At 10:15 p.m. eastern on Monday night, Beth Mowins will go live on ESPN and accomplish something 30 years in the making.

Mowins is set to be the first woman since Gayle Sierens in 1987 to call television play-by-play for an NFL game when she calls the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos with Rex Ryan as part of the network’s Monday Night Football doubleheader. She’ll also be making history on CBS on September 24, when she calls the Indianapolis Colts-Cleveland Browns game with Jay Feely, becoming the first woman to do play-by-play for an NFL game on CBS in the history of that network.

Mowins spoke with Awful Announcing about her upcoming debuts, and how she’s earned this position based on her accomplishments as a broadcaster over the last 20 years, not just because she’s different than what people are accustomed to seeing in an NFL broadcast booth.

“I think I’ve worked hard over the years, and [like] anybody in this business, you want to put yourself in a position to be successful and you want to put yourself in a position to be up for opportunities when they come along,” Mowins told Awful Announcing at CBS’s recent NFL media day. “Over the course of the 20 years that I’ve been in this industry, I’ve been proud of the work I’ve been able to do with all the crews I’ve been on over the years and I hope that will continue.” 

Mowins stressed that preparation is so key to being successful as a broadcaster, helping her merit a promotion to the NFL that seems like a long time coming. Mowins and Ryan did a practice game together between the Giants and Browns in Cleveland last month, which helped her not only prepare for Monday’s Chargers-Broncos game with Ryan but also help prepare her game boards when she calls the Browns on CBS in week three.

Mowins said that CBS approached her agents early in the spring and said they were interested in having her call games for the network this season.

“It’s an amazing property and an amazing thing to be able to work on,” she said. 

ESPN signed off on her working games at CBS, and Mowins will call between two and four games with Feely as the analyst, according to an NFL on CBS spokesperson.

“The hope is that you approach these games like you do any other game you would work,” Mowins said, “and you’re well prepared and you’re ready to have fun and you’re informative about the games.”

Mowins’ normal fall job is calling college football games on Saturdays for ESPN, which she did on Aug. 31 when she did the play-by-play for Kent State and defending national champion Clemson alongside Anthony Becht. But she did not call a game this past Saturday as she prepares for her NFL debut, and it’s doubtful that she’ll be calling college games on Saturdays during the same weeks that she’s scheduled to call the NFL.

Coincidentally, Becht, Mowins’ regular broadcast partner for ESPN’s college football coverage, was teammates, roommates and workout buddies with Feely when they were with the Arizona Cardinals. Becht and Feely broke into television at about the same time, and have spoken a lot over the years about Mowins’ broadcasting acumen.

Becht told Feely that “she’s incredibly prepared and she’s fun to hang with, and she’s as good as anybody who does that job.”

As it happens during the first few times a woman makes a broadcasting debut in a new or prominent sports property, Mowins is going to face criticism, derision and scrutiny on social media just because she isn’t a man.

Though Mowins said she enjoys having meaningful and substantive conversations on Twitter, “I have no time for negative people and negative attitudes,” she said.

For some, on social media and otherwise, having a woman calling an NFL game brings uncertainty and change.

“Not everybody is comfortable with change,” Mowins said. “So I’m hoping I can go out and if they’ll give me an opportunity that first game with an open mind, hopefully after that first game they won’t care at all.”

I’ve never cared what people think about me, and I think Beth has the same feeling,” Feely told Awful Announcing. “She’s gonna go out there, she’s gonna do her job the best that she could do it.”

The chairman of CBS Sports, Sean McManus, said that hiring Mowins for the NFL was an easy decision.

“Beth was hired not because she was a woman,” McManus said at CBS’s media day. “Beth was hired because she’s a terrific play-by-play personality and is really going to be a great addition to our team.”

Tracy Wolfson, CBS’s lead sideline reporter for its NFL and college basketball coverage, said that she’s enjoyed watching Mowins call college games and Oakland Raiders preseason games, which Mowins has called for the last couple of seasons.

“She’s one of the best play-by-play personalities in the game,” Wolfson told Awful Announcing. “It takes a really long time to get to a certain level. I think she’s there now, and CBS recognizes that.”

Wolfson said she admires Mowins’ determination to get to this point and that she looks forward to learning from her.

“As a father of three girls who tells his girls all the time that ‘if you have a dream, go after it, don’t let anything stand in your way,’ I think it’s special to be up in the booth [with Mowins] and be a living example for them,” Feely said. He said Mowins will be an example for his kids that you can accomplish your goals based off of your merit, regardless of gender.

Mowins will take her 20 years of game-calling experience to a new and much larger television audience on Monday on ESPN and then to CBS later this month. She’ll be achieving milestones on both those days, but she ultimately hopes that these games, regardless of who calls them, will one day be treated just like any other.

Photo via ESPN

About Shlomo Sprung

Shlomo Sprung is a writer and columnist for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He's also a baseball contributor for Sporting News and the web editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in NYC. A 2011 graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, he has previously worked for the New York Knicks, Business Insider and other publications. You should follow him on Twitter.

  • BobLee Says

    I PREDICT… her addition to the NFL Game production will have no effect whatsoever on the ever-growing list of “cans” that The NFL continues to “kick down the road”. BUT her addition will be portrayed as a BFD by both those who support her and those that don’t. Making BFDs out of molehills is a modern American tradition…

    • HawaiiRules

      I watched and listened, and just thought she sucked.

  • jeff179120

    There’s a simple solution to this problem. I just won’t watch. I’ve had enough of this politically-correct garbage. Pretty soon, if it’s not here already, it will be impossible for any white English-speaking male to find a job anywhere….even in sports for crying out loud. But as many people might say “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” And that’s exactly what I plan to do. Have you seen Jessica Mendoza trying to do just the color commentary on a baseball game? That should be enough to convince anyone that giving people opportunities solely because of their sex is a bad idea.

  • Duarte_Road

    She’ll be average. But because she’s a she, AA will proclaim a new ultimate sunshine has cleansed the football landscape of those bad males wanting males calling man-played football. It’s all good. Mute button.

  • Todd Holmes

    I don’t care that she’s female. I care that she sucks.

  • Steve Willmar

    Unwatchable! Worst commentary to date. I had to turn it off. Her voice is simply annoying!

  • Ragnar

    The mics are horrible!!! The announcers sound like they are phoning in there comments!!!! Different having a woman’s voice of mnf, but the sound quality makes it a horrible experience

  • Malone LeVay

    Between Beth (who is prepped and competent, but her voice is awful and that northern Midwest twang is grating) and that Sergio Dipp guy, it’s like Affirmative Action out there…

    “Who else that has no business on a national broadcast can we trot out there?”

  • Kurt Allen

    Beth is 4th string MNF announcer. Feels like watching high school football game. Bring John Grudin back

  • Harold May

    She is terrible! If she were a he, she would still be terrible!

    • HawaiiRules

      If she were a he, they’d never let her near a microphone.

  • Harold May

    It’s tough watching football without sound but it beats the alternative.

  • HawaiiRules

    She is the worst announcer I’ve ever heard.

  • HawaiiRules

    Affirmative Action above all. We’ll know we’ve made progress when we have our fair share of sight impaired surgeons.

  • Mike

    Even small town radio stations broadcasting local high school football wouldn’t be desperate enough to use her for a play by play announcer. She’s what’s known as a ‘puker’, that is, someone who over-emphasizes voice inflections, rather then use a natural, non-forced type delivery.

    • MetaphysicalMan

      Hmm. Never heard that term, but what you said about over-inflecting describes the NFL Red Zone guy perfectly. That’s a good description of why I can’t listen to that guy.

  • Felon Degeneres

    I couldnt watch the this game past the 3rd qtr, my wife and i hated her voice so much that even on mute we still thought we were hearing it.
    she calls a football game like a Midwestern triple A minor league team P.A announcer thats doing a Bob Ueker impression.
    i never want to hear this woman again.

  • DeLane McCurry

    What better group to interview Mowins than Awful Announcing! Its not that she’s female, people! Its that she’s awful!!!!

  • newsknine

    On another subject, what about the truly awful job the NFL’s new Game Pass contractor DAZN delivered to Canadian fans last weekend? The league is already running for cover, and it will get worse from here. If the league foisted stuff like this on its main U.S. audience, its ratings would really crater. How about an item, AA?

  • nbtx27

    She was bad, Rex was terrible, and Sergio Dipp, well, give him a second chance. Absolutely embarassing broadcast team last night.

  • XENU4ALL

    How’s her feet look? Rex

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  • Ted Striker

    The whole broadcast was terrible. The audio was bad, the announcers bad, and the general feel was amateurish.

    Glad I could put on the Westwood 1 AM broadcast and turn the sound down on the TV.

  • babebig00

    Didnt see the very beginning..The group i was with could not believe ESPN would have such a horrible announcer..annoying as hell’…’in the beginning we just knew it was a weird voice from an “idont know what”then realized it was a women…trying to have deeper voice hard to understand..No MAS when she;’s on.

  • David Starr

    Beth’s voice is like nails on a chalk board. Will not watch/listen to any game, she announces. She has great knowledge etc..but her voice is terrible, annoying!!