Before Sunday, there had never been a female coach in the Super Bowl.
Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers made history at the 54th Super Bowl for being the first female coach to hold a coaching position during the championship game.
Sowers is also the first openly gay coach in the NFL.
Sowers began her career in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. She was a wide receiver intern with Atlanta before taking another internship with the 49ers. In San Francisco she was a scout intern, eventually climbing up to be an offensive assistant.
When women take on coaching positions in football, the first criticism from some fans is that they never played the sport and therefore shouldn’t be coaching. Women don’t need to play the game to coach, just like men don’t, but that’s what makes Sowers an even better coach, she did play.
Sowers played in the Women’s Football Alliance as both a quarterback and defensive back. According to Sports Illustrated, in 2013 Sowers played for the U.S. National team in the WFA championship. Not only did her team win, Sowers caught five interceptions with three pick-sixes.
Seeing Sowers in the Super Bowl shows that women belong in football too. We’ve seen female sports journalists on TV with Beth Mowins and Erin Andrews, but seeing a woman coach athletes at the highest level shows girls and young women that they belong there too.
Sowers wasn’t the first woman to coach, that would be Jen Welter who worked with the Arizona Cardinals as a training camp/preseason intern. Welter and Sowers are paving the way for women in sports.
Having the first female coach in the Super Bowl is also exciting because its during football’s biggest game of the year. Millions of people, every year, tune in to watch the game regardless of the teams that are playing. Whether it’s for the advertisements, the halftime show or for the game, people are seeing a woman coach at the highest level.
All it takes is one woman to show others that they belong here too. Showing millions of people, that a woman was a part of a team in the Super Bowl, that women know the game just as well as men, is just one step. It’s time we start to give women the opportunity to be a part of sports, in all realms.
We hope that more women follow Sowers. And we know they will.