The Arizona Cardinals just entered the record books. They are the first NFL team to hire a female coach. This is a big deal, whether you’re a football fan or not. Welter was recently hired as a training intern coach for the Cardinal’s linebackers. She is believed to be the first female coach in the NFL.
Jen Welter was a college rugby player and had a 14 year career with the Women’s Football Alliance. Yes, that’s a thing. The Women’s Football Alliance is a full contact league, so yeah, it’s real football.
Bill Bidwill, the owner of the Cardinals, says that it’s another step toward diversity.
And she wasn’t hired just because she was a woman. Jen’s football résumé is long; she was the first female to play a nonkicking position in a men’s pro football league when she played running backs and special teams for the Revolution in 2014 and also is the proud owner of two gold medals for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2013. And if that’s not enough, Jen holds a master’s degree in sport psychology and a PhD in psychology as well. Bruce hopes this will open doors for other women to make an impact in an otherwise male-dominant field.
Not everyone agrees that the Cardinals are pillars of diversity. The NFL is notoriously bad for hiring women. The Cardinals are, according to Vocativ, only in the middle of the pack within the NFL. In 2013, the Cardinals had just one female Vice President.
It gets even worse for women in the NFL. While football players average $1.9 million a year (and people complain that it’s not enough), the cheerleaders make just $70 to $90 per game, or about $500 to $750 for the entire season.
Still, this is a big step in women’s equality. Coach Welter is highly qualified and I’m sure, ready to take on some NFL linebackers.
Featured image via Twitter.