Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizes women’s influence

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A 15-year-old boy walked through the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum on Friday, checking out memorabilia and bronze busts, before stopping to take a photo of Jen Welter’s blue-and-pink colorway. The jersey was given to his sister.

“She’s going to love this,” said Pittsburgh Steelers fan Zach Fleming, who was in town for the first time with his father. “I want her to know that girls can be in the Hall of Fame too.”

Welt became the first woman to coach an NFL game in 2015, when she joined the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and preseason games.

The shirt, pants and sneakers she wore courtside in all four exhibition games are on display in a new exhibit in the museum’s Pro Football Today section.

The Texas Revolution jersey worn by Welter, the Dallas Diamonds helmet and the commemorative helmet signed by Australia during his tenure as head coach of the national team are also displayed in a separate glass case.

The ‘Women’s Influence on Football’ exhibit debuted ahead of this week’s sacrificial celebration. It features women who play, coach, host and broadcast the competition at the highest level.

“There are many women involved in professional football, and we want to recognize their contributions and tell their stories,” said Ben Ankrum, assistant curator of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We have other exhibitions showing women in professional football and it’s gotten to the point where we can do something bigger and more permanent.”

Other items on display include:

– Game jacket and signature ball in game for Callie Brownson, who on November 29, 2020, became the first woman to serve as a position coach for an NFL regular-season game against the Cleveland Browns. Bronson served as the tight end coach for Drew Petzing when his wife didn’t travel with the team after giving birth to the couple’s first child.

– Katie Sowers 49ers polo in the 2017 season, when she became the second woman to serve as a full-time NFL coach. San Francisco hired Sowers as an assistant for the 217 season. Kathryn Smith was the first female full-time coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2016.

– The shoes worn by Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar after Tampa Bay’s win over Kansas City on February 7, 2021, when they became the first female coaches to win the Super Bowl.

– Maia Chaka’s referee uniform and penalty flag. Chaka becomes the first black woman to host an NFL game in 2021.

– Six-time national champion quarterback Allison Cahill’s signed jersey from her MVP win at the Boston Renegades’ 2021 WML National Championship at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Performance.

-Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer’s headphones from 2018, when they became the first all-female broadcast team to call the NFL regular season.

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