This summer, the Arizona Cardinals hired the first female intern coach in NFL history. Jen Welter, 37, is actually quite familiar with the game. She played for the professional indoor men’s football league, with the Texas Revolution, and was the first female to actually play in a non-kicking position. Welter played 14 seasons of professional football, including a season as running back and a member of special teams for the Revolution. Welter, then assisted with inside linebackers, under coaches Bob Sanders and Larry Foote. Coaching is not a full time job for her. Her internship could be ending fairly soon, but knowing this, she may have great opportunities open up for her.
Why is this issue so controversial to some though? Well, since the beginning, professional athletics have been male dominant, especially football. The majority of coaches at least played professional football in the NFL, and say that since she hasn’t played in the NFL, she doesn’t need to lead men at all. But if you look at it all, Vince Lombardi, Bill Belichick and Joe Gibbs never played in the NFL either. So what makes it right for them and not her? If she pursues the NFL for a full time position, I believe a lot of people, especially the fans of the Cardinals, will have to adjust to her actually being there and leading a lot of the team. If you love a change in history and don’t have a specification on who helps your team win, it shouldn’t be an issue. But if the defense fails, specifically linebackers, who will they look to blame if not the veteran coaches? It’s all political in the world of sports, especially with a female coaching male athletes, who have been in the league for over a decade.
In my opinion, I believe this is a great change. It allows women to escape from their comfort zone and show the mind-set they have. I do not have a problem with it and I’m not even a Cardinal’s fan. If you have the experience and psychological mid-set for the sport, go for it. Bruce Arians, head coach of the Cardinals, took the chance. Is it possible for other coaches to step up and take the chance as well, or are they afraid of making a mistake? Jen Welter is sending a huge message to the sports world. She takes pride in being named the first female coach, saying, “There is a first time for everything.” She has indeed lived up to that. She seemed to take care of business as she told reporters she was only here to assist in anything she can. She strictly wants business done on her part and wants to prove a point. That is nothing short of inspirational to women all over the country. That isn’t all for women in the sports industry. Sarah Thomas, 41, received a call from NFL Vice President of officiating, Dean Blandino, to help officiate in the NFL. This is a big change in history as well. She is the very first female official to set foot on the turf in the NFL. Thomas never played football, but she had brothers that did. She played softball and basketball, which earned her a scholarship to the University or Mobile. Thomas graduated in 1995 with a degree in communications.
Thomas started out officiating elementary games, and moved her way up the ranks to High School. She also officiated in college, and was the first woman to officiate a major college football game. You can tell she has some great experience. She keeps it very professional and strictly business no matter how upset coaches get.
These two women have made such a huge impact on so many lives this year.