Congratulations to the NFL’s First Female Coach, Jen Welter!
As I sit in the living room of a player (and his wife) who was a famous part of my draft history, a story comes across the TV screen about The Arizona Cardinals hiring an assistant LB coach as an intern for the summer. I didn’t know why that was newsworthy until the next sentence the sports anchor said, “and it’s a woman”! Mark Gastineau (former NY Jet) and I were in shock!
Who was she, her background, and how did this all happen?
Jen Welter has an amazing background, from rugby, to playing women’s football for Team USA and then being the first woman to play in a men’s professional football game for the Texas Revolution in a non kicker position. She then coached LB and special teams in 2014 for the Revolution. They talk about her degrees in psychology, but I’m so impressed with her actually playing the game to really gain respect as a Coach at a high level.
Bruce Arians has always been an “outside the box”, go for the long ball thinker and he’s done it again. Bruce took a opportunity in Indianapolis that was tough when Coach Pagano got sick,rallied the team but always made it about Coach Pagano. He then got his chance to be an NFL Head Coach and immediately showed his own style. It doesn’t surprise that he’s the one to give Jen her opportunity to start her dream. This job for Jen is for the summer and what happens after that will be so exciting to watch. Will she stay on in some capacity, or start at the college level and work her way up? Only time will tell.
It really hit me because 40 years ago the New York Jets had 2 men, GM Al Ward and Director of Player Personnel Mike Holovak that gave me an opportunity to first actually choose a draft pick in 1975 and then also go out on a limb and name me the first female Scout in the NFL. They were so far ahead of their time as there are still no female scouts in the NFL.
All I want to say is, I’m rooting for you Jen Welter!