ESPN’s Beth Mowins will make some history this fall as the first woman to call a regular-season NFL game since Gayle Sierens called one in 1987. Mowins will be working with Rex Ryan on the second game of the season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader, featuring the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos. She recently spoke to Melissa Jacobs of TheFootballGirl.com, and said both Sierens and Phyllis George (who was on the initial version of CBS’ The NFL Today) are inspirations for her:
The NFL Today on CBS reigned king in those days with the sharp chemistry of Brent Musberger, Irv Cross and Jimmy the Greek, but it was the show’s reporter, Phyllis George. that provided Mowins’s ‘aha’ moment.
“There was a woman talking about football,” Mowins said. “That’s what I was drawn to. I like sports and like to talk so the two blended together perfectly.”
…The excitement and energy around Monday Night Football is something I had hoped for since I was little. I was always encouraged to aim high and see where it would take you so it’s always been on my radar. I’m just really appreciative of ESPN for his opportunity and to work with Rex, who like myself is competitive. We’re both excited about the opportunity and want to do well at it.
…I saw Gayle Sierens 30 years ago and knew that if there was a woman who could do it there might be an opportunity for me one day. My hope is to continue moving this forward and that after the game it’s not just little girls who are inspired, it’s all kids. Whether you want to be the best teacher in the world, the best parent in the world or a sportscaster. I’m just any kid out of Upstate New York who wanted to be a sportscaster and chased after it. I do understand the significance and excitement for a lot of women and hopefully that will be there on September 11th.
While Mowins calling the NFL is also only for one game at the moment, it is definitely making some history. There have been people wondering for a long while when a female announcer would again get a chance on a regular-season NFL broadcast (Mowins has previously called Oakland Raiders’ preseason games), with Andrea Kremer (who was also once considered for this kind of role) bringing it up at the 2016 Shirley Povich Symposium at the University of Maryland, and ESPN’s John Skipper saying “I think we’ll get there.” Well, now they have, continuing the strides ESPN is making on giving female broadcasters top opportunities.
There have already been plenty bashing the idea of a woman calling football, though, and that’s going to continue. Mowins told Jacobs she isn’t too worried about Twitter criticism, though, and that she got some good advice on that front from former MNF play-by-play voice and current NBC announcer Mike Tirico:
I think we all want people to like us regardless of what our job is but I understood very early that with a job in the public eye and being on television you’re not going to please everybody. I got great advice from Tirico when Twitter and social media were on the rise, and that was to not engage in it. It’s hard not to see it sometimes but I try to embrace the philosophy of not having time for negative people. Life is too short and my glass is half full. That’s the way I’m going to approach this and not worry about any negative repercussions. It’s the positive people who are getting things done in life and that’s who I want to spend my time with.
There’s a lot more in Jacobs’ interview, including Mowins’ thoughts on how she and Ryan would cover any wider league issues that come up, her thoughts on how preparation for a NFL game will be different, and her thoughts on where she wants her career to go. It’s worth a read, and is an interesting look at how Mowins feels about this and how she’s preparing for it.