As the National Football League is winding down to the end of the 2015-2016 season, all thoughts are on the upcoming SuperBowl 50. Last night determined that this year’s game would feature the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos. However, something historical has happened in the NFL recently that has nothing to do with the 50th SuperBowl, the Panthers, or the Broncos. Last week, while most NFL fans were putting the spotlight on which teams were going to advance to the SuperBowl by winning either the NFC or AFC championship games, the Buffalo Bills hired the NFL’s first ever female full-time coach – Kathryn Smith.
At only 30 years old, Smith became the special teams quality control coach for the Bills on Wednesday, January 20. The quality control coach (QCC) has the responsibility of analyzing film and data from games and practices. A QCC is an extremely important member of the coaching staff, as he – and now for the first time ever, she – is the one who spends time identifying any problems or opportunities on the field for the team, and QCC is often the first step in eventually becoming a position coach which can then lead to becoming a head coach.
Smith was already a part of the Bills’ staff, being the administrative assistant to head coach Rex Ryan this past season. Smith has worked with NFL teams even before graduating college. She started as an intern with the New York Jets and was given a full time job upon her graduation. As a result, Smith and Ryan have known one another for the last 7 years and when Rex moved on from the Jets to Buffalo, Smith followed. Her dedication and hard work have earned her the coaching position and all those in the industry who know her express nothing but pride and excitement for her upon hearing of her promotion.
In the past year or so, the NFL seems to be making progress toward hiring more females. Apart from Kathryn Smith, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as a training camp coach and Sarah Thomas became the first female referee. At PeacePlayers International, the empowerment of females in sport is an important aspect of instilling foundations of peace building and leadership qualities in program participants. Progress toward female equality in any and all aspects of sport, whether that sport be basketball, football, etc. is something that PeacePlayers respects and applauds.