If you do a Google image search for Jen Welter, the pictures are striking. Beneath the bulky helmet and facemask, her bright red lips and expertly made-up eyes pop. She curls a muscled bicep just enough to indicate strength and power. The feminine tone of her face seems to war with her masculine set of muscles.
This is the woman who made history last week when she became NFL’s female coach. Welter was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern, scheduled to work with the organization's inside linebackers during training camp and the pre-season. As Welter puts it, "It's exciting to show not only women and girls, but pretty much everyone that anything is possible."
For years, media, fans, and NFL insiders speculated whether or not a woman could ever join the ranks of an NFL coaching staff. Many were, and remain, skeptical. As Mike Francesa put it on his daily talk show, “I did not think, folks, that I would see a female coach in the NFL...It’s not that she can’t know the x’s and o’s—it’s not about the x’s and o’s. It’s about the idea of how football teams are run.” For years it’s been said that women can’t coach football because they don’t play football. Welter’s resume, however, tells a different story.
Welter, who holds a master's and PhD. in sports psychology is no stranger to the barriers her gender has posed to her chosen career path; she has blasted through them before. In February, she became the first woman to join a men's professional coaching staff when the Texas Revolution (a professional indoor football team) hired her to coach the organization’s linebackers ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more