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Passion for the Game: Fran Drescher

Actress Fran Drescher is a cancer survivor and the driving force behind Cancer Schmancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving early detection of all women's cancers. Drescher is also an avid football fan -- so she was the perfect choice to star in a series of PSAs for Breast Cancer Awareness Month that will air on in-stadium video boards at NFL games throughout October. Drescher took some time to chat with about her passion for the game of football.

NFL.COM: So how did a girl from Flushing, N.Y., growing up down the road from where the Jets played, become a New England Patriots fan?

DRESCHER: I didn't really follow the NFL as a girl. I got involved in football around the time when the $10 million man, Drew Bledsoe, got hurt and Tom Brady took over for the New England Patriots. Brady was very young, and it was right around 9/11. It was almost Shakespearean in its drama about how the starter was on the sideline and this young guy unbelievably brings the team to such glory.

It was really very emotional. I was certain somebody was going to make a movie about it. It was so rooted in human drama -- sort of like "All About Eve." What was going to happen with the veteran starting quarterback? What was going to happen with the young guy?

Then I remember when they got to that first Super Bowl, and they came out onto the field as a team. Chills ran up and down my spine! And I thought, "This is the greatest sport known to man. It's the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all wrapped into one."

And then they won! And it was right after 9/11. I sat home with my boyfriend -- I could cry right now thinking about this -- it was like the whole nation was rooting for the Patriots. They represented America -- even in name. We needed them to win that year because we were so wounded and so mournful. To have the Patriots win… it just took on a symbolism that was bigger than the actual game itself. When they won, I don't think there was a person in America that wasn't thrilled. And that's when I became a football fan.

NFL.COM: And you've stuck with the Patriots since then?

DRESCHER: My boyfriend at the time was from Massachusetts and he was always a Patriots fan. We got to know the Krafts and started following the team. Because of my celebrity and my enthusiasm, and ability to get in touch with people, I was able to connect with the Krafts. And suddenly we're hanging out in the owner's box, we're traveling with the team. We saw the team play in maybe half a dozen different states around the country that following season.

NFL.COM: Have you ever been to the Super Bowl?

DRESCHER: Yes, I've been to a few Super Bowls -- in San Diego twice and one in Miami. The Super Bowl is really exciting. The parties are always fun. The whole thing is a big party. I love watching the set-up and dismantling of the stage for halftime. It's so fascinating. And if you're in a box you can watch the commercials on TV, too!

NFL.COM: If you played in the NFL, what position would you play?

DRESCHER: I'd probably play quarterback. They're like the star, and the organizer. They call the plays and think on their feet. Kind of like the executive branch of the team. So that would be my position… Or, another position I could play would be lying under Tom Brady!

NFL.COM: Since you were the star of The Nanny, we have to ask… If you were going to be hired as a nanny for an NFL player, who would you want it to be?

DRESCHER: It would have to be a player who is single, because I don't date married men. So I guess Tom Brady is out, unfortunately.

NFL.COM: Actually, Brady is still single.

DRESCHER: He is? Then I'll pick him!

NFL.COM: So you're no longer with the boyfriend from Massachusetts. Does that mean your allegiance to the Patriots can be swayed?

DRESCHER: I'm open to be recruited, depending on who I happen to be with. But as I'm not in love at the moment, I'm kind of a floater. But I love spectator sports, and I love football. It's so much fun! And it's a great excuse to hang out with the boys!

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