ESPN will break a 30-year long absence of female NFL commentators this season when Beth Mowins becomes the first woman since 1987 to do play-by-play commentary of an NFL game, sources told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated.
Mowins will team up with former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan in the booth for the second game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader in Week 1 on Sept. 11, an AFC West matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers.
It won’t be the duo’s first game together, as Mowins and Ryan called the Florida State spring game together last April.
Gayle Sierens was the last woman to call an NFL regular-season game, an NBC Sports broadcast of a clash between the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs. Sierens’ debut was a success, with the network offering her six more games the following season, but her local NBC station was against her calling more games as to not interfere with her full-time role.
NBC Sports announcer Mike Tirico predicted in January on the SI Media Podcast that Mowins would get a shot in an NFL booth, heaping praise on her for breaking down gender barriers in sports.
“Beth will show up and do a game and do as good a job as any of the men,” Tirico said. “She is a ceiling-breaker, a pioneer, and there will be more women (calling the NFL) going forward.”
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