The American Sportscaster, Samantha Ponder, is famously known for hosting ESPN programs “Sunday NFL Countdown”, and “College GameDay.”
Age, Early Life, and Education Background
Born Samantha Sainte-Claire Steele under the Sagittarius zodiac sign on 11 December 1985, in Phoenix, Arizona, Ponder is 37 years old as of 2022. She was born to a close-knit Christian household – her parents, Jerry and Cindi Steele, were the founders of the charity organization M.A.D. Ministries, Inc., which provides spiritual guidance to youth, and supports education by offering college sponsorships and athletic training. Her dad also worked as a basketball and football coach. She was raised together with her three siblings, an elder sister named Jaime Steele and younger brothers Barron and Jerrod Jefferson, AKA JJ. She has revealed that her father was the one who sparked her interest in sportscasting, when she was in third grade.
Ponder went to Central High School in Phoenix, then joined New York’s King’s College, then Liberty University, graduating in 2009. Samantha began applying for a hosting job at the cable firm ESPN during her college days, which saw her making many connections that came in handy in the future. During this time, she landed an internship at ESPN Zone with the help of the late ABC Sports Radio reporter and college football researcher, Benjamin Keeperman.
The famed sports broadcaster serves as a board member of her parent’s charity organization. She’s also donated to many charities, such as Joyful Heart Foundation.
Samantha gained experience working as an intern at ESPN Zone, and was later promoted to the position of Assistant Researcher at ABC TV. She thereafter left the job to serve as a basketball and football sideline reporter for Liberty Flames, after she signed a deal with the senior sports producer, Bruce Carey. However, her journey at Liberty Flames ended shortly after she graduated.
Ponder was taken on as a sideline reporter for FOX College Sports and FOX Sports Net in 2009, and was tasked with hosting several prestigious events, such as Big 12 and Pac-10 conference games. The sportscaster landed her first big interview when she hosted the former basketball player and Hall of Fame inductee, Dennis Rodman.
In 2011, she relocated to Austin, Texas, and made a comeback at ESPN, reporting under Longhorn Network as a college football on-site host, working with her two fellow recruits Lowell Galindo and Kevin Dunn during her days there. In 2012, Ponder replaced the then ESPN “College GameDay” pre-game show host, Erin Andrews, who had resigned after securing a job with Fox Sports.
Samantha became a regular sideline host of the “Thursday Night College Football” show, and collaborated with Rece Davis, David Pollack and Jesse Palmer. She became the subject of controversy in 2017, after a rumor began spreading that she would serve as Chris Berman’s replacement in “NFL Countdown” – some people believed that she wasn’t well-versed in the basics of football since she’d never played the sport, and also said that she was inappropriate to host a sports-themed show.
Samantha is married to the world-renowned American football quarterback, Christian Andrew Poder, who formerly played for the team Minnesota Vikings for almost a decade. The duo met in 2012, and began sending each other texts on Twitter. They soon fell in love, and exchanged vows on 17 December that year in Hudson, Wisconsin, after a brief courtship. Two years later in July, the couple sired a daughter, Bowden ‘Scout’ Sainte-Claire, and they later welcomed a boy they named Robinson True in mid-2017. Their last-born, daughter Price Ann-Drew, was born in 2018, who had emergency surgery for an unrevealed reason shortly after she was born.
Samantha is a staunch Christian – in 2014, Dan Katz, the host of the podcast “Pardon My Take” on Barstool Sports, allegedly criticized her faith in a tweet when he called her a ‘Bible-thumping freak.’ This happened after she posted a tweet about the 2014 Ray Rice assault scandal. However, Dave denied insulting her and implied that the Barstool Sports president, Dave Portnoy, was responsible. Samantha then referenced a segment of Barstool show, in which Dave made sexist statements about her claiming that she spends a lot of time speaking about her children and religion when reporting, including calling her daughter, Bowden, a ‘Rat Kid.’ His opinion generated a lot of outrage from Samantha’s fans at the time.
Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance
Samantha is of Caucasian ethnicity, and has long blonde hair and a set of blue eyes. She weighs approximately 1525bs (56kgs) and is 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall, with vital statistics of 35-25-36; she wears shoe and dress sizes 8 (US) and 6 (US) respectively.
Samantha has accumulated modest wealth of approximately $5 million – working with ESPN. She has endorsed several brands such as Tropicana Juices, Do Good Denim, and Maple Phoenix, among others, which has increased her wealth. She is reported to earn a salary of around $250,000 and has a net worth of approximately $12.5 million as of 2022. Previously, the Ponders sold their house, which is situated in Phoenix, Arizona, for around $3.9 million.
Who is Samantha’s Better Half, Christian Ponder?
Christian Ponder is a native of Dallas, Texas, and was born on 25 February 1988, making him 34 years old as of 2022. His father was also a successful football player during his college days. He studied at Colleyville Heritage High, located in Texas. In 2006, he began playing for Florida State Seminoles, which plays American Football for Florida State University and was ranked as one of their finest offensive players.
Christian was taken on by Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft – the footballer earned victory for his team for the first time when he played against Carolina Panthers in late 2011, with a pass rating of 102.6, and threw for 235 yards. He left the Vikings and signed with the Oaklands Raiders in 2015, but then signed with the Denver Broncos in late 2015, Ponder generated interest from Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles, but 2016 saw him signing a contract with the team San Francisco 49ers. His contract was not renewed after the team’s General Manager, Trent Baalke, got fired.
Christian is active on Instagram with around 31,000 followers, and also has a Twitter account that is followed by over 100,000 fans. He is 6ft 2ins (1.88m) tall and weighs around 230lbs (104kgs). He is of white ethnicity and has brown hair and eyes.