ESPN’s Beth Mowins Will Be First Woman To Call NFL Games Since 1987
This fall, ESPN’s Beth Mowins will become the first woman in 30 years to take on play-calling duties for NFL games.
ESPN’s Beth Mowins to Call Monday Night Opener For 2017 NFL Season
The network announced Tuesday that it has tapped the 49-year-old announcer to call the 2017 season-opening Monday night game between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field on Sept. 11 alongside former NFL coach Rex Ryan. The game will air at 10:15 pm EST.
The previous woman to announce the play-by-play for a nationally televised NFL game was NBC’s Gayle Sierens in 1987. Mowins said she is close with Sierens, who announced a Seattle Seahawks-Kansas City Chiefs matchup that aired regionally.
“I know Gayle Sierens. She’s a friend of mine,” Mowins said. “I remember watching that game and reading about that when I was young and thinking, well, maybe that’s something that would be attainable some day in the future for me.”
Mowins also said she is looking forward to working with Ryan, with whom she recently called a spring exhibition football game at Florida State.
“Rex and I actually have an awful lot in common,” Mowins said. “We’ve both grown up around sports our whole lives. I feel like we have that base of familiarity with where we’ve come from.”
Ryan, a former New York Jets coach, joined ESPN after being fired as head coach of the Buffalo Bills last year. He will be part of the network’s Sunday NFL Countdown this season and also contribute to SportsCenter, ESPN Radio and other platforms on the network.
“This is an amazing opportunity and I look forward to working with Rex and our entire ESPN team,” Mowins said in a press release. “As lifelong fans of the NFL Monday Night Football franchise, we want to bring the same passion to the broadcast as our predecessors have all done.”
Mowins has worked for ESPN since 1994, and has called college football for the network since 2005. She has also contributed play-by-play duties for locally aired preseason Oakland Raiders games, and called NCAA championships in basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball.
ESPN Senior Vice President Stephanie Druley stated Mowins “deserves this opportunity.”
The network airs two Monday night games during the first week of the season. ESPN’s regular team of Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden will call the earlier of the two Monday night games on Sept. 11 – a matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints — and is expected to call other Monday night contests.
Mowins — who said “Monday Night Football” is “perhaps the most iconic brand in all of television” — also stated she will not let the caustic treatment of women in sports broadcasting distract her from her new job.
“I understand it’s out there and you run into it from time to time, but my focus has always been on I want to do a respectable job,” she said. “What I’ve always tried to do is: Gender is in the backseat, and having the skill of a play-by-play announcer to sort of drive the bus, that’s front and center.”
ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza, for example, was mistreated when she became a commentator for “Sunday Night Baseball.”
Caption: Photo of Beth Mowins taken at the 2011 Women’s basketball Coaches Association Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.