The NFL is a league that has seen more growth and openness over the years that has become more accepting the growing social norms. There is still much room for improvement, but the league has made some steps towards following what’s best for the game to grow. That has seen the involvement of women in the sport in more prominent roles. That has put San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers as she is about to make NFL history in Super Bowl 54.
Who is Katie Sowers?
There are a couple of women in the NFL that have taken up roles as coaches in the league. Sowers is one of them as had an intriguing journey to the league.
Before she even got into coaching, she played professionally with the U.S. Women’s National American Football team. Sowers was a member of the squad that won the International Federation of American Football’s world championship that beat Canada 64-0.
She saw her playing career come to an abrupt end in 2016 due to a hip injury shortly after that Sowers received the opportunity to be an intern for the Atlanta Falcons, which is where she began to build a bond with Kyle Shanahan.
Once Shanahan received the opportunity to be the head coach of the 49ers, he brought her over initially as the seasonal offensive assistant for the first two years. Sowers has moved here way up to being the offensive assistant coach this season. The opportunity with San Francisco has led her to set NFL history in her brief time in the league.
Katie Sowers setting NFL history
With so few women being involved in the NFL as coaches, it has made Sowers one of the tone setters, opening the door to more opportunities ahead.
The 49ers’ success this season as seen them reach the Super Bowl for the first time in six years, while it has made her the first female coach to be in that game. On top of that, she is also the first openly gay coach that received this honor.
Sowers has helped break the mold for the stigma that has come around women’s involvement in the game of football, which is something that she completely embraces, according to Teresa M. Walker of The Denver Post.
“I feel like a broken record, but what I want to continue to say is that even though I’m the first, the most important thing is I’m not the last and we continue to grow it,” Sowers said.
She is set to make history and potentially much more down the line given her quick trajectory in the coaching ranks in the NFL.
Katie Sowers is helping break the mold
Beyond just setting NFL history, it has brought attention to the stigmas that have been around male-dominated sports that women can contribute at the same level if not better. The coaching world has been one way that it has begun to see more opportunities to arise over the last several years.
It has already seen the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become the first team to have two female coaches, with Maral Javadifar as assistant strength and conditioning coach and Lori Locust as assistant defensive line coach. Meanwhile, Kathryn Smith, a special teams quality control coach for the Buffalo Bills in the 2016 season, was the first woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the league.
There may still be a bit of uneasiness to this progressive change, but it’s one that is starting to alter the narrative. These few women in the league are proving that it’s a profession where it’s beginning to be based more on knowledge and coaching ability than anything else.