In a year that brought many new things, The Daily Record decided to bring back something old by reinstating the Gridiron Jury.
Featuring familiar faces as well as some newcomers to the competition, the six-person jury was made up of local figures. Each week they’d pick local, college and professional football games. This year’s contest came down to the wire. Sharon Stevens, who won the last time The Gridiron Jury was played, came out on top, edging out Jay Hardison by just two games. Had Memphis held on to its 17-point first half lead against Central Florida, Stevens and Hardison would have tied. But the Knights came back in the second half, and Stevens reclaimed her title.
“I’m going to Disney World!” Stevens joked after receiving her trophy, a Lombardi trophy look-alike donated by Frazee’s Trophies.
Stevens led throughout the competition and said her success turned her into a local celebrity. She said people would constantly come up to her in church or on the street to talk about Gridiron Jury.
“It felt like, ‘I’m not in this for myself, I’m in it for everyone who wouldn’t usually be paying attention to this,’” Stevens said. “There were more people focusing on the paper every Friday and paying attention to the high school games, seeing how they did and who got the games right. Just for a woman to win something like this, it feels like I’ve won more than just for myself.”
With the interest it generated in 2018, readers can expect the Gridiron Jury to return in the fall in 2019.