For first time in 30 years, a woman will call an NFL game
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The only woman ever to call network play-by-play in the NFL was Gayle Sierens. She worked one game, a forgotten regional telecast at the end of the 1987 season.
That will change this fall, when Beth Mowins heads into the booth to call a “Monday Night Football” game on ESPN.
She told CNNMoney that it’s the realization of a longtime dream.
“I know Gayle Sierens. She’s a friend of mine,” Mowins said. “I remember watching that game and reading about that when I was young and thinking, well, maybe that’s something that would be attainable some day in the future for me.”
Mowins will get a distinction of her own — the first woman to call a nationally televised NFL game. She will describe the action when the Los Angeles Chargers play the Denver Broncos on Sept. 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET.
ESPN airs two Monday night games in the first week of the season. Its regular team of Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden will call the early game on Sept. 11 and is expected to call the other Monday games.
Mowins isn’t new to play-by-play. She was hired by ESPN in 1994 and has been calling college football and women’s college sports for years. She said she’s honored to be part of “Monday Night Football,” which she said is “perhaps the most iconic brand in all of television.”
The game in September will thrust Mowins into a spotlight that is not always friendly to women. Women who call play-by-play in other sports have encountered vitriol online. ESPN’s own Jessica Mendoza faced resistance when she became an analyst for “Sunday Night Baseball.”
Mowins said she’ll be focused on her job.
“I understand it’s out there and you run into it from time to time, but my focus has always been on I want to do a respectable job,” she said. “What I’ve always tried to do is: Gender is in the backseat, and having the skill of a play-by-play announcer to sort of drive the bus, that’s front and center.”
Mowins’ partner in the booth will be former NFL coach Rex Ryan.
“Rex and I actually have an awful lot in common,” Mowins said. “We’ve both grown up around sports our whole lives. I feel like we have that base of familiarity with where we’ve come from.”
Mowins and Ryan have already worked together: They recently called a spring exhibition football game at Florida State.