Beth Mowins Broke Up CBS’ All-Boys NFL Broadcast Party

The inclusion of women in high profile positions in the coverage of NFL football games has been a slow process. As the NFL TODAY marks its 50th year, on September 24, Beth Mowins will become the first female play-by-play announcer for the NFL on CBS in its 58-year history when she calls the Cleveland BrownsIndianapolis Colts matchup with Jay Feely.

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Beth Mowins will become first woman to call NFL play-by-play for CBS

When Mowins, who also has a deal with ESPN to cover some games, steps to the mic she will become only the second female play-by-play announcer in NFL regular season history, and the first since Gayle Sierens did so in 1987 for NBC Sports. 

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@bethmowins and Rex Ryan getting a photo in the booth. They will be part of tonight’s #MNF telecast. #NYGvsCLE

Mowins sharpened her teeth on womens college sports and entered into the all-male world of broadcasting football when she became only the second woman to call nationally televised college football games for ESPN in 2005.

Now that shes broadcasting with the big boys, she says she has very little time to concentrate on the fact that shes indeed a woman thats breaking some serious ground in an ever-evolving and diversifying broadcast journalism spectrum. 

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Beth Mowins will be the first woman to call an NFL game in 30 years. Here’s how she’s preparing

Just to be a part of the NFL and CBS is an exciting opportunity,” Mowins told The Shadow League at CBS’ NFL Media Day on Wednesday. “And while I understand and appreciate the significance of the moment as a woman, my focus is more on the play-by-play side of things and trying to do the same job with the same preparation that Ive always done to get ready for a game. I understand that its different for a lot of people, but Im looking to make it the same as it has always been for me throughout my life.

There has been a short list of women who have managed to defy the odds, venture into unchartered waters, endure the inhibitive nature of the ole boys network, forge alliances with solid men and women and eventually distinguish themselves as true assets to the NFL family. 

Now it’s Mowins turn to bust down another barrier and equal out a lopsided playing field. I asked Mowins what talents or childhood influences facilitated her rise above all others to this moment. 

I was just a kid with a dream that any boy or girl could have,” said Mowins as we sat at a dining table in CBS’ Studio 19. “The dream, it was different…Man, it was out there. There aren’t many opportunities for anyone to be a play-by-play announcer at this level but thats what I wanted and fortunately I had parents that encouraged me and three brothers that would kick me in the butt and show me no mercy and have been a great support system throughout the course of my career.

Mowins also gave props to the men who didn’t feel threatened by her presence. 

“I will always give credit to some amazing male mentors I’ve had along the way because when I first got started back in 1991 (as news and sports director for WXHC-FM Radio in Homer, New York), there werent a lot of women in this industry. And I credit the growing sisterhood of women that are now a part of The NFL ON CBS that I’ve had the chance to grow up with over the years.” 

“I’ve always said that you don’t need a million guys to give you the seal of approval,” Mowins tells TSL. “You only need the one or two that are making the decisions to say that you are the best person for the job regardless of gender. I give CBS a lot of credit. Look at somebody like Tracy Wolfson who has reached the top of her profession.” 

Wolfson and Mowins owe their opportunities to the elite, brave and exclusive club of women who are diversifying and bringing their own flavor to CBS NFL broadcast culture. Thirty years ago, CBS Sports Cathy Barreto became the first woman to direct an NFL game at the network television level when she directed the Minnesota vs. Detroit game. Amy Trask, another pioneer in the sports industry, continues to serve as an analyst on CBS Sports Networks pregame show.

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Thank you @icecube @JeffKwatinetz for the privilege of working with you and @MoneyMase in @thebig3 – to quote Cube: today was a good day.

 Suzanne Smith, who has worked for CBS Sports since 1983, is currently the only woman who directs NFL games on network television. 

When I did some work at CBS 15 years ago… doing some basketball, Mowins recalls, Suzanne was in the (production) truck and that was phenomenal to watch her in that role and know that there are a lot of opportunities here if you put yourself in a position to get one.

Now Mowins, once just a little girl from Syracuse, NY who loved to play sports, is ready to make her adult mark on the world as she embarks on her pro football play-by-play career already having established herself as a worthy pioneer. 

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