From competing in the WPFL to reporting with the New York Giants of the NFL, football has remained a constant in Anita Marks’ life.
After competing for five seasons in the WPFL, Marks found new life in the realm of broadcast journalism. Articulate, knowledgeable, well-researched and likeable, Marks is one of the remarkable women making a mark in the traditionally male dominated field of sports coverage.
Growing up in Miami, she cultivated a love of football at an early age. As a child, she competed in Pop Warner football. In high school, she would try out for the Junior Varsity team.
Her postsecondary years with the University of South Florida in Tampa were the training ground for her eventual future on the gridiron. Armed with a rocket arm and great vision, she would emerge as one of the elite competitors in the Collegiate Flag Football circuit.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, she would put it to good use. Employed as a sports producer for CBS in Miami (WFOR-TV) in the mid 1990’s, she never lost her love of competition. When former Minnesota Vikings player J.T. Turner announced that the Women’s Professional Football League would expand to Miami, the growing sport of women’s tackle football would welcome Marks into the fold.
While current US-based leagues such as the WFA and IWFL have replaced the former WPFL, Marks was definitely a pioneer in the sport and a debt of gratitude is owed to her. Lining up behind center, she was the pivot for four seasons with the Miami Fury. Her final season would bring her to the Florida Stingrays organization, where she competed in the WPFL title game. Great athleticism and charisma were complemented by arm strength and accuracy.
Marks’ tenacity and endurance proves that women’s football is hardly powder puff. She has the battle scars to prove it with tears to her ACL on three separate occasions, a reconstructed nose, a shattered sesmoid bone, a shoulder impingement and multiple knee surgeries.
It was also during her time with the WPFL that Marks became an on-air personality on the airwaves of Miami radio. Jim Kiick, a member of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins heard Marks appear as a guest on a radio program.
Kiick would request to have her co-host his Monday Nigth Football pre-game show for Miami’s Fox Sports affiliate radio station. She would eventually land her own afternoon show on Miami airwaves (940 Fox Sports Radio WRFX-AM), breaking barriers as a female radio sports host in a male dominated landscape. A stint at 1400 The Fan (WFLL-AM) followed.
Eventually, she would become one of the most popular sports personalities in Baltimore, Maryland, even co-hosting an occasional program with legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. As former Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas was one of her idols, it was a perfect fit for Marks. Ironically, she wore number 8 in football, the same number of Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken, Jr.
While she was in Baltimore, Marks continued tossing the football. Of note, she was the signal caller for an all-male flag football team in Hunt Valley, Maryland, along with being the only female in a male pick-up basketball league, based out of Towson, respectively. Known as the Ultimate Sports Chick on ESPN Radio 1300 in Baltimore, she actually coined the term Juice Monkey.
An afternoon drive show that Marks hosted on 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM) in Baltimore was also part of the Mid Atlantic Sports Network repertoire of syndicated programming (Direct TV – Channel 640). One of the highlights of her tenure with MASN was a Fantasy Football programs known as “Fantasy Blitz”.
Marks also brought her effervescent personality to the United Football League. With league contests aired on Versus, she gained a national platform, working as a sideline reporter during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Part of the UFL broadcast team with Marks included Dave Sims and football legends Doug Flutie and Kordell Stewart. Of note, when the UFL was looking for a female reporter for their broadcast, highly respected football sideline reporter Lesley Visser (of CBS) recommended Marks.
Although Marks brought a major league feel to women’s football, she is now in the big leagues of sports broadcasting. Relocating in 2010 to New York City, the largest television market in the United States, Marks would join WFAN 660, while also hosting shows on Sirius XM.
As a refreshing female voice in a male dominated sporting world, her wit and acumen would bring her to serving as part of the New York Giants broadcast team, along with a weekend gig on NBC Sports Radio, where she hosts the aptly-titled “Anita Marks Show”. Fans can also listen online to her program
Still active in sports, the 43 year-old is still as beautiful as ever and definitely looks like she is in game shape. Setting the foundation for future star quarterbacks such as Sami Grisafe and Jessica Springer, Marks crafted a remarkable sporting legacy that is still legendary today.
While there is no denying her beauty and winning smile, she is also helping to groom the next generation of hopefuls with a Sports Business class at New York University. Proving that there is life after athletic competition, Marks is still a game changer. Considered one of the greatest females to have played the game of football, her impact makes her a tremendous role for young women looking to grace the gridiron and the sports airwaves.