Could Anonka Dixon Be the First Female Player in the NFL--and the Answer to the Dolphins' QB Woes? | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Could Anonka Dixon Be the First Female Player in the NFL--and the Answer to the Dolphins' QB Woes?

The Miami Dolphins are desperate right now. Less than a week after benching Chad Henne in favor of Chad Pennington, the team may have lost both players for the remainder of the season. Third-stringer Tyler Thigpen finished Sunday's win against the Titans at quarterback.

Now the team seems to be scrambling. It signed Patrick Ramsey (the Dolphins are Ramsey's fifth team in two years) and have reportedly spoken to several out-of-the-league veterans like Chris Simms and the alleged "Purple Dranker," JaMarcus Russell.

But as the Dolphins search through the heap of has-beens and busts, there's already a professional quarterback playing in South Florida who would certainly make an interesting addition to the team. Her -- that's right, her -- name is Anonka Dixon, and she is perhaps the best female football player in the country.

Dixon is a player for and part-owner of the Miami Fury, the women's 11-on-11 football team, and she also plays for the Miami Caliente, South Florida's lingerie football franchise. If the Dolphins were to sign her, Dixon would be the first woman to play in the NFL.

Now, before you roll your eyes, consider a few things:

Yes, this would be a public-relations stunt. (Even if Brett Favre announced his retirement, Randy Moss declared himself league commissioner, and Tom Brady announced he had a gay crush on Peyton Manning, a woman playing in the NFL would still get more attention.)  And it would be a political statement. (Equality, or something.) And it would be fascinating. (Who wouldn't tune in to see how Anonka would fair against the men?)

But it might also be somewhat deserved.

If you've never seen Anonka Dixon play, she's an incredible athlete: With lightning speed, the ability to plant either foot, pivot, and reverse field in a blink, and a right arm that can launch a perfect spiral 50 yards, she's the female version of Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, and the good parts of Michael Vick all rolled into one.

Last year, Dixon, along with receiver Tina Caccavale, made the Caliente offense the best in the Lingerie Football League. And the quarterback accounted for more than 80 percent of the team's touchdowns.

Her arm is easily as strong as Chad Pennington's, and she's at least as quick and agile as JaMarcus Russell.

In a New Times cover story about the team earlier this year, LFL founder Mitch Mortaza told me: "Her skills make her maybe the one player in this league you would never even want to think of losing."

Caliente Coach Bob Hewko, a former star quarterback at the University of Florida and four-year veteran of the NFL, explained: "People laugh when I say it, but it's true. She could be a third-stringer playing on Sundays somewhere. She's that good."

Well, that third-string position has opened up. Now is the time.

Dixon is from Liberty City, a neighborhood in Miami once famous for drug wars, now known for producing rappers and pro athletes. As a little girl, she was faster than most of the boys. She could jump, she could catch, and she could throw a football. Every day, she played in the same neighborhood parks that produced NFL players Darnell Jenkins, Willis McGahee, Chad Simpson, and Chad Ochocinco.

She relished every opportunity to compete. But as she got older, she was told football was the one sport girls aren't allowed to play. As she watched her peers from the grandstands and eventually from her couch on Saturdays and Sundays, she says she couldn't help imagining herself on the field, playing under the bright lights and big scoreboard.

For her part, Dixon says she's ready. And she watches every Dolphins game, so she knows at least a little of the offense. Mostly, though, she knows the Dolphins are hurting.

She says, in all seriousness, "They need me!"

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Michael J. Mooney

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