For the longest time, women have been made to feel excluded from sports. Whether it’s as a fan, as a reporter or as a coach in the game. While women have certainly come a long way in this sports landscape that has been dominated by men for too long, it’s still a fight that women endure simply to be respected in sports. I’ve lived it.
Which is why this latest news out of the NFL has me absolutely beaming with pride and excitement. This Sunday’s NFL game featuring the Washington Football Team and Cleveland Browns will feature a female coach on both sidelines — Washington coaching intern Jennifer King and Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson — and a female official — Sarah Thomas — for the first time in NFL history.
Women are making history. Sorry, HERstory.
King, who was hired by Washington last February, was the first Black female to coach in the NFL. She got the opportunity after interning with the Carolina Panthers and new Washington head coach Ron Rivera. King works with the running backs in Washington.
Brownson was hired as the Browns’ chief of staff last January after interning with the Buffalo Bills as a coach and the New York Giants as a scout. She was also the first woman hired as a full-time NCAA Division I coach, where she served as quality control coach at Dartmouth in 2018.
Thomas become the NFL’s first full-time official back in 2015, and it wasn’t the first time she was breaking boundaries. Thomas was also the first female official in a major college football game, a bowl game and in a Ben Ten stadium. She was also the first female to officiate in an NFL playoff game. She currently serves as an NFL down and line judge.
Given the state of comments below this post and others like it, it’s clear that there’s still plenty of progress to be made. But having two female coaches and female official in a regular season NFL game, it’s truly something extraordinary.
And this should only be the beginning.