Sideline Reporter Erin Andrews Texts With Dad During NFL Games

He's her editorial coach, so to speak.

by Donna Freydkin

Being a middling sports reporter is easy. (What percent did you give? Was it 100? Was it more than 100?) But being a great sports reporter is hard. It’s not unlike being an athlete. You gotta get your shots off at the right time or stand up in the pocket or find the empty space. Whatever metaphor you choose, NFL reporter Erin Andrews is good at that. She’s the reporter who gets the ball when the clock is winding down. That’s why she’s Erin Andrews and you’re not.

How did she get good? The same way you get to MetLife Stadium: practice. But also her dad. She’s pretty clear on that point.

“I love sports because of my father,” the former College GameDay and current Fox Sports broadcaster says. “It’s the way my father was able to express his love for certain teams and the way he was able to talk to me about, ‘Hey, this guy is good friends with this guy on this team and they have to play each other and they look at each other’s stats all the time!’ That’s how my dad did it for me.”

Now, Andrews, who is married to former New York Ranger Jarret Stoll, is doubling down on sports by founding WEAR, which makes shockingly flattering clothing for fans (think: denim shirts with Dallas Cowboys insignias). For many fans, the brand represents a potential break from the oversized jerseys. That’s good news if you want to rep your team while looking like an adult. “We worked so hard,” Andrews says. “I wanted it to be great quality and to look good on everyone.”

Andrews spoke to Fatherly about her father’s influence, her time in and around the NFL, and her sports obsession.

How did your dad influence your love of football and sports in general?

The cool thing about my dad is, he’s a great story teller and he told me the stories behind different players and the organizations and the coaches and what rivalries were all about. What players didn’t like certain players and what players were best friends. I just loved the way that my dad told those stories and I love the way that he made it so fun for me to learn and that’s why I became a huge fan.

But you aren’t just a fan. You pursued sports reporting in a very real way. Was he part of that?

I went to college, I studied it, I got a job out of school right away, when I may or not have been ready. I was a sideline reporter for the Tampa Bay Lightning right out of college, which was exciting for me, but I didn’t know much about the NHL. My dad really helped me. He tutored me at home, gave me suggestions, he helped me with my interviews. You know, he helped me from a young age.

Even now, he helps me so much.

So you guys are in constant contact?

I have my cell phone in my pants at a game and my dad and I are in a constant text conversation. You know, right before I have to go talk to a coach at halftime my dad will suggest a few questions because he’s my dad and he’s this giant sports fan. He was a huge influence in my life. He helps me try to get better.

What’s your sweetest memory of your father from your childhood?

My dad doesn’t have any boys. Even our golden retrievers were girls. And, you know, he’s always there for us. When our dance competition group needed him to play a part in one of our competition routines, he acted like a dance instructor right before we took the stage and competed; it was part of our production number so it was hilarious. That’s just a great example of my dad. I mean he was willing to drive his kids to dance class every day. He was willing to go to our dance recitals and our competition shows and even be a part of them. He’s super, super special.

There’s so much emphasis today on raising strong, empowered young girls. What do you think your dad did to help you come into your own?

We’ve just been such an honest family. We were never really afraid to bring anything up to our parents. You know the four of us are on a text chain and we call each other the Griswolds. We tell each other everything. We’re always reciting movie quotes to each other, sending funny memes to each other and there really isn’t a day that we’re not checking in on one another and I think the one thing that my mom and dad have instilled in both my sister and me is just that, we can achieve anything. You know, just go for it.

You talk to some of the most famous NFL players, period. And I know you’re trying to start your own family. Any parenting advice you’ve ever gotten from them?

Good question! I’ve actually even been around players — I mean my husband is a retired NHL player and he’s been a part of a team with a ton of young kids around — and we’ve kind of watched these kids grow up with their families. I’ve always asked players about getting their kids into sports and stuff because I know when it’s time for my husband and I to have children, we’re definitely going to want our kids to play sports. I think maybe some of the best thing I’ve heard is this: They don’t force the kids to love sports as much as they do.