O'Toole, Shannon 1973–

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O'Toole, Shannon 1973–

(Shannon M. O'Toole)


Born May 26, 1973, in Saginaw, MI; married John Morton (a football coach); children: one daughter. Education: Western Michigan University, M.A.


Home— El Segundo, CA. E-mail— [email protected]om.




Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2006.

Contributor of book reviews and articles to area newspapers and sports-related Web sites.


When it comes to understanding life in the National Football League (NFL), author Shannon O'Toole has what Library Journal contributor Kimberley Robles-Smith termed "a unique perspective." As the wife of former NFL player and coach John Morton, O'Toole is completely aware of the challenges that NFL players, coaches, and their wives and families must face. From life-changing injuries to demanding schedules to frequent changes of address, O'Toole knows that life in the NFL is not always as glamorous as it appears to the crowds in the stadiums or to the fans at home in their living rooms. Her first book,Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women, takes readers behind the scenes and into the lives of the women of the NFL—the wives, ex-wives, and girlfriends of NFL players and coaches. As O'Toole writes in the opening pages, "Rather than being shallow or timid, as they are sometimes portrayed, they are as tough, if not tougher, than the men who play and coach the game."

O'Toole makes the argument that while members of the media often paint them as spoiled "Barbie dolls," many football players' wives and girlfriends are actually strong, confident, independent women who spend a large part of the year running their households and raising their children on their own, while their husbands and boyfriends attend training camps, practices, and games. O'Toole, who received her master's degree in sociology from Western Michigan University, has created in Wedded to the Game what she terms on the book's Web site "part insider tell-all and part sociological study." Like the players on the field who tackle their tough opponents, O'Toole tackles the tough issues that face the women of the NFL. Research for the book began with a survey, which she followed with more probing interviews with NFL women including Jackie Rice, wife of former NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice, and Kim Singletary, wife of former NFL linebacker Mike Singletary, among others.

Robles-Smith commented in Library Journal that Wedded to the Game covers "such important issues as social isolation, domestic violence, physical injuries, financial planning … [and] emotional trauma." Washington Post reviewer Jonathan Yardley called it "a real eye-opener," comparing the women of the NFL to offensive linemen: "in the trenches, unknown and unrecognized, taking the pain as well as the pleasure that the game dishes out." Yardley went on, terming Wedded to the Game an "intelligent, thoughtful book."

O'Toole told CA: "I was motivated to write this book because I wanted to dispel the mostly negative and unfair stereotypes about this group of women. Far from [being] shallow Barbie dolls, the women married to professional players and coaches are strong, confident, and independent. Much of the research is based on first-person interviews. Wedded to the Game is an honest, yet positive look at the inside of professional football in America."



O'Toole, Shannon,Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2006.


Library Journal, March 1, 2006, Kimberley Robles-Smith, review of Wedded to the Game, p. 107.

Washington Post, April 11, 2006, Jonathan Yardley, "The Home Team," review of Wedded to the Game, p. C08.


Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women Web site, http://www.weddedtothegame.blogspot.com (October 23, 2007).