Okay, check it out - I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my friends, Jacqui Butler, and give you a little more insight into both of our lives. Jacqui and I met back in February in Arizona and instantly bonded over our similar lifestyles since we’re both married to professional athletes. We seriously have so much in common! She’s a health nut, dog mom, world traveler, and wife to an NFL player. Plus, she’s the founder of Off the Field, a lifestyle blog and video series, and uses her platform to spread positivity, health tips, travel tips, and so much more. We’ve rounded up a few of the top questions people have about our crazy lifestyles to give you a behind the scenes look at what’s it’s really like to be married to a professional athlete. Enjoy!
Who is your husband, what teams has he played for and who does he currently play for?
Jacqui (NFL wife): My husband is Drew Butler. He’s a punter and has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Arizona Cardinals. We are currently free agents just waiting to see where our next adventure and team will take us! You can read more about this here. :)
Carolyn (MLB wife): My husband is Drew Pomeranz. He is a starting pitcher and has played for the Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s, and San Diego Padres. He is currently a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox
How long is the season? When's the off season?
Jacqui: Here’s an outline of the season:
OTAs (Organized Team Activities): Mid April-Mid June. Team workouts with light practices that are broken up into phases. The NFL has regulations over what’s allowed during these weeks. For instance, they can’t wear pads. OTAs end with mandatory mini-camp which is a 3-day culmination of OTAs before the last break leading up to training camp.
Training Camp/Pre-Season: End of July-end of August. This is what people consider the start of the season. At this point there are 90 players on each team, and at certain points throughout the month, there are cut days. The NFL has regulations on how many players are allowed on each team, each week. The number gets smaller and smaller, until you end up with your final 53-man roster at the end of pre-season.
Training Camp is also where the wives have to live home alone while the guys are away in a hotel working 24/7. They will get one off-night a week where they can sleep at home and report back to camp the next night. During this time, there are 4 pre-season games (5 if you’re in the HOF Game) and tons of practices.
Regular Season: Beginning of September-Beginning of January. There are 16 games. Hopefully you do well enough that you make it to the post-season games! Post-Season games are the Wild Card Games, Divisional Games, Conference Championship Games, and THE Super Bowl!
Off-Season: Only 12 of the 32 teams go to the playoffs I mentioned above (6 from each conference). So for the other 20 teams that don’t make it to post-season games, their season ends with their last regular-season game, which is usually the first week of January. Then different teams respectively start their off-season when their team loses the playoff games. The very last game is the Super Bowl which is the beginning of February.
The furthest my husband has ever made it with a team was the Conference Championship Game, just 60 minutes away from the Super Bowl. This was with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015. We were so close, we could taste it. The guys had worked so hard and we were so proud of them.
Carolyn: Spring Training starts February 14th and lasts through the end of March. Regular season starts at the beginning of April and lasts through beginning of October. This year, the postseason begins on October 3rd and ends on November 1st. Off Season is November through February 14th (if you don’t make playoffs, the off season starts in October).
Do you eat at the field?
Jacqui: I always try to eat a healthy, filling meal before I head to the stadium. But by the time I leave the house to the time I am back home after the game, that’s usually about 10 hours, so of course I’m going to get hungry. I try to bring a healthy snack with me, but I honestly always end up eating popcorn at the stadium no matter what. In Arizona, there used to be something called totchos at The University of Phoenix Stadium (they don’t sell them anymore). They were basically nachos, but instead of chips, they were tater tots! (I’m guilty of having those at some training camp practices.)
Carolyn: This really depends on what team we’re on and what field we’re at. At Red Sox home games I do because the team caters food for the wives in the family room, and it’s fun to bond and eat dinner with the other wives. If I feel like having something different, I go to Basho for some sushi, which is right across the street from Fenway, or I grab a salad at Sweetgreen or Honeygrow. Since I’ve been to most baseball fields in the country, I know the various foods that each stadium offers. Most of the time that consists of hotdogs, nachos, burgers, and popcorn (typical ballpark food). On road trips, I try to plan ahead and eat something before I go to the game so I don’t spend time wandering around the stadium hoping that something healthy will miraculously appear ;) When we play the Yankees in New York, my go-to orders before games are salads from Chop’t or Just Salad or sushi from Blue Ribbon Sushi.
How many games are in a season?
Jacqui: 4 pre-season games (5 if you’re playing in the Hall of Fame Game), 16 regular-season games and 4 potential postseason games.
Carolyn: 162 regular season games that are played in about 180 days (not counting Spring Training OR postseason games).
What do the days look like when your husband has a game?
Jacqui: My hubby has his routines, so gameday always looks the same! The night before the games, even the home games, the boys have to stay at a hotel. I’ll take Drew to the hotel so we can have one car to drive home together in after the game.I’ll wake up at our house, make sure I get in a big healthy meal to hold me over for the long day ahead, get in my gameday gear, and head to the stadium! I’ll get to the stadium 2 hours before the game, because that’s when special teams walks on the field and starts their warm-ups. So, I’ll watch that for 40 minutes, blow Drew a kiss and head to my seat. I’ll watch team practice and chat with my girlfriends around me. Once the game starts it usually lasts 4 hours. After the game, I’ll head to the family area to meet Drew. We will usually stay and chat with other teammates and their wives and then head home. We walk our dog and then head to a nice steak house after the game to unwind. (If it’s in the late game time slot, we will just stay home and order in pizza :) )
Carolyn: During the season, Drew leaves for the field around noon and returns home after the game around 11pm or midnight. Since days off are rare during the season, we make sure to take advantage of the time we have together in the morning. Typically, we go out to eat breakfast (in Boston we usually go to Stephanie’s, Sonsie, or Cafeteria) and then spend time walking our dog Penny. After Drew leaves for the field, I divide my time between working on my blog, attending a workout class such as Barry’s Bootcamp, SoulCycle, B-Tone, or training with my trainer, as well as organizing our apartment or packing for our next trip. I also spend a lot of time attending Red Sox charity events with the other wives, which is something I greatly enjoy doing.
What do the days look like when the guys don't have a game?
Jacqui: In the NFL you only have 1 game a week. Most of the games are on Sunday, but there will be 1 team each week that plays Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football.
Let’s hypothetically say they just played a Sunday night game and they also have a Sunday night game next week. Monday, the team will report for team meetings and separate into their respective segment meetings (such as offense, defense, special teams) to go over the game from the night before. While they’re at the facility, they’ll rehab, do physical therapy, stretch or get in a hot tub/steam room to help their bodies from the night before. Tuesdays are usually off-days, but some players still go in (including my husband) to use the facility, get a lift in, meet with their coach, etc. So even on his “off-day” he still goes in. When he gets back home, we will usually just relax for the remainder of the afternoon and cook dinner. We are creatures of habit during the season and stay in a lot.
Carolyn: Baseball players play 162 games in 180 days so they pretty much have a game every night. On the rare occasion they don’t, they get a day off. On their days off, Drew and I always go out to dinner (since he loves to eat) and try to explore new areas of the city that we haven’t had a chance to see yet. Some of the activities we’ve done on off days this season include, going to Cape Cod for the day, exploring the Seaport area in Boston, and dining at various restaurants such as Legal Harborside, The Little Donkey, Ruka, Yvonne’s, Loco Taqueria, and Select Oyster Bar.
What do you do in off season?
Jacqui: Travel, travel, and then travel some more! We don’t have kids yet and we love taking one big off-season trip each year. In years past we’ve explored Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Tahiti, and more. This year we conquered Asia as our off-season trip. We will also travel a lot other than our “main off-season trip” to visit family and friends. Lots of players and their families have a homebase. What I mean by this is they live in their NFL city from September to January and then head “home” for the off-season. Atlanta is our off-season home so we spend lots of the off-season with family and Drew will workout with his off-season coaches/trainers.
Carolyn: Travel! There are no weekends or vacation days during baseball season so we make the most out of the off season by taking a trip to a different country we haven’t been to before and taking various trips to Hawaii.
How many times do you move a year?
Jacqui: This depends. Sometimes none because hopefully you remain with the same team. But of course, things don’t always go as planned, or you’re a free agent, etc. All of that then involves lots of moving. The most we have moved in one year is to 4 different cities. (That included more than 4 moves because we would move back home to our homebase in Atlanta between each city, so it was a lot that year.)
Carolyn: We typically move a minimum of 3 times. We live in California in the offseason, Florida during spring training and Boston during baseball season. Unless, like last year, he gets traded. In the event that this happens, he catches a flight to the new city within 24 hours and I pack us up and join him a little later.
How do you stay in shape on the road?
Jacqui: If I go to an away game I’m usually only away from home for 2 nights. The boys fly out the day before a game so they only are away from home for 1 night because they fly back right after the game (no matter how late they get back). If they’re playing a team on the opposite side of the country, they’ll leave 2 days before the game to better acclimate their bodies to that time zone. But this doesn’t happen often. So in regard to my workout schedule, it’s really not affected. Of course, traveling gets exhausting when you’re on the road a lot and it’s easy to come up with excuses on why not to workout that day. (The game went late last night, I took a 6am flight home, I want to just sleep…) You have to make it a point to get in what you were planning. I’m also a huge believer in eating healthy and that that’s the most important aspect to staying in shape, so I’m always looking for healthy foods to eat, even on the road.
Carolyn: I’m not going to lie – it isn’t easy… especially when we go out to dinner after games around 11:30pm. I’ve learned to maintain my weight while traveling by eating healthy at the airport, stopping to get a salad or ordering room service before I go to the baseball field, and using ClassPass to attend different workout classes in the various cities that we’re in.
Are you close with other wives?
Jacqui: Other wives are my best friends. I can count on them no matter what. Being in the NFL is such a close-knit bond. There are only 53 guys per team so everyone is very close. It’s really hard for people outside of the NFL to understand exactly what we go through. Lots of people assume it’s all butterflies and glamorous, but we do go through a lot that people just can’t understand. It’s so nice to confide in one another. I have such great friends from every single team we have been with. We’ve seen each other get married, have babies, keep in touch no matter what team we are traded to, and always cheer each other on.
Carolyn: Yes! We spend so much time together, it would be hard not to be. Plus, I am thankful to be on a team with such an amazing and caring group of ladies.
Any routines your husband has?
Jacqui: This is funny because I think Drew is superstitious, but if you ask him he will tell you he’s not. He will tell you he has his “routines.” Two of his gameday routines are:
- He puts new shoelaces in his shoes every game.
- I have to watch his warm-up for good luck. Special Teams hits the field first so they have space to kick. I’ll go down to the first row of seats closest to the field and stand there and watch him for 40 minutes before the rest of the team comes out for warm-ups. I’m usually the very first person in that stadium, being a supportive wife :)
Carolyn: Yes! Pitchers are known for having many routines and superstitions. As it relates to routines – he sleeps 8 hours a night, no matter what time he goes to bed. He eats the same exact thing for breakfast every day (in the same order), showers 15 minutes before he goes to the field, and has many routines that he follows at the field and after games.
Do you go to all his games or away games?
Jacqui: I don’t go to all of his away games, but of course I go to all of his home games! In regard to away games, I pick and choose based on a few factors. Every game is so important, but if it’s a “big game” for Drew or the team, I will go. If I have family or best friends in that city, I will go so I can visit with them. With the guys only being gone the night before the game, you have to weigh out if you’d rather be there for the game or if you want to be there when they get home. When they’re on the road you don’t get to see them a lot if you go to the game. You might be able to sneak a dinner in with them depending on when they land and what time their meetings start. You’ll be able to give them a quick hug & kiss at the very least. The morning of the game, you can maybe snag a quick breakfast together, or once again, just a hug & kiss. And then after the game, you’ll go down and see them near the locker room before they head to their plane. See what I mean by weighing out which option you think is better for that game?
Carolyn: I go to most of his away games since I wouldn’t see him nearly as much if I didn’t. I do skip a few since it’s pretty exhausting to constantly travel and bounce around from one state to another, but I do enjoy exploring each city he plays in and visiting the different ballparks.
Were you into football/baseball before you met your husband?
Jacqui: I met my husband Drew when I was in 5th grade. So, I wasn’t into football before I met Drew, seeing as I’ve known him basically my whole life! But, I was into football before Drew started playing football. I was a cheerleader in middle school and high school and Drew surprisingly never played football until his sophomore year of high school! I also went to the University of Alabama, where football is EVERYTHING! So I’ve always loved football :)
There is a huge difference though between loving football and dealing with living your life in football. Lots of people say “it’s just a game” but what people don’t realize is that to us, it’s personal.
Carolyn: I enjoyed going to San Francisco Giants games with my family growing up, and I went to baseball games while I was at Vanderbilt since our team went to the College World Series. However, I’m pretty sure I used to socialize in the stands much more than I watched the baseball game.
What job did you have before you met your husband?
Jacqui: I worked at NBC in New York City. I had my dream jobs in my favorite building in NYC, 30 Rockefeller. I interned there the summer of my junior year of college and then worked my first 2.5 years after graduation there. I was an NBC Page for one year, working with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Dr. Oz, TODAY Show, and more. Then I took a job with the TODAY Show. I was an Executive Assistant, produced weekly segments for Hoda & Kathie Lee, as well as the other hours when needed. I would gather elements for air, and basically had my hand in a little of everything! It was the best.
I left for love, and with how much we have moved around this country for different teams, it’s been impossible to keep the job in TV that I originally wanted. So, I created Off the Field and am SO HAPPY and thankful I did! I get to satisfy the journalistic side of me, as well as use my writing and producing skills in a new realm! It’s fun learning something new and being able to impact people in a positive way, but of course my work pre-moving for Drew will always hold such a special place in my heart!
I think lots of people have negative preconceived notions about professional athletes wives. They assume they don’t have their own lives, have never worked before, don’t have their own dreams, degrees, and just marry for money or “the life.” And that is far from the truth.
Carolyn: While I was in school at Vanderbilt, I interned at Fueled, a mobile app development company in New York City. At Fueled, I worked in both public relations and project management. I facilitated coverage for the company with the Huffington Post, New York Times, TechCrunch and technology bloggers, and I also curated content for the company’s blog, Facebook page and Twitter feeds. During my prior summers, I worked as a marketing intern at TSG Consumer Partners, a consumer private equity firm, and at Pereira & O’Dell, a digital advertising boutique. Once I graduated from Vanderbilt, I worked as a Sales Rep at Salesforce in San Francisco. I worked there for a year and a half until Drew proposed and was traded to the San Diego Padres. We lived in San Diego for 3 months, Drew made the All Star Team and got traded to the Red Sox the day after the All Star game. We moved across the country for the remainder of baseball season, and then moved back to California just in time for our wedding in Hawaii last November. My previous experiences and my strong passion for fitness, fashion, and travel led me to create www.CarolynSaidIDrew.com. My goal is to inspire others to maintain a fashionable, healthy, fun, and fabulous lifestyle regardless of what city they're in or if they're constantly on the road.
Carolyn & Jacqui