If you are an avid fantasy football player or sports bettor, chances are you've heard of ESPN's Anita Marks. The veteran reporter and radio personality has been with the Worldwide Leader since 2016.
Currently, Marks appears frequently on Daily Wager, ESPN's original daily show focused on sports betting. She also hosts The Anita Marks Show and Weekend Wager on ESPN radio in New York.
Marks' career resume is an interesting one. She's worked in broadcasting for more than two decades, covering sports in Miami, Baltimore and New York. Marks also played professional football, serving as a quarterback in the Women's Professional Football League from 2000-05.
Get ready to learn more about Anita Marks than you ever expected. In the latest edition of our "21 Questions" feature, we spoke with her about how she's handling life during the COVID-19 shutdown, the young NFL quarterback she's a major fan of, her dogs, all things New York City and more.
Here we go…
1. I think the obvious first question for anybody right now is this: how are you handling the shutdown, particularly since there are no sports to discuss wagering on?
AM: Shelter in place has been difficult. I’m not the type of human who spends a lot of time at home, so this has been a huge change of pace for me. I’ve brushed up on my cooking skills, I’ve reconnected via Zoom with many friends and family, and my dogs couldn’t be more thrilled that I am home so much.
2. Growing up, you were an athlete, but how did you get into sports betting/fantasy sports specifically?
AM: My parents divorced when I was two years old, and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents. My grandfather, Nate Marks, gambled on the NFL, and when I was seven years old, he would have me call in his picks to his bookie. I had a huge yellow legal pad, a red dial phone, and felt like the most important person on the planet. I was educated about teasers and parlays at a young age and God bless him.
If only my grandfather could see me now…LOL.
3. As a golf fanatic, how are you handling not being able to hit the course right now?
AM: I’m fortunate that I host a golf radio show, "On The Tee" With Anita Marks. I’ve established great relationships with a number of golf courses in the tri-state area. The courses are closed, but I’ve been invited to walk the courses on my own if I get the itch. Once the weather gets warmer…I’m looking forward to getting out.
4. You played QB for several seasons in the Women's Professional Football League from 2000-05. Can you take us through the background of how you wound up playing in that league?
AM: I grew up playing Pop Warner football, and made my high school JV team. I attended the University of South Florida, and quarterbacked the women’s flag football team each year at the collegiate national championships in New Orleans during the Sugar Bowl. After college, the WPFL was created and once they established a team in Miami. I tried out, made the squad, and quarterbacked the Miami Fury for three seasons and then the Florida Stingrays for one.
5. As a former QB, what was your favorite route to throw and why?AM: Love the post corner route! Combination of the QB and WR selling the route to get open, and needing the accuracy to place the ball where it is indefensible.
6. What are your favorite restaurants in NYC and New Jersey?AM: That is a LONG list…where to begin?
NYC: La Coucou, Quality Eats, Manhatta, Crown Shy, KheYo, Prune, Eataly, Eleven Madison Park, Keens, Frenchette, Cosme. The list goes on and on…lol
NJ: In Hoboken…Dino & Harry's, Sushi Lounge..Bin 14…Augustinos
7. Excluding Miami, your native city, what is the best host city for a Super Bowl?AM: New Orleans, Atlanta. I'm looking forward to Las Vegas hosting, which I believe will be THE BEST!
8. How has your experience playing QB affected your analysis of the position?AM: Playing QB has helped out tremendously. The knowledge of play calling, reading defenses, and the overall game experience allows me to have a different perspective than most.
9. Even before last year's draft, you were an ardent supporter of Auburn's Jarrett Stidham. This year, you've talked him up as a legitimate potential Brady replacement in New England. What about him stood out to you?AM: I believe Stidham was an absolute steal in the fourth round. He is a leader, very competitive, great work ethic, good under pressure...besides the physical attributes of arm strength and accuracy.
10. You and three other people get to play a round of golf at any course in the world. What course are you playing and who are you playing with?
AM: Pebble Beach with Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan.
11. Your Twitter profile says you enjoy wine, what's your favorite kind and what have you been drinking lately?
AM: I’m on a French kick at the moment and drinking a lot of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cote du Rhone, and Viognier…yum!
12. What has it been like putting out Daily Wager episodes digitally as well as recording your ESPN Radio podcasts from home amid the shutdown?
AM: Very challenging...dealing with the technical issues on Zoom and finding a good rhythm and pace with all the talent.
As for the podcasts...I've been fortunate to have a number of great colleagues make time to join me and create good content.
I've stepped out of the sports box for a few podcast as well: to discuss Covid-19 with a physician, and our economic climate with an Equity Trader.
At the end of the day, I feel blessed to work, it's still fun and a great escape.
13. Within the sports media world, who would you say are people you lean on as sounding boards or for support?AM: So many, but Lesley Visser and Mike Tirico would be the top two on my list.
14. You covered the Giants during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011. What was that experience like?AM: One of the best years of my career. If you recall the Giants just made it into the post season as a wild card, made an unbelievable run in the post season, and beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. The day after, I rode on the float with the Giants defensive line (Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Mathias Kiwanuka) for the ride down The Canyon Of Heroes. Such an emotional day. I will never forget it.
15. Name your guilty pleasure movie, song and TV show.AM: Movie: "Love Actually” every Christmas Day
Song: Any and all Billie Holiday
TV Show: Probably none more addicting than Game Of Thrones.
16. You have had the chance to interview numerous athletes. Who are/were some of your favorites to speak with and why?AM: Barry Sanders was a huge highlight for me...because he is one of my favorite NFL players. Barry was so kind to send me an autographed jersey after our interview. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Muhammad Ali...for obvious reasons.
17. If you were not working in sports, what field do you think you'd be working in?AM: A professional golfer...I would hope!
18. You often post about your dogs. What kind of pups do you have and what are they like?
AM: I have five dogs…lol…I know! My oldest is 20 years old…a rat terrier named Billie (named after Billie Holiday). Mya, another rat terrier is 18, and then three chihuahuas--Sookie is 12, Satchmo is 5, and Frankie is 4.
They are my pack and I love them so very much.
They are so loving, so kind, so fun. I would be having a much more difficult time with shelter in place if it wasn’t for my pups.
19. What are your thoughts on the quarterbacks in this year's NFL Draft class?
AM: I like this years crop of QBs. I expect Joe Burrow to go to the Bengals at 1. I believe Justin Herbert is better than what most people think and could end up being better than Burrow. I expect Herbert to be the second QB selected.
Don’t be surprised if Jordan Love is drafted third, and Tua falls out of the top 10 due to his health issues. I wouldn’t be shocked if a team selects Jake Fromm at the bottom of the first round.
20. Would you rather live in a world where it's always 45 degrees or always 95 degrees?
AM: The story of my life. Growing up in Miami, FL and now living in the north east for the past 10 years, I'd have to say 95 degrees for my golf game!
21. When this shutdown ends, what is the first thing you will do and why?
AM: As soon as there is a vaccine…I’m going to fly down to Florida to hug, kiss, and love my family. If there is a silver lining in this horrible experience, I would hope we all appreciate our friends, family, and loved ones more. God bless!
You can read more of our interviews with sports media stars here.