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Broncos’ MNF opener to feature first female play-by-play for nationally televised game

The Afternoon Drive discusses women broadcasters calling the play-by-play.

NFL: Preseason-St. Louis Rams at Oakland Raiders Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

When the Broncos open the 2017 season hosting the L.A. Chargers on Monday Night Football Sept. 11, a milestone will be recorded - and it won’t have anything to do with what happens on the field (though record-setting touchdowns would be just fine).

It will be in the broadcast booth.

ESPN’s Beth Mowins will be the first female broadcaster to call a nationally televised NFL game.

Mowins, who is the first woman to perform play-by-play for regular season NFL games since 1987 when Gayle Sierens called a regional game on NBC, will be joined by former N.Y. Jets coach Rex Ryan.

Mowins has been doing play-by-play since 1994, regularly calling college football games as well as basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. She also previously did regular play-by-play for Oakland Raiders preseason games.

A senior vice president at ESPN noted that Mowins has been an important voice in college football coverage as well as NFL preseason games. The move to regular season and nationally televised coverage is a testament to Mowins’ ability.

“ESPN is committed to putting talented women in high-profile positions, and we look forward to Beth and Rex’s call of this game on MNF opening night,” said Stephanie Druley.

Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro discussed the idea of having female broadcasters calling an NFL game.

“As long as she gets the play call right, who gives a damn?” Shapiro said about having a woman do the color commentary. “Get it right, don’t have an annoying voice and get the play call right. That’s it.”

Goodman highlighted Doris Burke’s talent as a play-by-play basketball announcer, and Shapiro pointed to Susie Waldman, who calls Yankees games on the radio.

The Afternoon Drive hosts reiterated that male or female, the main criteria for being a good announcer should be understanding the game, not looks or star status.

“What rubs me the wrong way is when I see a barbie doll standing on the sidelines who clearly doesn’t know anything about football interviewing coaches at halftime and they clearly don’t understand the game,” Goodman added.

I agree with him there, but Goodman devolves into a stupid rant about how women and minorities often get jobs in television sports because of being a minority that detracts from the better discussion about women calling play-by-play for a game they haven’t played.

My “not-so-hot hot take” on women calling play-by-play:

Welcome to 2017. Sure there are nuances where a commentator having been a former player adds some unique insight, but football is not rocket science (sorry!) and anyone who can read, study film, learn the game and speak articulately, can call it. So I’m looking forward to listening to Mowins on Sept. 11.


What do you think of Beth Mowins calling the Broncos-Chargers game on MNF?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Love it!
    (87 votes)
  • 43%
    If she’s good at it, awesome!
    (336 votes)
  • 14%
    I’m old-fashioned, more Howard Cosell-types please.
    (111 votes)
  • 30%
    As long as I don’t have to listen to Phil Simms...
    (238 votes)
772 votes total Vote Now