Bruce Arians Is Opening Doors For Women In Football
The National Football League is unquestionably America’s dominant sports league. It’s the envy of all other leagues. Commissioner Roger Goodell has a lofty goal – $20B in annual revenue. With this insane growth, the idea of gender equality in pro football has only just begun, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, Bruce Arians, is leading the way in correcting the gender gap and he’s ready for other coaches to follow suit.
Arians has been in the league for decades. When the Bucs hired him, he became the oldest head coaching hire in NFL history, but age hasn’t stopped his progressive way of thinking. He recently hired two female coaches to join the Buccaneers – Lori Locust (assistant defensive line) and Maral Javadifar (assistant strength and conditioning). This became a national news story and that didn’t sit well with Arians, who couldn’t believe this was such a novel idea in a league celebrating its 100th anniversary season.
It’s not easy to crack the NFL and its good ole’ boys club. It could be the violent nature of this game that keeps the NFL from putting females in the front office, but after 100 years, a little balance should be the norm. “It really should be,” Arians has stated, “because when I think back to the best teachers I ever had, most of them are female, alright. In football, we’re glorified school teachers (as coaches).”
Arians has said time and again gender doesn’t matter and believes women can bring their life experiences to the field. “You can know all the football in the world, but if you can’t teach it? So why not take a great teacher of any gender and let them help your players,” he’s stated. When he was the coach of the Arizona Cardinals, he fought for Jennifer Welter, noticing her unique method of teaching. He hired her as an assistant coaching intern in the summer of 2015, making her the first female coach in league history.
Let’s applaud Arians for his forward way of thinking, which started back at Mississippi State. He talked about one of his receiver’s coaches there, Dot Murphy, and said, “She was one of the best receiver coaches I’d ever seen. This was 25 years ago. So my answer [when asked], ‘Can they coach?’ Hell, yeah. I’ve seen it. It’s just getting opportunities.”
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