Yesterday, one of the few remaining NFL games of the season took place as the San Fransisco 49ers faced the Minnesota Vikings in one of four Divisional Round Games this weekend.
The 49ers had an overwhelming victory on the Vikings as they took the game 27-10. But, from our point of view, the score was just part of the story. We were more interested in this:
Katie Sowers and Sarah Thomas, both in their roles as coach and official respectively at the same game. These two women have been trailblazers for women and girls around the Globe making their mark on the National Football League – one of the most male dominated sports in the World.
Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate an NFL game back in 2015 as her big game debut was a match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans in September of 2015. This marked an historical moment in American Football history.
Sarah, who was raised in Pascagoula, Mississippi, said there wasn’t much sexism to overcome when she joined the league. Sure, the NFL had to figure out what uniform she would wear since they’d only made them for male officials. And Sarah has to keep her hair covered with a hat and moderate the amount of makeup she wears. But when it comes to her role at the NFL, she’s never felt any resistance.
Katie Sowers joined the 49ers in 2017 becoming their first female offensive assistant coach and only the second full time female coach in the leagues history. (First was Kathryn Smith of the Buffalo Bills). Katie began her career in Football playing in the Women’s Football Alliance and upon retirement joined the NFL in 2016 as an intern coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
The 2019 season has seen the 49ers take the league by storm with a 13-3 record reaching the Divisional rounds and beating the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in an overwhelming victory. They now head into the Conference Championships.
Throughout the season, Katie’s role as coach has gained more and more traction, having appeared in a growing number of media outlets, magazines, websites and more.
Katie even appeared in the latest Microsoft advert promoting the Surface Pro 7 which is used across the NFL by all it’s coaches:
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has nothing but praise for Katie and says she is an integral part of the winning 49ers team: “She been tremendous. Katie was here before I was, but just what she does with the receivers, all the skill positions guys, how she interacts with them. It’s special. She’s feisty man. Katie is awesome out there. She’ll get after guys … It’s fun to be around.”
Could we see a female assistant coach part of a Superbowl winning team for the first time in History?
Watch this space!