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Vixen Survival Guide: NFL Playoffs

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You’re dating a guy who eats, breathes and lives sports. Just a fun fact: there’s pretty much no better time in his life than right now. The Super Bowl is weeks away, hockey is in full swing and NBA All Star weekend is his version of Valentines Day. Seriously, if LeBron James did the dunk contest, it would be like you coming home to a candle lit walkway, centered with rose petals, leading towards the bathroom, with Beyonce’s Drunk In Love video looped via projector on a sidewall and hubby sitting in the tub filled with warm water, waiting for you to ride on your “surfbort.”

You want nothing more than to connect with him and be one of the guys for a few hours, instead of the girl who screams home run in the crowded sports bar when his favorite team scores a touchdown. Don’t embarrass yourself and have him looking at you with the real life welp face emoji. I feel compelled to help you ladies out, so here’s a guide to understanding the game and a few standout stats to remember if you really want to wow him.

 

 

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Who’s Playing?

Right now, we’re in the Conference championship rounds. That means there are only four teams left and two out of the four will advance to the Super Bowl. The four teams are divided by the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference. In the AFC, the New England Patriots are playing against the Denver Broncos.

 

New England Patriots Practice

 

AFC: How Do I Tell Them Apart?

With all those players on the field, moving in mad directions and the ball being so small, things sometimes get confusing, So here’s how you can tell which team is which in the AFC Championship game.

The Patriots

Colors: Blue, Red, Silver, White
Mascot: Pat the Patriot
Team City: New England (Massachusetts)
Abbreviated Name: NE

Standout Stat: The Patriots have a record of 13 wins and 4 losses, and are seeded as the number two team in the AFC.

Broncos practice at Dove Valley

 

How Do I Tell Them Apart?

The Broncos

Colors: Orange, Navy Blue, White
Mascot: Miles (costume) and Thunder (live horse)
Team City: Denver, Colorado
Abbreviated Name: Den

Standout Stat: Denver’s record on the season is 14 wins and 3 losses and they are seeded as the number one team in the AFC.

 

 

New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts, 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs

Most Important Players

The weekend match ups are all about the quarterbacks. Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos and Tom Brady is the quarterback for the Patriots. Here’s some ways to identify them and facts you should know about both of them.

Tom Brady

Team: The Patriots
Jersey No.: 12
What Position He Is: Quarterback
What That Means: Brady controls the offense and is the the one that throws the ball down the field for New England. Without him, the team can’t move the ball because he makes the plays happen.

Standout Stat: Brady is one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in NFL history because he’s a proven winner. He’s won the most playoff games in NFL history as a quarterback, including three Super Bowls.

Divisional Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Denver Broncos

 

 

 

Most Important Players

Peyton Manning

Team: The Broncos
Jersey No.: 18
What Position He Is: Quarterback
What That Means: Like Brady, Manning controls the offense and is the the one that throws the ball down the field for Denver. What makes him so special is that he calls audibles. This basically means he’s changing the original play at the last minute because he sees a different way to beat the defense. You’ll notice this because he steps away from his teammates a lot and yells out commands before they give him the ball.

Standout Stat: Manning holds almost every record you can as a quarterback, but as good as he is, has only won one Super Bowl. You should know that because the commentators on TV, and most likely a few of your boyfriends buddies, will mention that while he’s playing because they just want to point out his one shortcoming.

 

Seattle Seahawks vs New Orleans Saints, 2014 NFC Divisional Playoffs

 

NFC: How Do I Tell Them Apart?

Now that we got you covered for the AFC, here’s how you can tell which team is which in the NFC Championship game.

The Seahawks

Colors: Navy, Green, Wolf Grey
Mascot: Blitz
Team City: Seattle, Washington
Abbreviated Name: Sea

Standout Stat: The Seahawks have a record of 14 wins and 3 losses, and are seeded as the number one team in the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

 

How Do I Tell Them Apart?

The 49ers

Colors: Red, Gold
Mascot: Sourdough Sam (a big headed character that looks like Yosemite Sam from looney tunes)
Team City: San Francisco, California
Abbreviated Name: SF

Standout Stat: The 49ers record on the season is 13 wins and 4 losses and are seeded as the number five team in the NFC.

Seattle Seahawks vs New Orleans Saints, 2014 NFC Divisional Playoffs

 

Most Important Players

In terms of the most important players in the NFC match up, quarterbacks still reign supreme. Russell Wilson is the quarterback for the Seahawks and Colin Kaepernick is the quarterback for the 49ers. Here’s a few ways to identify them and things you should know.

Russell Wilson

Team: The Seahawks
Jersey No.: 3
What Position He Is: Quarterback
What That Means: Russell Wilson is one the NFL’s new stars. He’s helped turn the Seahawks into one the best teams in the NFL.

Standout Stat: Even though he’s only 25, the young quarterback has been to the pro bowl twice and won rookie of the year in 2012.

 

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

Most Important Players

Colin Kaepernick

Team: The 49ers
Jersey No.: 7
What Position He Is: Quarterback
What That Means: Of all the remaining quarterbacks, Kaepernick is known as the most outlandish. Like Wilson, he’s a part of the NFL’s new wave of quarterbacks that are quick, strong and charismatic enough to take over fledgling franchises.

Standout Stat: Even though this is only his third season in the league, Kaepernick has already been to the Super Bowl. In fact, you might remember him because he was on the team that lost last year in the Super Bowl (the same one when Beyonce performed at halftime) tto the Baltimore Ravens 34-31.

San Francisco 49ers v Carolina Panthers

 

How To Read The Field

Now you know the players to look out for, but there’s another problem: what’s with all the lines and numbers on the field?

First Downs and Yards

I’m sure you understand when a team scores a touchdown, but there’s a reason why a) it’s worth six points when they do and b) it normally doesn’t happen that often. TD’s are hard to come by and there are several attempts at scoring that require small victories. Kind of like when you mastered downward facing dog in yoga class and then hit that downward split like a G. It’s all about the baby steps.

The field is measured by increments of 10 yards. When a team has the ball on offense, they have four attempts (or downs) to move the ball ten yards down the field (or more) to keep possession of the ball. If they’re able to do this, they get a whole new set of downs (four more attempts). This continues until they either score a touchdown or a field goal (that’s when they kick the ball through the two poles). If they can’t gain ten yards, they have to give the ball back.

Usually on 4th Down, teams will kick the ball down the field to other team so that their opponent has a longer way to go to try to score. This action is called punting.

Carolina Panthers vs San Francisco 49ers, 2014 NFC Divisional Playoffs

 

Wifey Be Like... Which Clock Do I Look At?

Football games are divided into four 15-minute quarters. The game clock counts down from 15 and resets after each quarter. Keep in mind that it stops a lot, like during time outs, when a person with the ball goes out of bounds or the two-minute warning (this is basically a reminder to both teams that there’s only two minutes left in the half).

There’s also a timer called the play clock. Remember when we went over downs? Well before the snap (that’s when the big guy in front of the quarterback tosses the ball between his legs to the quarterback), teams have 40 seconds to choose a play they want to run. If they don’t get the play off before the 40 seconds are up, they get a penalty.

Standout Stat: This one might be a little tricky, so here’s an easy one. If you’re watching the game with the guys, don’t be afraid to ask which one is the game clock and which one is the play clock. Everyone will be impressed that you even know there’s a difference, so just ask if you’re not sure. Trust me.

 

New England Patriots Practice

 

Interceptions

Other than the touchdown, interceptions are the most exciting part of football. They’re often unexpected, can change the outcome of a game and shift the momentum from one team to the other. When the quarterback throws the ball and a guy on the other team catches it, that’s an interception. It’s not a good thing for the quarterback, but it is a great thing for the defense. Not only have they stopped the other team from scoring but they also get the ball back and can send a surge of energy to their team’s offense and fans.

Standout Stat: Be aware of which team your man is rooting for. Some of his friends may cheer when this happens, but if the quarterback on your boo’s team threw the interception, the last thing he wants is wifey getting all hype. Don’t catch the side-eye. Make sure you know who to root for.

If you can remember most of these pointers by Sunday, you’ll be in good shape. Keep in mind that asking a few questions is a good thing, as long as you sound like you have an idea of what’s going on. Plus, this is a great way to show you care about what your guy is interested in and then he owes you. Make him watch a whole season of Scandal or something after the Super Bowl. Stay tuned for the Super Bowl guide, where I’ll explain a little bit more so you can keep impressing your man.

 

From the Web

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Yvette Nicole Brown and Gabourey Sidibe were some of the actresses who were vocal about the treatment of actors of color when faced with beauticians in Hollywood.
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Celebrities Use #ActingWhileBlack Hashtag To Point Out Pitfalls Of Hollywood's Beauty Scene

While being a working person of color in Hollywood is something to admire, those fortunate enough to be working in these spaces often have difficulties finding the right person to do their hair and makeup with the right amount of diligent care.

Model Olivia Anakwe took to Instagram earlier this month to detail the issues she faced before a runway show, when she was disrespected by haircare professionals who refused to work on her textured hair.

"Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others?” she wrote. “It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class."

The hashtag #ActingWhileBlack began to spread on social media over the weekend, and people of color chimed in to share their stories.

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown shared that she often carries her own hair extensions and clothes for shoots, and that having stylists who are untrained in black beauty often runs the risk of them looking bad later on. Oscar-nominee Gabourey Sidibe shared a similar sentiment.

Insecure’s Natasha Rothwell hit the nail on the head in her tweet about the issue with not hiring the right people to work with ethnic hair.

“If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair,” she wrote on Mar. 11. “Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.”

Check out some tweets from celebs on this issue below.

 

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This message is to spread awareness & hopefully reach anyone in the hair field to expand their range of skills. Black models are still asking for just one hairstylist on every team no matter where your team is from to care for afro hair. I was asked to get out of an empty chair followed by having hairstylists blatantly turning their backs to me when I would walk up to them, to get my hair done. If I am asked to wear my natural hair to a show, the team should prepare the style just as they practice the look and demo for non-afro hair. I arrived backstage where they planned to do cornrows, but not one person on the team knew how to do them without admitting so. After one lady attempted and pulled my edges relentlessly, I stood up to find a model who could possibly do it. After asking two models and then the lead/only nail stylist, she was then taken away from her job to do my hair. This is not okay. This will never be okay. This needs to change. No matter how small your team is, make sure you have one person that is competent at doing afro texture hair care OR just hire a black hairstylist! Black hairstylists are required to know how to do everyone’s hair, why does the same not apply to others? It does not matter if you don’t specialize in afro hair, as a continuous learner in your field you should be open to what you have yet to accomplish; take a class. I was ignored, I was forgotten, and I felt that. Unfortunately I’m not alone, black models with afro texture hair continuously face these similar unfair and disheartening circumstances. It’s 2019, it’s time to do better. || #NaturalHair #ModelsofColor #BlackHairCare #HairCare #Message #Hair #Hairstyling #Backstage #BTS #AfroTexturedHair #Afro #POC #Braids #Message #Spreadtheword #Speak #Awareness #Growth #WorkingTogether #BlackGirlMagic #Melanin

A post shared by Olivia Anakwe (@olivia_anakwe) on Mar 7, 2019 at 9:07am PST

#ActingWhileBlack Makeup & Hair in one bag. The other bags are filled with clothes because some wardrobe stylists don’t know that cute clothes exist in sizes larger than size 10. “Here try on this mumu, I know it’s a little big, we’ll just belt it!” #ActingWhileBlackAndChubby https://t.co/gl3b64Omtj

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

Most black actresses come to a new set w/ their hair done (me) or bring their wigs & clip-ins w/them. It’s either that or take a chance that you will look crazy on screen. Many of us also bring our own foundation. One too many times seeing no shade that matches you will learn ya! https://t.co/mGAzpuoKtb

— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) March 11, 2019

If they don’t have the budget to hire a black hairstylist for me, or won’t, I just get the director to agree that my character should have box braids or senegalese twist.

— Gabby Sidibe (@GabbySidibe) March 11, 2019

PSA: If you cast a POC— And thank you for doing so!—you also have to hire someone who knows how to do ethnic hair. Not someone who's "comfortable with it" but someone who actually knows how to style ethnic hair types.

Congratulations on advancing to the next level of inclusion! https://t.co/A1Q9ZpvXmH

— Natasha Rothwell (@natasharothwell) March 11, 2019

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Kim Kardashian is seen on February 7, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Kim Kardashian Credited For Making Crimped Hair Cool Like Beyonce, Janet Jackson And Naomi Campbell Don't Exist

Spring is nothing without doses of cultural appropriation from those out of touch with black culture.

Insert Vogue, who decided to give props to Kim Kardashian for bringing back crimped hair on Friday (March 15). The businesswoman has been on the move lately, rocking a mix of kanekalon and yaki ponytails during fashion month, Chance The Rapper's wedding and other Kardashian-related events.

“What makes this look so modern is that the front is sleek,” explained her stylist Justine Marjan. “This gives a cool contrast to the texture.”

The texture? 

With many trends from the aughts coming back to the mainstream, this is one that hasn't really gone anywhere. But black beauty markers (layered gold chains, perfect baby hairs, name chains) paired with media ignorance and the Kardashian's own fascination with black culture has made it okay for her to receive all the props.

But we can't forget those who have slayed kanekalon, yaki and crimped styles like...

Janet Jackson

The singer's look for her comeback has been a uniform-like one, with Ms. Jackson rocking all black and her now signature ponytail.

Beyoncé

This. was. last. year. How could anyone forget this? The entertainer rocked various styles of kanekalon hair for Beychella.

There was also this amazing look at Serena Williams' wedding.

 

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:01am PST

Ruth E. Carter

The Oscar-winning designer made the look all her own while on the red carpet for Black Panther. 

Nicki Minaj

Fans of the rapper are aware her early looks included fun crimped and wavy styles. When she made to move to ditch her color wigs in 2014, she's kept the crimped styles close to her heart.

And we cannot forget about our queen, Naomi Campbell

She's owned the look her whole career, from the runway to the red carpet, Ms. Campbell has always been on the forefront of casual beautiful looks.

Social media also got wind of Vogue's post, including actor O'Shea Jackson who like many of us, is just over it.

Maaaaaaan come on now. Come ooooon now. Bringing it back? Vogue stop this https://t.co/FEGSw3GM9V

— Stone Cold Shea Jackson (@OsheaJacksonJr) March 15, 2019

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Perhaps there's a bit of truth of the theories of fashion outlets trolling readers but this just deserves a permanent eye roll.

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'Boomerang' Episode 6 Recap: Homecoming

On this episode of BET’s Boomerang, the love story between Bryson and Simone begins with a flashback to their freshman year of college. After several years of not seeing one another since their childhood, Bryson is shocked to see a slick-back pony-tail wearing Simone insert herself into his class during a presentation. Nothing has changed with her. Even pre-bob and with Bryson rocking a sharp Steve Harvey-like hairline, even from their younger days, they have always been the dynamic duo of marketing strategy. The product featured this week: Pro-Black T-Shirts.

The devastation of not having his secret love in his life spills over into their sophomore year when a beanie-wearing David and Crystal are happy in their fake hood love. By this time, a rapper named Prisoner has all of Simone’s attention and this makes Bryson big mad. The man can’t even hide it. In an apparent fit of jealousy, he calls Simone out for living under her father’s shadow, in front of everyone. It’s safe to say that sophomore Bry struck out badly.

This isn’t just about Simone and Bryson; they’re not the only ones who’ve made transformations over the years (and I’m not just talking about their hair ‘dos). In his earlier life, Ari was less eccentric and more focused on making his family proud as a young black man in college who isn’t running on BPT for class. Ari was as straight as 180 when he’s first put into a situation where he’s forced to confront his sexual identity. As big and bad as he looked while working as a “rough & tough” bouncer at a nightclub, a flirtatious patron sees right through that persona.  After being charmed by the man who helps him realize self, the rainy night sets the tone for a steamy kiss between the two in the front seat of Ari’s car. The look on Ari’s face is a blend of fear, then relief, then ultimately bliss as he seemingly reminisces on his random but welcomed encounter. Although he enjoyed it, Ari didn’t seem to embrace his identity totally. That same year, we see a less hood-David changing more into the Christian we now know and Ari isn’t buying it. Something about this “we can do all things in Christ mentality” rubs him the wrong way. Facing one’s true self is tough.

Junior year, Bryson has a much better barber but things haven’t changed; he’s still checking for Simone. She and Prisoner are still dating if you want to call it that. Prisoner is the type of dude you’d expect to see Simone date in college. He’s flashy, has money, probably doesn’t even go to the school, and he’s rude AF. As Simone and Bryson reconnect for the two millionth time, Prisoner’s pimp tone telling Simone to hurry up is a strong indication he’s not here for their friendship. In analyzing the hair, it’s clear that Simone is not herself. Seriously, at this point, she’s rocking a glueless lace wig.

With her new hairstyle, she realizes that she made the mistake of loving a man more than herself. Prisoner is officially a dub. To celebrate her revelation, she finds herself drunkenly wining and grinding on her childhood bae, Bryson. Does this look familiar? Well, think back to last week when they were doing the same in the parking lot before 5-0 arrived. Because she couldn’t hold it, Simone ends up using Bryson’s bathroom which leads to a very sober thoughts-type of conversation in the bedroom. It is recognized that Bryson has always had a thing for the kid and Simone regrets that she never said anything about her feelings. His commandeering attitude (like the day she walked into his class freshman year) reminded her of the Different World “Strangers on a Plane” episode. It was an iconic one because it’s where Dwayne and Whitley’s love story began. That’s a telling comparison.

With that being said, Simone always felt Bryson was the Dwane to her Whitley. Unfortunately, the timing was always off and just when we think the two finally catch up to one another, cue: the vomit. Poor Bryson. Did someone do brujeria on this kid? He has the worst luck. But, like the gentleman he is, he takes care of his queen to make sure she’s all comfy in her drunken slumber. He whispers, “I love you Simone Graham,” but on the wake up it looks like sis suffers from sudden amnesia. She pulls the “best friend” card, making it clear that it’s friend zone from here on out. Prisoner’s trifling friend calls to offer to take Simone out to eat and in an act of “let me solidify that Bryson knows this is going nowhere,” Simone agrees to go out with her ex's friend. Once again, a blue-balled Bryson is left sorting out his feelings that Simone continues to perpetually confuse.

It’s important to note that the story of Brymone is not a new one. We’ve seen it in many action movies, comic book flicks, and on “Strangers on a Plane” where the geeky male character is overlooked by the badass female, only to win her affection in the end. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but in Bryson’s case, could it possibly be heading in that direction and is Simone even the heroine worth winning? In browsing through what is essentially the best years of any young adult’s life, Simone had many times to figure out if Bryson was the one for her and yet she chose to ignore her feelings. Unlike David, it’s not like she found Jesus; she hasn’t yet found herself.

One thing she does know is that she cannot lose Bryson because it’s possible she may love and need him more than she’d like to verbally admit. He’s no Prisoner or no flashy member of the entourage. He’s the “gentleman who wears tuxedos and makes sure his homegirl is safe” type of dude and unfortunately, that isn’t one Simone is interested in, for now.

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