Three women were on the football field in an official capacity for a regular season game on Sunday, marking the first time it’s ever happened in NFL history. There was one female coach for both teams and a female official during the Washington Football Team-Cleveland Browns game at First Energy Stadium.
Callie Brownson is the chief of staff for Browns coach Kevin Stefanski and Jennifer King is the NFL’s first Black female full-time assistant coach. Sarah Thomas was the first full-time referee in the league.
The Browns and the Washington Football Team tweeted about their historic encounter.
“Today’s game marks the first regular-season game in @NFL history to have a female coach on both sidelines + a female official,” the Browns tweeted.
The Washington Football Team wrote, “We’re more than proud of @JenniferKing5 and all the women who are breaking barriers in our league.”
We’re more than proud of @JenniferKing5 and all the women who are breaking barriers in our league‼️ https://t.co/oW30Z1m05d
These women have broken barriers to get to this stage of the gridiron.
King currently works with the running backs in Washington after interning with the Carolina Panthers for two seasons. She was a quality control coach at Dartmouth and also served as an assistant receivers coach and special teams assistant for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football, which was canceled earlier this year. She was also a quarterback and receiver for the Carolina Phoenix of the Women’s Football Alliance from 2006-2017.
Brownson was the first woman hired as a full-time NCAA Division I coach at Dartmouth, preceding King as their quality control coach. She was hired in Cleveland after holding internships with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets as a scout. Her coaching career began at her high school alma mater as an assistant coach for Mount Vernon in Texas.
Thomas has a history of firsts. In 2007, she was the first woman to work a major college football game. In 2015, she became the first full-time female referee in the NFL. In 2019, Thomas was the first female official to work in NFL postseason history.
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