Beth Mowins will become the first women in the booth for a regular season NFL game since 1987, SI’s Richard Deitsch reports. She will call the Chargers-Broncos late Monday Night Football game on ESPN September 11th, an intriguing matchup that will mark the finale of the NFL’s opening weekend. Joining Mowins will be new ESPN analyst, Rex Ryan. This pairing is a massive departure from the days of Chris Berman and Steve Young, Berman and Trent Dilfer or even Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Mike Ditka, all of whom were universally panned in this role.
The announcement is hardly a gimmick. It’s the next step in a natural progression.
Mowins is one of the longest tenured announcers at ESPN, joining the network in 1994. She has called virtually every sport, including college football and the NFL – she was the play-by-play announcer for Raiders preseason games in 2015.
Of course the downside to the report is that Mowins will have to unfairly deal with a boatload of scrutiny between now and the aftermath of the game solely because of her gender. The responses to Deitsch’s announcement on Twitter alone illustrate the inherently vile misogyny of NFL culture. The realization that large chucks of MNF viewers have decided Mowins isn’t for them, or worse, are preparing to comb through everything from her pitch to pronunciations is disheartening.
Mowins is a consummate professional and will certainly have plenty of support, especially since she is inherently primed to elevate the late MNF broadcast. That she happens to be a woman makes it all the more inspiring, and will hopefully motivate other NFL networks and teams to hire qualified women for x’s and o’s positions.