Announcer and journalist Beth Mowins will do play-by-play for ESPN during the Monday Night Football matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos on Sept. 11, ESPN announced Tuesday. It will be the first time a woman has been tapped to do play-by-play for a regular season NFL game since 1987.
Mowins typically does play-by-play at the college level for women’s sports, but has plenty of experience calling college football games. She first got the call to do play-by-play regularly for Western Athletic Conference games back in 2005. Mowins said at the time that she had been inspired by CBS’ decision to incorporate former Miss America Phyllis George into its The NFL Today cast.
"That's when the seed was planted,” Mowins said, via USA Today’s Michael Hiestand. I didn't know a lot about the politics of putting a woman on the air. I just saw one."
At the time, Mowins was only the second woman called upon to do play-by-play for college football games. She went on to call games for the Raiders during the preseason beginning in 2015.
Thirty years ago, longtime news anchor Gayle Sierens became the first woman to do play-by-play for a regular season NFL game. Sierens, a seasoned news anchor, called a Seahawks-Chiefs matchup in the final week of the 1987 season, and she did so well that NBC Sports tried to lock her in for six games in the 1988 season. The local NBC affiliate Sierens worked for in Tampa, Fla., didn’t want her to miss that much work, so it didn’t happen.
It’s been a long time since a woman called an NFL game, but Mowins will change that this season. The matchup between the Chargers and Broncos is part of a Monday Night Football doubleheader to kick off the season. The normal Monday Night Football crew of Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough will be calling the Saints and Vikings game earlier that night.