew by 6.5 percent, and currently averages the same growth percentage annually.

With that said, the NFL is not necessarily a man's world anymore.

However, ladies, there are some things you should know if you are wanting to keep it real as a Raider fan.

I was asked how I was treated as a female football fan, and I must confess I am treated very well by the members of the opposite sex in the NFL environment. However, I feel it is extremely important to note that the respect of the male football fan-base must be earned.

I will tell you a short story.

At the time, I had accepted a wonderful job opportunity which required me to move to a new town about an hour and half south of Tampa Bay, Fla. in 2002. Wanting to make new friends, I ventured to a sports bar for a Raiders game.

Dressed, as always, in my silver and black, I was expecting...

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