Can females coach in professional football? Is it working now? Will it expand or will it turn into a temporary fad overcome with opposition bent on keeping NFL football an all men’s platform? Yes, there are and hopefully will be more women coaches in the NFL, but initial praise goes out to Kathryn Smith, Jen Welter, and Collette Smith. Kathryn Smith stepped into the NFL by joining the Buffalo Bills as a special teams coach. Jen Welter was invited into the Arizona Cardinals organization as an assistant linebackers coach. And Collette Smith was recently hired with the New York Jets as a defensive backs assistant coach. Big time kudos go out to Kathryn Smith and Jen Welter that have already silenced critics by showing the football world that they were able to take on the challenges that come with being an NFL coach.
Cliche jargon would want to turn this into a conversation about the female struggle and feminism movements, but any former or current football players know the difficulties that these female coaches face in just gaining respect as football instructors. Imagine trying to gain other coaches’ respect let alone a bunch of protein filled testosterone packed athletes who want to only take directions from those who have field experience. That said the fact that these women have been esteemed and have actually gained more cheers than jeers from the players they coach speaks volumes about the skill level they possess with coaching.
While football is a game that is usually won by the team with the strongest and best athletes, detailed game plans are what the consistent champions rely upon. Bill Belichick and the late Bill Walsh are the greatest examples of coaches who relied upon great game plans and putting their players in the best position to be successful. Not to compare the previously mentioned female coaches to Belichick and Walsh in terms of building dynasties, but the comparison can be made in terms of being meticulous detail oriented teachers. Whether or not women pay more attention to detail than men as a whole is something to debate on another day. However, adding in the fact that any female coach entering the NFL has to undoubtedly work three times as hard to gain the approval of players, coaches, and even fans, there needs to be a resume with plenty of strong points on it. In this case teaching a player effective tactics that helps them find success would outshine the yelling and screaming methods that plenty of coaches employ to cloak their inexperience or own discomforts.
There are and will be a plethora of opinions on this topic for months, years maybe generations to come. As for now the state of the game is still at best brutal, exciting, and a common ground where men of different backgrounds gather. At worst it is a club for men hesitant to hire female coaches. These men will continue to perform extra cross checks for any woman that desires to be in a position that will affect a team. One thing is for certain, take a close look at the players reaction to the first wave of women coaches and one can plainly see that these ladies brought plenty of strengths and few weaknesses to the game. Love it or hate it but in the end…it is what it is.