Posted on: August 27th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Building relationships through footballGrowing up, I knew fall had arrived when my mom made gingersnap cookies for the first time.  The spicy smell of those cookies still makes me think of the promise of colorful trees, cool breezes and weekends filled with football.

For sports fans everywhere the start of football season is something to celebrate.  The football season is considerably shorter than any other major sport and each week counts toward post-season status.

If you’re already a football fan, you’re aware of the significance.  If you’re not, this is a great time to get on board.  Surveys show that more sports fans watch football than another sport.  With one game a week, it’s easier to track than a sport that plays every day, like baseball.

Remember becoming a fan just to make small talk with your coworkers or colleagues isn’t being disingenuous.  It’s part of being a well-rounded and accomplished conversationalist.  It’s giving you a starting point to a conversation that can help strengthen your professional relationships.

So let’s get started with this week’s conversation starters.  Simply read the short summary and ask the questions provided to start a conversation.  Click on the link if you’d like more information on a story.


NCAA Football – The college football season starts this week.  LSU and Alabama are ranked #1 and #2 in the preseason coaches’ poll making them favorites to watch.  Other storylines include newly realigned conferences, USC becoming eligible for post season play after serving out a 2 year ban and determining how recent sanctions against Penn St. affect the team.

  • What excites you most about the first week of the season?

NFL – We’re a week away from the regular season with just preseason game remaining.  You’re unlikely to see much of the starters in Week 4, but there is an intriguing matchup on the schedule.  The Patriots-Giants game Wednesday could be a good one to watch.  It’s a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl matchup and could be a preview of this year’s Super Bowl matchup.

  • This is the last week for teams to evaluate their talent and trim their rosters for Week 1 of the regular season.   How does your team look?

MLB – The big news in baseball last week was the blockbuster trade between Red Sox and Dodgers.  Boston sent 4 veteran players including Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez to LA in exchange for James Loney and four prospects.  Beckett and Gonzalez had been linked to some of the controversy in Boston surrounding manager Bobby Valentine.  This moves shows the Dodgers are willing to spend money as they absorb some very large contracts.  It signifies the Red Sox are moving in a different direction and disassembling their team.

  • Does this mean the end of Valentine in Boston or do you think they’ll rebuild with him as a manager?

PGA – Sergio Garcia missed his chance to become the first golfer this year to win back-to-back tournaments. Instead it’s Nick Watney who rallies for the win.  Not only does he win the first playoff event in the FedEx Cup but also puts himself in good position to be a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.

  • Outside of Watney, who else should Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III consider?  Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk are expected to be locks when he announces his team next week.

Tennis The US Open, the final major tournament of the year, gets underway Monday.  Roger Federer will try to rebound from a loss to Andy Murray in the gold medal match of the Olympics.  Both Federer and Murray are on the same side of the bracket, while top ranked and defending US Open Champ Novak Djokovic highlights the other side of the bracket.  Serena Williams is a favorite on the women’s side after winning gold in London.

  • Which superstars have something to prove over the next 2 weeks?


Workplace Communication Skills, Talk Sporty to MeJen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, helps business professionals understand the sports conversations that happen every day at work. Jen’s practical approach helps professionals leverage those sports conversations,   join in and sound credible .  Her conversation strategy comes from her 12 years of experience as a sports broadcaster.  Jen is available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops.  Contact for more information and read more at