Women Take the Mic in Sportscasting


Progressively women have been entering the sports broadcasting business. Not long ago, Beth Mowins made history by becoming the first woman in over 30 years to do play-by-play for the National Football League (NFL). On Monday, she announced the nationally-broadcasted game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos game, with the help of former Jets head coach Rex Ryan as her analyst. The last time a female called a professional game was in 1987, when Gayle Sierens did play-by-play for the Seattle Seahawks-Kansas City Chiefs game. However, Mowins was the first woman to do a nationally televised NFL game.

Some may think that the move to put Mowins in this position was a stunt. However, she has a different view. In an interview, Mowins stated that she just wants to gain respect from her colleagues.

Lyra Tan, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20, does not think that the NFL is pulling a stunt. “They picked her for her talent and what she’s capable of doing in play-by-play, regardless of her gender. If it is a stunt, that will just get a lot of backlash,” Tan said.

Rachel Meyer, FCLC ’20, said, “I would like to say it is not a stunt and they are trying to include women more in sports culture. But if it is a stunt, I think that is very wrong and inappropriate. They are exploiting women in order to save their reputation. I hope it is genuine.”

Lauren Russell, FCLC ’21, also believes that it isn’t a stunt. “Yes, ratings have been down,” she admitted, “but that’s partly because of the election last year and some of these new ridiculous on the field rules, like no good celebrations in the end zone.”
Many people would look down on the NFL if they announced or even implied that this was a publicity stunt, which is not what they are looking for. She showed that she was the most qualified and talented person needed for that Monday night game.

Mowins has long been announcing games. She has mainly done women’s college games, but has plenty of experience with football. She called the majority of the Big 10 games last year. She made history as the second woman to call a televised college game, and she has also called the preseason games for the Oakland Raiders for the past two seasons, so there can be no questions about her talent.

Sports broadcasting has traditionally been a male-dominated field, Meyer stated, “I think that this helps to further disprove that idea, and it could possibly pull a larger audience. If girls see a woman calling an NFL game, they could be empowered to get involved and it could have a very positive impact on the demographic or viewers.”

Tan agreed. “Women always provide a different perspective on anything, so of course having a woman in sports in beneficial. Perhaps because females aren’t typically seen as fans or working in the football industry, there seems to be a connotation that women aren’t typically into football.” However, times are changing, especially with the popularity of fantasy leagues. Fantasy leagues are bringing more and more women into the game and interested in sports.

Russell added, “Women have broken through in the sports industry. Thirty years ago was a totally different story. People like watching women on the sidelines, in the booth or in the studio.”

Mowins is not the only woman to break barriers in the sports industry and break these stereotypes as of late. Becky Hammon made history in 2014 when she became the first woman to be an assistant head coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the San Antonio Spurs. Where she not only took on the role of head coach during a summer league game, but is widely seen as having a keen coaching eye and will soon be a full-time head coach. In 1992, Manon Rheaume became the first woman to sign a National Hockey League (NHL) contract. The general manager later admitted that it was mostly a publicity stunt, but said Rheaume had the talent to make it. Jen Welter became the NFL’s first coach when the Arizona Cardinals hired her as an assistant coaching intern to assist the linebackers. Even though it was only for the summer of 2015, it made great strides. In 2015, Sarah Thomas became the first full time woman coaching official. In 2015 Justine Siegal was hired as a guest instructor for the Oakland Athletics to become the first female coach in Major League Baseball history.In 2016, Jessica Mendoza began working as a color analyst for ESPN.