COMMENTARY: Can women be head coaches of NFL teams?
By Jenny Ziegler, Miami Times
This [NFL] is a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl … (speaking in my James Brown voice).
Sure, we are on the sidelines as cheerleaders, owners, reporters and such, but there has never been a female head coach manning the sidelines in any male professional sport.
There’s always a first time for everything.
Well, hold that thought as we are not there yet.
Recently, Condoleezza Rice was trending on social media when it was reported by NFL insider, Adam Schefter that the Cleveland Browns were considering the former secretary of state for its most recent head coaching vacancy.
Rice, though hailed as being intelligent, a great leader and a woman of great character, is an unrealistic candidate for the head coaching gig with the Browns, yet she has brought the discussion of coaching opportunities for women in male professional sports to the forefront.
Condi, as she is affectionately called, is also an adamant Cleveland Browns fan.
“I love my Browns,” she said.
Her love for the team stems from times when her and her father watched games together and cheered on Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown.
But a love of the game does not make a head football coach.
She acknowledged that she doesn’t possess the experience needed to take on such a role and had this to say on Facebook:
“I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and then head coaches.”
Rice went on to say, “One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players, but experience counts – and it’s time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.”
Though Rice never played the game because she is a female, she knows a little somethin’, somethin’.
For three years, she was a part of the College Football Playoff selection committee responsible for determining the top college football teams in the country; ultimately deciding what four teams would compete in the playoff.
How’s that for “women don’t know jack about football?”
The former secretary of state is wise enough to know that though she is not ready to be a coach in the NFL, there are women who can do the job with the proper training and opportunities.
She has expressed an interest in the role of NFL commissioner. If she can broker peace deals in the Middle East, ceasefires and deal with terrorists and drug lords on behalf of our country — then why not?
She ended her post by saying, “BTW- I’m not ready to coach, but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas!”
At 4-6-1, the Browns could perhaps use a few plays this season as opposed to waiting until next season. I’m just saying.
The league however is making strides, as there are few teams that have opened their doors and are affording women the type of on-the-job-training required to be able to take that next step toward coaching in the NFL.
The Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and the New York Jets all have hired females in some form of football operational capacity (offensive assistant, special team’s coach, strength and conditioning coach, and assistant coach). Kudos to all of them!
Rice is advocating for more training opportunities for women to get the locker-room credential that will enable them to climb that proverbial NFL coaching ladder.
Given the right opportunities, the sky is the limit: general manager, commission or even president.
The only thing that is standing in the way of a woman coaching in the NFL is air and opportunity.