Beth Mowins and Matt Millen work a recent Raiders’ exhibition game in Dallas.
Let’s just call it what it is: Beth Mowins is the right person at the right time at the right network to write some history. A ready-for-prime-time player. Status quo, you’ll rightfully be shaken.
As she prepares to call the Chargers-Broncos game as the second half of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” upcoming doubleheader — and in addition to the story we have posted about her in our Sunday column — we asked several broadcasters in the business who have a vested interest in seeing Mowins succeed talk about their thoughts leading up to this moment:
The ABC and NBC prime-time football play-by-play man since 1986
“This chance is well-deserved. When I’ve listened to her in the past, it’s clear that she is extremely well-prepared. The irony in her MNF debut is that’s she’ll be the veteran and Rex Ryan will be the ultimate rookie calling his first-ever game. I think it’s terrific that women in my business are getting more and more opportunities. I’ve worked with three — Lesley Visser, Andrea Kremer and Michele Tafoya — who I’d put up against any reporter covering the NFL. I’m rooting for Beth to do a terrific job. Just hope she gets a good game to cover and not something like 41-3.”
Chief correspondent for the NFL Network, NBC sideline reporter on “Sunday Night Football” and HBO “Real Sports” reporter
“I was at a symposium at the University of Maryland last year on a panel that included John Skipper, the ESPN president. At one point, I turned to John and said: ‘What’s it going to take for a woman to call play-by-play in an NFL game?’ He predicted it would happen – and needless to say, I think it has been a longtime coming, but I’m thrilled she’s getting the opportunity she deserves. I hope I’m not naïve in saying this, but her ascending to this role has an ‘Oh, by the way, she’s a woman’ aspect to it. Her role is magnified by the fact they’ve picked a novice analyst – that’s huge. This isn’t a D-game where she’s breaking in an analyst. She is being put in a position to succeed and is highly qualified. Plus she has a voice that really cuts through.”
Jessica Mendoza, center, with Beth Mowins, right, and Michele Smith at the 2014 College Softball World Series. (ESPN)
ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” analyst the last two seasons
“The fact that I got into (prime-time MLB) baseball a few years ago and she still hasn’t crossed into the NFL until now… I’m surprised it’s finally happened in 2017. She’s always been the right person for this. I know her like family. When ESPN first considered me as a softball analyst in 2006, I was an Olympic athlete with zero interest in TV and just trying it out. They flew Beth into a studio to work with me in Charlotte, N.C., because of all her softball experience, and here’s my first introduction to all this. We ran through the game, and they hired me the next day. And maybe 85 percent of all the softball games I’ve done since then over the last 11 years have been with her – all that from the beginning.
“I remember a spring training baseball game when she did the call with John Kruk and we talked then about getting into the men’s sports TV field. That was six years ago. We wondered what it would be like to even do a game together.
“She has been a huge influence for me. I’ve always looked up to her. She’s no BS – she won’t rah-rah you. But she’s always been there for me, telling it me it won’t be easy. But some of the best things in live never are.”
Ground-breaking reporter at CBS, ABC and ESPN and first woman to be an NFL analyst (on radio), only woman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a broadcaster with an autobiography coming in December entitled “Sometimes You Have to Cross When It Says Don’t Walk: A Memoir of Breaking Barriers”
David M. Russell/CBS
“Beth is a goddess –I’m serious. To have the courage and the skill to defy what many people are saying and thinking, to be singular in her talent … she is all that. When I was the only woman covering the NFL, waiting in the parking lot after games, seven years before provisions for equal access, people thought I was crazy, but I loved the game and the challenge, and I’m sure Beth feels the same. She is talented, honorable, kind, and her time has come – champagne all around.”
ESPN “Monday Night Football” sideline reporter
“Last time I saw her in Cleveland (for a practice game), I just told her: ‘Crush it like I know you’re going to.’ It’s a little amusing to me there’s even a question about it. You’ll see that it’s even unnecessary to ask about it.”
NBC “Sunday Night Football” sideline reporter who also did “Monday Night Football” at ESPN and ABC
“She has worked a long time on her play-by-play career and has earned this opportunity. It takes courage to put herself into the spotlight this way. No doubt there will be detractors. My hope is that she focuses only on her job and ignores the noise. Beth’s assignment to this game is another sign that sports broadcasting continues to evolve. … Developments like these cannot be forced. It would have been unfair to put someone in this position who was unprepared. Beth is clearly ready. And I think this will encourage more women to try play-by-play. I worked play-by-play on college basketball — men’s and women’s — and the WNBA, and it’s a blast.” Continue reading “Sunday media extra: What they’re saying about Beth Mowins’ ‘MNF’ Chargers assignment” »