Omi

What were you doing before coming to Chicago and working for the Bears?

I was a host and producer for “Patriots Today” and a correspondent for “Patriots All Access”, a show on Boston’s CBS affiliate. With “Inside the Bears” on Fox Chicago and sideline reporting at Soldier Field I’m now a part of something new and exciting that the Bears organization created this season to help give fans more insight on their favorite team. I hope I can do just that.

What initially sparked your interest in sports?

I think it was because I’m really close with my dad. He was an athlete and played college basketball. People think I have brothers or something [and that that’s where I get it from] but I’m an only child.

Did you always gravitate towards football?

Football is my number one but I also love hockey from growing up with the Steelers and Penguins. I know the Pirates were good this past season but they’ve had 20 losing seasons so growing up I didn’t love baseball as much, it was hard to get into it.

How are you liking your new city so far?

I love Chicago. I’ve always wanted to live here. I would definitely say it feels like home, it’s very similar to Pittsburgh. Both my grandpa and dad worked in the steel mills so it’s that blue-collar tough town. People are so nice, I’ve gotten a lot of support from Bears fans.

So what happens when the Bears play the Steelers?

So many people have been texting me and asking me about that! My family likes that I’m working for an NFC team now because with my previous job the Patriots and Steelers competed a lot in the AFC championship games. Unless the Bears meet the Steelers in the Super Bowl it’s not as much of an issue so that makes it a little bit easier. I went to the Super Bowl with the Patriots and it was amazing. It was up there as one of the best two weeks of my life so I would love to see the Bears go to the Super Bowl.

Who would you like to see the Bears play in the Super Bowl?

Easy. Jacksonville Jaguars for obvious reasons.

Is not liking sports a deal breaker when it comes to dating?

Any person I’m going to be in a relationship with has to like sports. If I’m not working I like watching football and going to bars for sporting events.

Biggest pet peeve when you are out watching a game somewhere?

Probably when fans cheer louder when something goes wrong for the opposing team than when their own team scores or makes a great play.

One thing you can’t enjoy a football game without?

Nacho Cheese Doritos, Hoegaarden, NFL RedZone and a laptop or phone to keep an eye on my fantasy football match-ups.

Who is on your fantasy team?

I have Cam Newton, Doug Martin, Ryan Mathews, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, DeSean Jackson and Jordan Cameron. Not too strong on the running back front but I’d like to think my wide receivers and tight end make up for it. I’m 6-2 to start the season, so things are shaping up nicely so far.

What has it been like to be the new reporter in such a big sports town?

There are a lot of female reporters in Chicago but I haven’t met too many of them. I met Dionne Miller who works for Fox, she’s from Ohio. Jen Lada from CSN Chicago is really nice. She introduced herself to me the first preseason game. A lot of the reporters I haven’t met yet because they are focused on doing their job. In the locker room it’s crazy. Everyone is huddled in the middle and as soon as you get the feeling that a player is going to talk everyone rushes over.

Hardest part of navigating the locker room?

The most challenging part is getting your question in before the player is done talking. A lot of times 10 people start talking at once so as soon as one person is done talking you have to go for it and you can’t hesitate.

Has it been a challenge being a female in the sports reporting world?

There is definitely pressure. I think if I were to slip up and say something wrong people would say, “Oh, she doesn’t know anything about sports,” but if a male commentator did it and accidentally slipped up it would be different. It is tricky in a guy’s world.

Favorite Chicago athletes?

All-time would have to be Michael Jordan. I grew up watching him and had #23 and #45 posters in my room. I’ll never forget him crying on the locker room floor on Father’s Day in 1996 when he won the first championship after his father’s death. There are just too many great MJ moments to count.

Most memorable sporting event?

It would definitely have to be rushing the court with hundreds of other Kent State students and fans at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland after the Golden Flashes beat the Toledo Rockets in the 2006 MAC men’s basketball championship game. College basketball and the NCAA tournament are almost right up there with the NFL for me. It was the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever been part of as a fan.  

Three things you can’t live without?

Off of the top of my head it would be family, friends and sports. If somehow my iPhone, Twitter, and some good music could be thrown in I’d be set.

If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?

George Halas. He founded the Bears and helped create the NFL. When I first started here the way they explained it was that the Bears organization is a family business. Within the first couple of days George McCaskey came into my office. He gave me a letter welcoming me to the team and sat down. I was sitting behind my desk and I said to him, “I feel like I shouldn’t be the one behind the desk,” and he’s like, “That’s not how it works here.” They are all about everybody working together, it’s incredible.

KIRSTEN MICCOLI PHOTOGRAPHY

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Omi