Women married to NFL Mormons do best to keep things normal at home

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 19 2011 1:00 p.m. MDT

"They definitely ask a lot of questions, and I like to give solid answers," she said.

Jessica Kehl

Life as an NFL wife has provided Jessica Kehl with a variety of new experiences and opportunities.

After she married Bryan Kehl in July 2009, the couple has lived in three locations: New Jersey, while Bryan played for the New York Giants; St. Louis, where he currently plays for the Rams; and they have stayed at times with family in the Salt Lake City area. Since the couple doesn't have children yet, Jessica enjoys attending charity events, mingling with other wives and girlfriends, operating her own photo business (Jessicafayephotography.com) and spending time with Bryan, who few recognize in public.

"Overall, it's pretty fun," Jessica said. "A lot of people don't know what the players look like under helmets, so we're not bothered very much; we're still low-key. More recognize him in Utah than in St. Louis."

The couple is frequently invited to participate in charity work, and one of Jessica's favorite events involves taking baskets of goodies to sick children at local hospitals.

The season is always a roller coaster of emotions, more for Jessica than Bryan. She says her husband is happy and confident, despite what happens with the team. Sometimes after games she doesn't know what to say, so she doesn't say anything.

"I get more into it than he does. If a coach says something, I hold a vendetta, but he is over it the next day," Jessica said. "Sometimes they lose and still feel good, or win and not feel good, so I never know what to say; I just avoid it and he deals with it on his own."

On Sundays, it's important that Jessica represents the couple at their LDS Church ward. She attends some home games and records road games to watch after church meetings. She doesn't currently have a calling, but Bryan serves as the ward mission leader. When the couple lived in New Jersey, Bryan was the Scoutmaster.

Ann Larsen

On Sunday mornings during the NFL season, Ann Larsen wakes up, puts on religious music and gets her three children ready for church.

Once she gets to the meetinghouse, she's "a nervous wreck."

Her husband, Spencer, is a starting fullback for the Denver Broncos. Ann has always loved football. But when the game becomes a profession, and the pressure to win is as intense as it is in the NFL, the ups and downs of a season can be, in her words, "awful."

"Nothing can be better than winning a game in the NFL," Ann said. "And in contrast, nothing can be worse than losing a game."

Ann and Spencer grew up together in Gilbert, Ariz. They started dating after Spencer returned from his full-time Mormon mission. He was a star player at the University of Arizona. Ann was attending Arizona State, a bitter rival.

"It was tough, but love prevaileth," said Ann, who actually cheers for Arizona over her alma mater.

The couple lives in Parker, Colo., with their three kids, ages 4, 3 and 1. Ann works with the Activity Days program in their ward, while Spencer, who is in his fourth season with the Broncos, serves as a ward missionary.

For the most part, Ann considers her husband's job fairly normal. He's usually gone from 8 to 5 during the week. She says the family is busy but not overwhelmed.

"It has its ups and downs, just like any job does," Ann said.

The friends the Larsens have made at church try to keep the football talk to a minimum. But the Broncos — especially in the football-crazed Denver market — are never completely out of the conversation.

"It just doesn't ever seem to end, because it's the talk of the town and the talk of the house," Ann said.

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