The Arizona Cardinals have made history by hiring Jen Welter as a coach, making her the first female coach in the NFL.
Welter was hired by Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians to be an intern for linebackers coach with the team during training camp and pre-season.
She used to be a Indoor Football League linebackers and special teams coach for the Texas Revolution, and has played 14 seasons of pro football, mostly in the Women’s Football Alliance.
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Welter also played as a running back for the Revolution as well, making her the first woman to play for a team in a men’s professional league in a non-kicking position.
Arians said on Monday on the Cardinals official website: “Coaching is nothing more than teaching. One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’
“I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.”
Welter tweeted her excitement of joining the Cardinals.
This addition to the Cardinals coaching staff has provided a great opportunity for not only Welter, but for women everywhere to break the diversity barrier in the NFL. Her football resume certainly proves that she deserves this great opportunity.
Arians hinted to us that female coaches could soon be joining the league last April at the NFL owners meeting.
EPSN.com reported that he said: “Someone asked me yesterday, ‘When are we going to have female coaches?’ The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired.”
This statement was made during the same month that the NFL announced it had hired it’s first female official in NFL history in Sarah Thomas.
In fact, Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd was one of the first to congratulate Thomas on twitter and said he was looking forward to meeting her.
Women aren’t being hired to coach men professional sports in just the NFL.
Becky Hammon was hired to be an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs in August 2014, and as the Spurs’ summer league head coach. In just under a year after her appointment, she led the team to a summer championship.
Hopefully the hiring of Welter won’t be treated as a gimmick and she will be kept on past her internship to help the Cardinals find success.
Arians has put his NFL owners meeting statement into practice with the hiring of Welter. The diversity barriers in the NFL are slowly being taken down.
We have seen men coach in women's professional leagues and be very successful. Why can't women do the same in men's professional leagues?