By Matt Citak
Beth Mowins is no stranger to making history. When she began calling college football games for ESPN in 2005, she became only the second woman to call nationally televised college football games for the network. Twelve years later, Mowins is ready to blaze a new trail. She will be in the booth for the second half of ESPN's Monday Night Football doubleheader on September 11th, calling the matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos. Mowins will become just the second woman, and the first in 37 years, to do play-by-play of an NFL regular-season telecast. Following her debut on Monday Night Football, Mowins will continue to call games for NFL on CBS throughout the season, beginning with Cleveland vs. Indianapolis on September 24th.
"I'm really excited to welcome Beth Mowins to the CBS Sports family," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said at the NFL on CBS Media Day. "I think it says a lot about what CBS is all about. Beth was hired not because she's a woman. Beth was hired because she's a terrific play-by-play personality and is really going to be a great addition to our team."
Mowins is no stranger to covering big-time football. She has been a longtime play-by-play voice for college football on ESPN. In addition, she has been a part of the local TV coverage of the Oakland Raiders' preseason games for the last few years.
On September 24th, she will join NFL on CBS analyst Jay Feely in the booth, becoming the first woman in CBS's 58 years broadcasting the NFL to ever call play-by-play for the network's NFL on CBS games.
"I like what Sean said, that she got the job because of her body of work," said Feely. "Because she's such a good announcer. And as a father of three girls who tells them all the time, 'You can be anything you want. If you have a dream, go after it. Work harder than anybody else. You can accomplish it. You can achieve it,' it'll be special for me to be in the booth with her and to be a living example of that message that I'm trying to send to them."
Mowins doesn't want the focus to be on her, and instead would like the attention to go to the players and the game itself. However she realizes the impact her presence in the booth will have on young women around the world who might want to follow in her footsteps. Similar to when she was a child watching her role model Phyllis George on NFL Today during the 1970s, Mowins is aware that young women will likely look up to her.
"I am embracing that role, and I understand the significance of it," Mowins said about becoming the NFL's first female play-by-play announcer in almost four decades. "I have come to learn in the last several months just how important it is for a lot of women in this business, and for a lot of younger women that have a dream that they want to pursue. I look forward to being in that role if need be. But I've always approached it first and foremost as a play-by-play announcer. I'm excited to call a football game, and I'm excited to be a part of the NFL on CBS, so that's been my preparation. Any sort of historic narrative involved, I'll let other people worry about that and write that themselves."
A sense of excitement surrounds Mowins' addition to the NFL on CBS team. All of the on-air talent have nothing but praise for the longtime play-by-play announcer, and are thrilled to be welcoming her to the NFL on CBS family.
"I was so blown away when I found out that was happening," said NFL on CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl. "She has such a prominent voice... Regardless of her gender, she is significant in our world. But that being said, gender is very important, and equality is very important. So the fact that she is that first woman in such a long time is massive, and I just completely am proud to be a part of CBS and the fact that they brought her in to do this. She's more than qualified. The Raiders have found that having her call their preseason games over the last few years. She's just so easy to listen to. She's confident. She carries such respect with her. Just look at her resume. Obviously every other network thinks that. So I was very proud... There's always more room at the table for people like that, especially at the CBS table."
"She's done a tremendous job in the preseason on those Raiders games, so it's not like she's new to the NFL," added NFL on CBS lead game reporter Tracy Wolfson. "She's a football junkie since she was a kid, and she does an amazing job on the college side. For her, the transition is going to be great. And I love how Sean said it. She was not hired because she's a woman. She was hired because she's one of the top play-by-play personalities in the game. CBS goes for the best, and she's proven she's one of the best out there and deserves to be part of our crew. I'm looking forward to watching her, and her being with Jay Feely is going to be a really interesting broadcast... It's great for CBS, and hopefully young women out there watch her and want to follow in her footsteps."
You can catch Beth Mowins' debut for NFL on CBS on September 24th at 1 PM, ET, when the Cleveland Browns face the Indianapolis Colts.
Matt Citak is a producer for CBS Local Sports and a proud Vanderbilt alum. Follow him on Twitter or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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