On Sunday, January 19, 2020, the San Fransisco 49ers won their first Conference Championship since 2013. They will face Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on February 2nd in Miami, Florida.
Their win was a walk in the park, defeating the Green Bay Packers with a score of 37-20 and crushing Aaron Rodgers’ dreams of making an appearance in Super Bowl LIV. Rodgers has not made it to the Super Bowl since 2011.
While the Niners’ large margin of a win will be a memorable success, it will also be recognized as a remarkable accomplishment for the coaching staff, especially Katie Sowers, the current offensive assistant for the Niners. Sowers is in her fourth season in the National Football League (NFL) and second as an offensive assistant. Sowers, then, is just the second woman in the history of the NFL to hold a full-time coaching position in the league. She comes second to Kathryn Smith who received a full time position with the Buffalo Bills in 2016.
While her current position within the NFL is a substantial achievement for women in sport, Sowers will become the first woman in NFL history to coach in a Super Bowl.
If you are like myself, you probably have not heard the name ‘Katie Sowers’ prior to the Niners win on Sunday. This comes as no surprise, a woman holding a coaching position in an elite sport – especially one dominated by men – often goes unrecognized. This lack of recognition, however, stems from the fact that women coaches represent a small minority across all sports. As stated previously, Sowers was just the second woman to receive a full-time position within the NFL. As a result of this gender inequality, women often face discrimination and are disrespected during their time as a coach. In order to be taken seriously in their role, women often need to have much higher training and experience than men.
With Sowers’ name being thrown around in the media following the Niners’ impressive win, hopefully her impact within the NFL will be noted and can spark change with regards to how women are viewed in coaching roles, particularly in sports where men dominate.
Sowers’ success thus far, especially her accomplishment of being the first woman to appear in a coaching role at the Super Bowl, will have a substantial impact on the confidence of women and girls in sport.
Feature image: Katie Sowers, First Woman in NFL History to Coach in a Super Bowl (Source: Outpost.com)