Image Credit: Getty Images
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) August 21, 2019
Loyd, who has the seventh-most international goals scored (113) in history among women’s association football players, says she’s been getting inquiries from NFL teams since the video hit cyberspace.
A month before Christmas and she still has visions of game-winning NFL field goals dancing in her head.
The two-time World Cup champion visited The Rich Eisen Show on Wednesday and said she “absolutely” wants to try to become an NFL kicker after the 2020 Olympics:
"This isn't just a publicity stunt…I know that I can do it."
USWNT star Carli Lloyd tells @RichEisenShow she received two offers from NFL teams during the preseason and that she'd fully commit to kicking in the league after the 2020 Summer Olympics 👀 pic.twitter.com/4eyWWMPljA
— Bleacher Report Live (@brlive) November 20, 2019
A simple act of elite athleticism transformed into a launching point for a conversation that is often scoffed at and not taken seriously.
When will the NFL sign its first female player?
To date, only one woman has ever attempted to join the NFL: Lauren Silberman, who received a tryout to a scouting combine in 2013. Silberman had never played the game before and failed miserably in her tryout, leading observers to assume the tryout was a publicity stunt.
While Silberman’s athleticism didn’t match her ambition and purpose, it did bring attention to woman desiring to play football like Toni Harris, who made history in February 2019, becoming the first female skill-position football player to sign a letter of intent.
Harris, a 5-foot-7, 164-pound safety from Detroit, accepted a scholarship to Central Methodist University in Missouri, which participates in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The 37-year-old Lloyd says she thinks it’s “insane” that her kicking video went viral, but seeing her effortlessly smash a field goal of that distance crushed the idea that women couldn’t be NFL kickers.
“I’m laughing about it, but the more I think about it, this has the chance to be sort of a pioneering moment for women,” the U.S. women’s soccer star told NBCSports.com, adding that “I know that I could probably do it.”
If she does sign with an NFL team it won’t be until after her soccer obligations are filled through 2020, but still just in time for NFL season. The US soccer team will resume activity in January for Olympic qualifying for the Tokyo Games, which begin July 24.
Kicking is not a high contact position and as long as she’s accurate, quick and has the leg — which she does – then the idea of Lloyd kicking field goals in NFL games isn’t too far fetched for these five reasons.
SHE DOES THIS
HISTORY SAYS IT’S POSSIBLE
We’ve seen numerous instances of soccer players transforming into kickers through NFL history. It’s a common transition
The craft is difficult and many NFL kickers are hit and miss on field goals of long distances. While kicking overall in the NFL has gotten better over the years, the pressure of kicking field goals and the steps involved in getting the ball to the kicker in the perfect spot, plus weather conditions still create problems for the best kickers.
Lloyd is probably a better athlete than 90 percent of the kickers out there and she’s thrived in the most high-pressure situations, in front of larger stadiums than the ones they have in the NFL. In addition, Lloyd’s won two FIFA World Player of the Year, World Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medals. She has ice in her veins already. It makes sense.
BOOSTING THE NFL BRAND
Carli Lloyd is already an international superstar, so her brand would be enhancing any NFL team she joined. She has a combined 2 million followers on Twitter and IG and she is recognized as one of the premier female athletes on the globe.
She’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which is always a plus and she’s one of the leading faces of the US Women’s National team’s equal pay for equal play movement. Back in 2016, Lloyd was part of a civil rights complaint filed by members of the US Women’s National squad, striking back at the pay disparity with their lesser-decorated men’s team counterparts. Her presence alone would attract an entirely new demographic of fans to the NFL.
Ratings would surely go up for any team that signed her, especially if she actually did well. The sky is the limit from a marketing perspective.
CULTURAL IMPACT FOR WOMEN
The cultural impact of Lloyd becoming an NFL kicker would be enormous. The media attention coverage would thrust her into the forefront of NFL coverage and create enthusiasm among young women with aspirations of playing football. The NFL is considered a league that doesn’t have such a great relationship with women and this could change everything. If the League gets behind her, it would be a great political maneuver.
Imagine Lloyd kicking the winning field goal in the Super Bowl? It would turn the NFL from one of the most chauvinistic leagues to a popular viewing destination for young girls who want to catch a glimpse of the superhero, world-class soccer star now kicking field goals for a men’s NFL squad.
Lloyd’s leg work is nothing to sneeze at. We need to keep an eye on the situation as it develops because if she did get the opportunity to pick for an NFL team, she surely owes it to the women’s empowerment movement in sports to give it a go. It would be a powerful statement of the strength, talent, and determination of women athletes.
Yes, they exist all over the country, but football culture has been very exclusionary of girls and women overall. Lloyd’s presence as an NFL kicker would certainly change views and inspire young girls and open up another option for them in sports.