New NFL game caller breaks new ground

Over a single weekend, Beth Mowins became a hero and a figurehead for young women and girls across the country. While she didn’t stand up to an oppressive government or complete some heroic act, Mowins did smash a particularly strong glass ceiling when she became the first woman to call a nationally-televised NFL game.

Mowins called the game for Monday Night Football alongside another new figure in the booth, former NFL head coach turned color commentator, Rex Ryan. It was a happy day for Rex, but a truly auspicious day for Mowins and countless young women who dream of following in her footsteps.

Breaking the Past

It’s been 30 years since a woman has called a televised NFL game, and the first-ever nationally broadcast opportunity for a female announcer. Sportscaster turned broadcaster, Gayle Sierens had called a Chiefs-Seahawks game back in 1987, but that was a regional outing.

Many of Mowins’ ESPN colleagues said they were “inspired” by her success. Cari Champion had kind words for both Mowins and Ryan: “Right off, I’m locked in on Beth and Rex. I think (they) will be a great team!”

Colleagues from other networks chimed in as well. HLN’s Melissa Knowles said, “Keep breaking barriers… You’re so awesome!” And CBS’s Tracy Wolfson said, “Listening to Beth Mowins, I can’t help but envision how many other girls are watching, saying, ‘That’s what I want to do’!”

Despite all the accolades and well-wishes, Mowins says she’s focused on her next televised outing, calling the play-by-play for the Browns v. Colts match on CBS. Even during the historic telecast, which was peppered with advertising congratulating Mowins, the sportscaster kept her focus on the game She never mentioned her accomplishment, clearly preferring to keep viewers focused on the action on the field.

The Results Are In – Success

That’s a great look for Mowins. Acting like you’ve been there is a popular refrain in football. It speaks of sportsmanship and professionalism. Make a great catch? Just hand the ball to the ref. Score a touchdown? High five some fans and get back to the sideline. Break a longstanding glass ceiling, just go out and call a phenomenal game.

That perspective, more than anything else, is going to help Mowins win over the fans that will help keep her career on its upward trajectory. Fans love the right combination of game callers. They want the right touch, the best mix of stats and human interest. The great ones build a brand on this, and, if she keeps this up, Mowins is well on her way.

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