Allyson Hamlin: The Ultimate Winner

By Neal Rozendaal

This profile was written in 2013.

Football is a team sport, and every single player is important. Yet maybe no player on the field has as much impact on the game as the quarterback. Because of this, it’s a well-known fact that, fairly or unfairly, the greatest quarterbacks are ultimately judged by how many games their teams win.

By that measure, D.C. Divas quarterback Allyson Hamlin (#19) might be the greatest player in the history of women’s tackle football. It’s an opinion held by many, an opinion bolstered by this fact: Hamlin has won more games as a starting quarterback than any other in the history of the sport.

Hamlin graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park, where she was the catcher for the Terrapin softball team. After college, a fellow softball player first exposed Ally to gridiron competition by convincing her to play flag football. Many of those flag football players were also playing for the D.C. Divas.

Hamlin was skeptical at first about women playing tackle football, but she was convinced to try out for the team after seeing the Divas play. As a rookie in 2002, she was the team’s backup quarterback for most of the year, but she earned her first start and win that season. In her second season, Hamlin won the starting quarterback job for the Divas and hasn’t looked back. With the exception of taking the 2010 season off, Hamlin has started every Divas game except three for over a decade. She has not only started, but she has performed at an elite level – Allyson has been named to the All-American team every season she has played since becoming the team’s starting quarterback in 2003.

After 11 seasons of football, Allyson Hamlin’s overall record as a starting quarterback is 75-19. Her 75 victories are the most for any quarterback in the history of the women’s sport, well surpassing the presumed second place quarterback on the list, Kim Grodus. Grodus, who quarterbacked the Detroit Demolition during a terrific run from 2002-2007, compiled 56 wins; ironically, she lost the last game of her career in 2007 to the Divas, with Hamlin at quarterback. Ally’s 75 wins include eleven from the 2006 season, when she helped lead the team to an undefeated record and an NWFA national championship.

Hamlin’s personal statistics are remarkable because she is often pulled out of games when the Divas secure a big lead. As a result, her best statistical games are usually against the toughest opponents. Allyson set the team record for passing yards with 369 in a close win at Pittsburgh in 2004; that same game, Nikki Williams – now a member of the Divas’ coaching staff – set the franchise record for receiving yards in a game with 190. Hamlin set the team record for most completions in a game with 26 in a losing effort last year at home against Boston, a contest that was not decided until the game’s final play. Current Divas wide receiver Ashley Whisonant (#12) set a new Divas record that game with 18 receptions.

Despite all the accolades, records, and victories, Allyson Hamlin maintains she is still learning the game with every practice. “You can’t apply your athletic ability until you understand the sport,” Hamlin said. As far as being the all-time wins leader among quarterbacks, she humbly replied, “I am only as good as the people who surround me. I have been fortunate to have had great players and people beside me for ten years. It is a testament to the entire organization.”

Like all Divas, Allyson Hamlin faces the daily challenge of balancing her football career with a full-time job. During the day, Ally is a homicide detective in the Prince George’s County Police Department. Despite her taxing day job, she continues to pour her heart and soul into women’s football. “Being a Diva means Pride, Love, Class, and Dominance,” Hamlin said. “More importantly, it means you are a part of something bigger than yourself and are helping pave the way for many young women down the road.”