The first time a woman did the play-by-play call for an NFL game was December 27th, 1987. It was the Seattle Seahawks versus the Kansas City Chiefs during the last week of the regular season. Gayle Sierens did the call for NBC, receiving positive reviews and shortly after was offered six games the following season. But the local NBC station she worked for did not want her to miss work to call games and she had to decline. No other women has called a game since.
Word is that now, 30 years later, ESPN is going to have Beth Mowins called the second half of a Monday Night double-header on September 11th. It will be a Los Angeles Chargers versus Denver Broncos game and she will be joined in the booth by the networks new color-commentator and former NFL head coach Rex Ryan. The two worked together in April calling the Florida State spring game. Mowins regularly calls college football games and does the Oakland Raiders preseason games.
Vittorio De Bartolo, the executive producer of broadcasting for the Oakland Raiders had this to say about Mowins:
Beth Mowins has excelled as play by play announcer for the Raiders’ preseason football, demonstrating unmatched professionalism, work ethic and passion for her craft,. I am more than confident Beth can call an NFL game for a national audience. Her resume and body of work speaks for itself in addition to the seamless transition she made from the college game to the NFL game.
And NBC Sports announcer Mike Tirico told SI Media Podcast last January:
Beth will show up and do a game and do as good a job as any of the men. She is a ceiling-breaker, a pioneer and there will be more women [calling the NFL] going forward.
ESPN is the only network regularly giving women broadcasters a chance to call men’s professional sports, having women already calling NBA games and college football. And I applaud the network for leading the way. But the fact that it’s taken 30 years for another woman to get the chance to call a game is horribly wrong.