Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Improve your football IQ

By Clare Farnsworth

October 22, 2010

That’s the goal of the Football 101 workshop that will be held Saturday at VMAC and is being sponsored by the Seahawks Women’s Association – including Michaela Bradley, wife of the team’s defensive coordinator.

Michaela Bradley’s football IQ should be off the charts.

After all, she has one brother, Dave Marion, who was an All-American offensive lineman at North Dakota State and another, Steve, who also played for the Bison. Oh, and she is married to Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

But just because Michaela Bradley has football in her blood doesn’t mean it’s always on her brain.

“I had to be somewhat in tune to the game, because it was so much a part of our life,” Michaela said Thursday. “We’d go to the games, where it was junior high, high school or college. That’s just what we did.

“But understanding football is like learning a foreign language.”

Especially when you husband speaks it so fluently.

“I had to ask him the other day about the Bears game (on Sunday), and how do you know when you blitz as much as you do? I just don’t get that,” Michaela said. “He was trying to explain it and then he just looked at me and said, ‘Never mind.’ ”

That’s why Michaela has decided to co-chair the Football 101 workshop on Saturday that is being hosted by the Seattle Seahawks Women’s Association at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“Women who watch football every Sunday with their husbands that really don’t have an idea, they can come to this and it gives them a better insight,” Bradley said. “I can learn from this, too, because it’s not like Gus and I sit down and talk about A-gaps and B-gaps.

“So it will be great for everyone on Saturday to walk away with a greater amount of knowledge.”

On hand to impart their knowledge of the game will be middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu and his wife, Rachael; nose tackle Colin Cole and his wife, Kaye, the other co-chair of the event; former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman; and former offensive tackle Ray Roberts. Jen Mueller, the sideline reporter for the radio broadcasts of Seahawks games, will serve as the emcee.

“The Football 101 workshop is twofold,” Kaye Cole said. “Not only will fans have the opportunity to sharpen their football IQ, but also learn about the myriad set of complex demands, stressors and challenges associated with being diagnosed with breast cancer.”

The workshop is being held in conjunction with the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and proceeds from the event will benefit the Pink Daisy Project and the Young Survival Coalition.

Michaela Bradley and Kaye Cole also can share experiences of what it’s like to be married to an NFL coach and player.

“It’s a commitment to your husband’s job and supporting them, and recognizing the fact that you are somewhat on your own for a period of time,” said Michaela Bradley, who has four young children – Carter, Anna, Eli and Ella.

“You just have to roll with it.”

She got an idea what the lifestyle would be like as soon as she and Gus stayed dating. That was when Bradley returned to North Dakota State in 1996 after a five-year stay at Fort Lewis College. Bradley, who also played at North Dakota State, had been a graduate assistant in 1990-91 – when coached Steve Marion.

“I remember my brother saying, ‘Hey, you’ll never guess who’s back at North Dakota State?’,” Michaela recalled. “And I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘Gus Bradley.’

“I said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to talk to him, he’s the happiest guy I’ve ever met.’ ”

They met. They dated. And 10 months later they were engaged. But only after a dating process that Michaela laughingly likens to an interview process.

“I think I had 10 questions on our first date: Am I independent? Can I raise children by myself? Do you think you can be an OK coach’s wife?” Michaela said. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m 24 years old, I have no idea; but yes, yes and yes.’

“That’s when we knew it would work out OK, and it’s been awesome.”

Asked about his wife’s football IQ, Gus Bradley cracked, “Let’s not get it confused that just because she had brothers that played that she’s got a high football IQ. She understands it somewhat, just what the game involves.

“But when it gets to X’s and O’s, she’s like anybody else.”

Which is just another reason why Michaela Bradley is looking forward to Saturday’s Football 101 workshop.

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