Female coaches quietly make NFL playoff history

Jack Baer
·2 min read

It’s a historic weekend in the NFL as far as coaching staffs go, and none more so than in Washington on Saturday night.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Football Team both had women on their coaching staffs as they squared off on wild-card weekend, the first NFL postseason game to see female coaches on each sideline.

With the Tampa Bay sideline were assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar. Full-year coaching intern Jennifer King was working for Washington under head coach Ron Rivera.

It was the kind of progress that drew the attention of tennis legend Billie Jean King:

Of the eight female coaches currently in the NFL, six of them are on teams playing this weekend. In addition to King, Locust and Javadifar, there is Cleveland Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson (who made some significant history of her own earlier this year), Los Angeles Rams strength and conditioning coach Chelsea Romero and Tennessee Titans assistant strength and conditioning coach Cristi Bartlett.

Full-year coaching intern Jennifer King, right, works with Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic (41) before the team's NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Jennifer King is one of six women working on NFL coaching staffs this weekend. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

King talked about the moment with NFL Network earlier this week:

"I really think it's a direct testament to forward-thinking coaches opening up their minds to the entire pool of applicants for jobs, and I think these forward-thinking coaches have created cultures with sustained winning and ultimately they've made the playoffs now," King said during a Thursday appearance on NFL Total Access. "So I think it's no coincidence that these coaches have created such a great culture and have won games and divisions and they're in the playoffs."

If any of the five teams make the Super Bowl, they would join former San Francisco 49ers assistant Katie Sowers as the only women to coach in the Super Bowl.

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