To open the 2017 season, ESPN went for some history, bringing in the first female call a Monday Night Football game from the booth. She is veteran announcer Beth Mowins.
Most NFL fans may not know who she is, but most Raiders fans should know her. She has called the team’s preseason games the past two seasons. She can regularly be seen at Raiders training camp, usually sporting Raiders gear.
Joining the Raiders’ broadcast team was a mini barrier for Mowins, who had been with ESPN for 20 years calling Women’s College Basketball and had called Men’s College Football for over a decade. The preseason work with the Raiders was her shot at calling professional football.
But that was preseason. For the Raiders and, as it turns out, for Mowins as well.
Now she will call a nationally televised regular season game, becoming just the second woman to ever do so and first since Gayle Sierens in 1987.
Mowins will be the first to tamp down discussion of history. She’d prefer the focus be where it belongs, telling the Denver Post “You document the game, you inform and entertain, but it’s not about you; it’s about the game. That’s what I’ve always tried to do.”
“I understand the moment and I understand the significance,” Mowins added. “But, honestly, it’s been my day-to-day life. I think a lot of women in this industry that I’ve worked with and have sort of gotten jobs that women haven’t had before — Jessica Mendoza, Doris Burke — it’s all we’ve known and it’s all we’ve ever known. So it’s not out of the ordinary for me and I don’t worry a whole lot about the big-picture stuff. Maybe down the road, that might be important to me. But I think it’s important to show young kids, whether you’re a boy or a girl or anybody, if you know what you want to do and chase it, it’s out there if you work hard enough for it.”
Mowins’s perspective has long been shared by former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, who told Sports Illustrated recently:
It is significant that Beth will be the play-by-play announcer for an NFL regular season game. What will more significant is when the hiring and promotion of qualified individuals without regard to gender, race, religion, ethnicity or other individualities which have no bearing whatsoever on whether someone is qualified to do a job is no longer significant. Might Beth encounter some gender-based resistance from others? Of course. What do I believe she should do if she does? Her job. And that is precisely what I believe Beth will do. She is terrific at her job and I wish her all the very best for continued success. I can't wait to hear her call this game.
Monday Night Football opening night is scheduled for September 11 with the Chargers at Denver kicking off at 7:20 pm Pacific (10:20 ET).