A Woman Tackles The NFL…

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A woman scores in the NFL and it is not between the sheets.

Hallelujah…another crack in the glass ceiling.

Dr. Jen Welter was just hired as the first female coach in the NFL. The male animal kingdom finally has a lioness.

The Arizona Cardinals hired Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason to work with inside linebackers.

Before Gloria Steinem starts celebrating, Jen Welter will not be prowling the sidelines as a full-fledged defensive coordinator, but this is definitely progress.

Jen Welter  photo:nydailynews.com
Jen Welter photo:nydailynews.com

I have worked in sports for many years and females have traditionally been known for trival sideline blabber, sex scandals, domestic abuse and cheerleading so things are moving forward…don’t get me wrong.

I have always been sports obsessed. My first memories were age 4. By then I knew the entire NY Giants roster…name, number, college.

I was attending every Giants football game, doing color for the farm team of the NY Jets and by 16, editing books on Vince Lombardi and ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath for renown sportswriter and commentator, Dick Schaap…people thought my participation was interesting, but odd.

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My biggest disappointment in life is not being a big time sportscaster. I have either worked production, organized major sports special events or been a publicist to super star athletes, but I have disappointed myself by not being a big time network sportscaster. We all live with disappointment and regrets.

My trade-off is that I have an amazing daughter and husband, my mom is still going strong, I have had an exciting, rewarding career and haven’t pissed away all my money on designer accessories.

Anyway, Bruce Arians, the innovative and outspoken head coach of the Arizona Cardinals was asked when would the NFL have female coaches? Arians replied, “The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired.”

Coach Arians staff is an interesting mix of ages and personalities. He is a thinker and master manipulator.

Michael Strahan, the New York Giants defensive end Hall of Famer and half of the Live! with Kelly and Michael talk show team said yesterday that football players do not care who is providing the information as long as it makes them better players.

One unidentified NFL player put it succinctly, “I don’t care if she has breasts or a penis just as long as she can coach. That’s all that matters.”

Welter, 37, has been making history throughout her career. In February, she became the first female coach in a men’s professional football league when she was hired by the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League to coach linebackers and special teams.

Jen Welter  photo:rashard d images
Jen Welter photo:rashard d images

In February 2014, she became the first female to play a non-kicking position in a men’s professional football league when she played running back and performed on special teams for the Revolution.

I’m not sure I would have taken the job because Welter had to have a weigh in. A public declaration of my weight would be mortifying. Jen weighs in at 130 pounds and is 5-foot-2.

Truth be told, if I could have made the team as a tight end for the New York Giants, I would have gladly tipped the scales.

Welter played professional football for more than 14 years as a linebacker, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Football Alliance. She helped lead them to four championships.

Welter has a master’s degree in sports psychology and a Ph.D in psychology. She played rugby at Boston College.

Sarah Thomas  photo:eurosports.yahoo.com
Sarah Thomas photo:eurosports.yahoo.com

It’s the second such barrier to be broken in the NFL this year. The league announced in April that Sarah Thomas would be the first woman to be a full-time NFL official.

Prior to that, Amy Trask was the first female team executive in NFL history. She was appointed CEO of the Oakland Raiders in 1997.

This is progress in the male dominated, testosterone laden sports arena.

Slow and steady, but progress nonetheless.

Hopefully, my daughter will feel the positive effects of this long overdue recognition and in the NFL we will see women roaming the gridiron sidelines, coaching rather than exciting the fans with their short skirts and suggestive moves.

Let’s hear for the Girls…You Go!!

And remember, football isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that.

 

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