Many of the fans tuning in to watch the Cleveland Browns vs the Washington Football Team had no idea they were watching NFL history in the making.
Not only did the Browns 34-20 victory mark their first week above .500 in 90 weeks, but the game also created a first in NFL history. The September 27th match-up brought together a scenario where both the home and away teams had a woman on the sidelines in an official function as well as a female official on the field.
The Cleveland/Washington game was business as usual for NFL official, Sarah Thomas. Thomas, the league’s first full-time female official, began her career with the NFL in 2015.
On the visiting team’s sideline, Jennifer King was working as Washington’s full-year coaching intern. King has experience working with the Washington Football Team’s head coach, Ron Rivera. She interned with the Carolina Panther’s in 2018 and 2019 when Rivera was the head coach.
Across the field, Callie Brownson was busy in her role as the Chief of Staff for Cleveland Brown’s Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. Last season Brownson worked as a full-time coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills organization.
Even though it seems odd that the NFL needed 100 years to align the appearance of two female coaches and a female official, this could be a sign of things to come. Members of the broadcast team mentioned the impact these women can have on the girls at home, watching football with their dads.
The game impacted me on a personal level. From the time I could walk, I was one of those girls going to games and watching at home with my dad.
I’ve been ridiculed for my love of sports and had my knowledge dismissed. In 2016, I finally earned the chance to write about the sports I love, and I appreciate the opportunity every day. While I don’t compare myself to the coaches and officials at the Cleveland/Washington game, there is vindication seeing these women succeed at such a high level.
In a season (and a year) filled with variations and division, seeing positive changes helps push us out of the darkness 2020 heaped upon us and moves us towards a fair playing field for everyone.