October 13, 2011
LostLettermen.com, the college sports fan site and player database, regularly contributes to Shutdown Corner. Here's a look Angela Rypien, the daughter of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien.
Father-son quarterback duos are nothing new to pro football.
Look no further than the Mannings (brothers Peyton and Eli and father Archie), the Simms (Chris and Phil), the Grieses (Brian and Bob) and coming soon, the Lucks (Stanford quarterback Andrew and his dad, Oliver).
But a father-daughter combination of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien and his little girl, Angela, who is now the starting quarterback for the Lingerie Football League's Seattle Mist?
Well, that's a little more unusual.
And in her first career game for the Mist on Sept. 30 while donning her dad's old No. 11, Angela showed she also has what it takes to be under center. She threw three touchdown passes in a 42-8 win over the expansion Green Bay Chill, coached by former Packer Gilbert Brown.
Despite the blowout victory, Angela was her own harshest critic after completing just 6-of-16 passes for 81 yards.
"To be honest, I didn't think I did very well at all," the 20-year-old Rypien said earlier this week in her distinctive raspy voice. "I left that game not really satisfied that I did my best."
Mark, who was in the crowd, was a lot more positive. He said his daughter's debut performance "far surpassed my expectations" and that his biggest concern was a personal foul penalty Angela picked up in the first half.
"They said I punched a girl, but I didn't punch her -- I only forearmed her," Angela said defiantly.
Of course, there's one question that immediately comes to your mind when you hear Angela is playing Lingerie football: "What would her father think?"
"I don't think I've ever been just like, straight up, 'Hey dad, what do you think about me playing in my underwear?'" Angela said.
The elder Rypien still doesn't sound thrilled about it, but it also doesn't appear to bother him either.
"I think everybody that really gets on the field and watches the gals warm up — the ones that come there to support their team or to see what it's all about, kind of get that, 'Yeah, they're out there in their bra and panties and they're playing football,'" Mark said. "[But] once the first snap happens and they start smacking each other around, you lose sight of all of that and you're looking at the technical aspects of the game."
Mark said he long ago learned how to block out inebriated football fans in the crowd, which he now undoubtedly has to do again. Despite inappropriate things fans might say during games, Mark's not worried about getting into it with someone who catcalls his daughter during a game — or worse.
"There's no chance of [a fight] happening," Mark said. "One, some guy [would] probably whoop my a** out in the parking lot. What good's that gonna do? And if I did whoop his a** in the parking lot, what good's that gonna do? I'll get a lawsuit against me."
Angela got a dose of what her father dealt with on Mondays during his 11-year NFL career when she woke up the morning after the game in serious pain, especially from a blind-side hit she incurred.
"I have never hurt that bad, like, in my life," Angela said. "My body was in extreme physical pain. But it was fine… Other than the whiplash, I just didn't really want to move. You know, it was hard because I wanted just to sit on the couch all day or get in the hot tub and then I had to chase my 2-year old around, so that didn't help at all."
Angela grew up playing pretty much every sport imaginable and was even part of a boy's hockey team. But the irony of Angela's pro football career is that her day job (she is currently not paid to play in the Lingerie league) is at the opposite end of the career spectrum: Being a personal stylist.
Graduating from high school during 2008 in Spokane, Wash., Angela attended cosmetology school in Los Angeles but returned to Washington state to care for her daughter, Malayah, who had extreme medical problems due to spinal meningitis. Now 2, Malayah has since recovered.
Back home in Washington, Angela got inspired to play in the Lingerie league while she and her dad flipped through channels on the couch. Intrigued, she emailed the league for more information and joined the Mist at the end of last season but did not play in any games.
She now combines two passions that are polar opposites.
"It's really funny because I feel like such a girly girl when I am working in cosmetology because it is," Angela said. "It's all about women and hair and makeup and fashion and everything like that. And the three nights a week we have practice, I feel like I can throw my sweats on and throw on my tennis shoes and run out the door with a bandana and go to football practice. So they're definitely complete opposites, but I kind of enjoy that."
The Lingerie Bowl debuted as a stand-alone game at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. It generated so much publicity that after Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" happened concurrently, conspiracy theorists claimed it was a plotted move to upstage the women's game. The league now has 12 teams and a four-game regular season after ups and downs over the years.
Angela's first career game was an auspicious opener for a team that went 0-3 last season, even if the win did come against an expansion franchise. It was still enough to wonder if Rypien will one day be able to follow in the footsteps of her father again by leading her team to a championship while winning title game MVP honors.
"Yeah, we talk about [Lingerie Bowl MVP] a lot," Angela said. "My dad's very humble, he's very Canadian so he doesn't really care. For me, I love it. That's something that I want just to kind of have that. There's nothing else like that out there. But for him, he's just like, 'Oh well, if you're having fun, that's all that matters.'"
But with the Mist's next game against the Las Vegas Sin coming up on Nov. 4, Angela makes sure not to get ahead of herself when it comes to the Lingerie Bowl. And if there's one thing she's learned already, it's how to keep the media in check with the use of sports clichés.
"Obviously [the Lingerie Bowl is] the goal for us as players to make it to that game," Angela said. "But, you know, we're just taking it one game at a time and right now we're just focusing on Las Vegas."
Yep, spoken like a true NFL quarterback. Her dad must be proud.
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