A Clearer Picture – Episode 5
A one on one interview with Ashley Jackson
This interview took place before the Baltimore Arizona game.
Clear – Good evening and welcome to Episode 5 of A Clearer Picture. In our final episode of the S15 regular season, we have an in-depth, one on one interview with one of the SFL’s most notable names, host of the SFL Nights podcast and Arizona Scorpions general manager, Ashley Jackson! How are you this evening?
Jackson – I am doing fantastic Jacob, and it’s an honor and privilege to be here with you tonight.
Clear – I must first begin by asking, how did the SFL find you?
Jackson – Joining the league was actually on a whelm! ATL’s Joshua Williams gave me the idea. He told me that he was involved in a simulated football league and me being a fan of football, I had to check it out! I watched the 11th Championship Game and fell in love with everything about it, especially the broadcasters. I believe it was Cameron Irvine and Andy Hamilton on the call that night.
Clear – Casting our minds back to your rookie campaign in Season 12, what was the live draft experience like for you as a hopeful talent compared to how it is now?
Jackson – It was an amazing experience because I would watch drafts on television all the time but it’s so different when it’s your name being called. I was on pins and needles until it was Tulsa’s turn with the 8th pick. They told me that they were going to select me but until I heard my name called, I was nervous. Cameron Irvine came on the microphone and said, “With the 8th pick of the Season 11 SFL Draft, the Tulsa Desperados selects….. Ashley Jackson, quarterback – the first woman ever in that position!” My heart leapt with excitement, I could hardly contain myself. Everyone was shocked because when I joined the league, I originally wanted to be a WR or DE but changed my mind to taking snaps. I even received a touchdown pass in the rookie showcase as a wide receiver. I had “Hands” and high sliver rating to boot, but chose to throw it instead of catching it.
Clear – Your first season with Tulsa was the definition of a mixed bag, what do you remember from Season 12?
Jackson – I remember feeling that I really belonged in that locker room because they made me feel so comfortable and they cared. I also remember receiving my nickname, “Nine Millimeter” from Houston Hyenas owner, Demond Simien during a game he called because of my throwing ability and starting the SFL Nights with A.J.Striker Podcast on Dec 28th of 2018. Also, I received The Community Ambassador Award that year which was amazing, but also the following 2 seasons after that, which was and always will be an honor I am very proud of.
Clear – You turned up a gear the following season, having your best campaign to date, sending Tulsa from a 16th seed in S12 to 9th in S13. What changed in S13 and what was your most memorable moment?
Jackson – I believe that spending time learning from our mistakes and changing things up on how we played worked wonders. Coaches Kanye Rockafella and owner Dion Hawkins realized that I was great throwing the football and made necessary adjustments to the gameplan. The most memorable moment was when I had a beautiful 45-yard touchdown rainbow pass to Khoury Jones, that clip was used during the opening hype video in every game of season 14.
Clear – S14 saw you move to Eddie Gauge’s expansion team the Arizona Scorpions. Besides the offer of a staff position, what else drew you towards Arizona?
Jackson – As happy as I was at Tulsa, I wanted to explore free agency to know what other locker rooms were like. Owner and head coach Eddie Gauge gassed up the jet and flew to Atlanta to ask me to be a member of his team as quarterback and co-GM, and I didn’t want to pass up on that opportunity.
Clear – What was the main improvement Arizona made in the S15 pre-season that saw them take a massive leap to a 5-7 record in the teams the second season?
Jackson – Eddie’s is known for his defense, always has been. He decided to take over the offence and got DJ Moses involved to try to balance our air and ground game. We took a few bumps and bruises but that is to be expected as Gauge had little experience on offence.
Clear – Looking away from your on-field efforts, what is your current role in the Arizona front office?
Jackson – I am the general manager and director of communications. I also take all historical stats for every member of our team. Every snap played, every point scored, every season they have been in the league is documented.
Clear – You are well known for the before mentioned SFL Nights hourly show that has become a smash hit in the community, what do you enjoy most about recording the show?
Jackson – I am a people person so naturally, I enjoy my interviews most of all. Letting people share their stories that otherwise may not be known or heard means the world to me. It makes me happy to make them happy and if you notice, my speaking parts are not that long. I just want to focus on my interviewees shining in that moment.
Clear – Any memorable moments or episodes?
Jackson – I have about 108 episodes and all were special to me for different reasons. I believe switching over from audio-only to video was a great and memorable move because it allowed the listeners to see our faces and get a totally different feel for the show. I do all my own edits of video and sound which was challenging at first but it has since become a lot easier to manage.
Clear – Do you have anything planned for the upcoming Season 2 of the SFL Minor League?
Jackson – I plan to interview as many rookies and new members that is humanly possible. I want every story to be heard loud and clear.
Clear – You also took over writing the Player of the Week series for season 14 and 15, what do you find most challenging about writing those articles?
Jackson – The most challenging aspects of writing these articles that I have been doing for 2 seasons is deciding who to give it to at times and the backlash I get sometimes for not considering someone that others thought should have gotten the award for that category. I receive a select amount of stats to choose from and there are weeks that I have, for example, 6 different players on offense that are deserving of the award. I then look at who was best all-around and then how many yards and scoring plays one has. In tough weeks like those, I name 3 people, the actual award winner, runner up and honourable mention to try to give props where they are due. Then, after the article is published, I have to deal with the people who disagree with the selections. It’s a challenge, but I enjoy writing the series.
Clear – What are you most looking forward to this off-season?
Jackson – Take a bit of a rest before I put on my GM hat and look for replacements for those that will be leaving and doing more interview-based shows.
Clear – Will Arizona get the cookies next season?
Jackson – We plan to get all the sugar, oatmeal, thin mint, snickerdoodle, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies we can find sir!
Clear – Thank you very much for your time, Ashley Jackson.
Jackson – You are very welcomed and thanks for allowing everyone to receive a “Clearer Picture” in my SFL life. It’s been a pleasure.
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