Simon Jolly – Biography
His working life sees him in the world of particle physics, allowing him to analyse the NFL through a trained scientific eye, but (Dr) Simon Jolly, who completed part of his PhD at Stanford University in 2001/02, can offer a different insight into the game.
Choosing not to support the great Chicago Bears team of 1985 “because everybody else did” Simon actually chose two teams as an eight-year-old — the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings — innocently choosing the Chargers because “they had the best uniform with the lightning flashes” and the Vikings because of family ties in Minneapolis.
“I still treasure my original Dan Fouts #14 Chargers jersey and Tommy Kramer #9 Vikings jersey which I got given for Christmas as a kid,” he says. “My mum made me a jacket based on the Dan Fouts jersey, which I wore at every opportunity till I grew out of it. I still have it…”
This love of the NFL quickly manifested itself on to the turf as Simon spent 15 years playing the game in the UK at Youth, University, Senior and International level where he represented Great Britain and eventually lined up alongside his younger brother Martin.
Simon cites Mark Bavaro, tight end for the 1986 New York Giants, as the inspiration behind his own choice of position: “he was a great receiver and a fierce blocker; his resemblance to Rambo also didn’t hurt!” He also remembers the thrill of watching Barry Sanders. “I mean, just anything he did — it was much like watching Jason Robinson play rugby; that sense of excitement and anticipation every time he got the ball is unmatched,” although Simon says Adrian Peterson comes close nowadays.
Alongside his interests in gridiron and physics Simon will bring a different perspective on the game from the UK and is particularly interested in “what makes great players great.”
“The unique combination of mental ability and physical skill,” is what interests him he says. “Something about the way fantastic athletes move is just different from ordinary people or ordinary players, watching them do great things is a privilege.”
Simon joins us as a first-time writer at A Head For The Game and, as usual, any feedback on his work would be welcomed.
American Football Career
1994 – 1996 Farnham Knights Youth (Youth Kitted League)
1995 – 1996 Great Britain Crusaders (Youth)
1996 – 2000 Surrey Stingers (BCAFL)
1998 – 1999 Farnham Knights (BAFL)
2000 – 2003 Oxford Cavaliers (BCAFL)
2000 – 2003 Great Britain Bulldogs (University)
2005 – 2006 London Olympians (BAFL)
1995 US Tour with Great Britain Crusaders
1996 Team Captain – Great Britain Crusaders
1996 National Championship (Knights Youth)
2000 Danish Tour with Great Britain Bulldogs
2001 National Championship (Oxford Cavaliers)
2003 Italian Tour with Great Britain Bulldogs
2005 National Championship (London Olympians)