Women in NFL lead as referees, coaches, agents

While no one’s path to the NFL is easy, being a woman poses an additional challenge. These women are breaking the mold.
7:10 | 04/30/21

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Transcript for Women in NFL lead as referees, coaches, agents
It's pro day at Oklahoma state univ NFL dreams are on display. The last chance for these NFL hopefuls to show off their skills before the draft, a moment that could be life-changing. In this nearly $16 billion industry men dominate on and off the field. But on this day one woman is taking the lead, NFL agent Kelly watching from the sideline as her client NFL prospect completes his drills. He is one of the most exciting and prolific wide receiver S in this draft class I'm excited about his future. Overall things are pretty good. He's going to make an incredible transition to the NFL. Kelly is one of a growing number of female power players in the league, there's 400 licensed agents in the NFL, just 34 are women. This never crossed my mind that women didn't become sports agents and when I was first confronted by that by a male agent who told me why women didn't belong in the industry I thought it was the craziest thing I ever heard. 15 years later she's represented dozens of clients with her own agency. In the early years only two or three women represented NFL players I felt like I spent a lot of time defending myself, trying to explain why I woman could do this. And the male agent who told her off. I've now become friends guys that agent and we've co-represented players together in the years since then, he gets a little grief for that now. Last year was a banner year for women in football in super bowl LV as they helped to coach Tom Brady and the Tampa bay buccaneers to victory. We didn't win the super bowl just because we're here, it's a collective team, a collective approach, and every single person in the organization matters. While the referee Sarah Thomas officiated on the field, impressive first, years in the making. This is not a career you decide on a Thursday you want to be a coach in the NFL and next Tuesday you're on the field. When I started officiating the pea wee level on Saturday mornings andjv games and varsity games I fell in love with that. It's not easy but for women' it's an added challenge for uphill battle for this highly competitive arena. When I first got into officiating I had the largest learning curve, I never played the sport. Today only eight female coaches out of nearly 800 and this spring Maya was added to the roster for the 2020 season Thomas was the only female referee. Tampa's super bowl win comes after a concerted effort to seek 10u9 minority talent by Bruce arians who spoke about his initiatives in the 2019 NFL annual meeting. It's good, it's what weigh need, the gender is different who gives a , I mean, they're good coaches. Lori as assistant line coach and morrow as a assistant strength and conditioning coach. There's such a high and U. The most respect that we both have gotten from our players. It's not to diminish the fact we're women. Clearly we're women. But you assume a role of coach and that shouldn't have a label or a specific gender attached it to it. It's just who we are. For Lori, Sarah and Kelly shattering gridiron glass ceilings is a second act. My job before this was 25 years of insurance. You was in pharmaceutical sales for a long time. I practiced civil litigation. Organized women's football team came to Harrisburg, I was at a point in my life with two kids and a full-time job and I decided why not, why not give it a try. So we'd be in this one church basketball league and I got kicked out because I was a female. When I asked my brother, like, what are you doing tonight he said going to a football officials meeting I said can girls do that, he said I guess so, sis, be there at 6:00 don't be late. And morrow known as mjbegan her coaching career early after playing college basketball. I tore my acl. It was a devastating injury for that was the time I realized I always wanted to be on the sidelines and give other athletes the same opportunity I had at getting back to their game, getting back to their sport. Turning a road block into a building block M J landed a job in 2019 with the buccaneers. Prior to accepting the job from Tampa I received an offer with another sports organization and it didn't fit right. I didn't have another option after I turned it down, to me, I think I made one of the best, hardest decisions of my life. That decision paid off ten-fold on February 7th this year at the super bowl. It was a historic moment. If we bumped into each other it was just because I was doing my duties and they were doing their duties and I believe loo and I bump fist but I doesn't see mjuntil after the game. It speaks volumes to their caliber as coaches, not as female coaches but they're doing a job. I think Sarah looked over during the game and said hello, but I was so locked I may have ignored her by accident until later. The buccaneers have the most diverse staff in the NFL, a formula that's clearly been proven to work. This is a production-based business. If you don't win you're not in. I don't think you can just throw people at a problem or throw people on a staff and expect them to have the chemistry like we have here. It was like 13 years for me before I got to this point of coaching. I think sometimes the media glamourizes the end result so much it's like somebody waved a magic wand and all of a sudden there's women coaches, it does a disservice to show people what it really takes to get to this The team's initiatives to get more women in the game is a long play, including foflterring growth beginning as early as high school. The Bucs foundation have committed 250,000 to a girl's football scholarship. Flag football in Florida is huge. It's a varsity sport. For this group of women true progress will mean their milestones become the last. I look forward to the day that it isn't news worthy. I was 40 years old when I pivoted into this career. So it's never too late to give something you truly believe in, that you truly have a passion for a chance. I think we'll have a female commissioner some day. To me it won't be a surprise. I'm ready for the day that girls don't have to ask, can girl dozen that -- girls do that? They know it's already been done not the first to happen. Up next, meet the voice

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