Disclosure: The author of this article represents Dr. Jen Welter for coaching, broadcasting, endorsement and other media-related opportunities.
It all started with Dr. Jen Welter.
She was the perfect experiment for a football team brilliant enough to open its mind to the idea of hiring a female coach.
With eighteen years of experience in fitness, being a professional athlete and holding a doctorate degree in Psychology with a Master's in Sport Psychology, Dr. Welter was the right fit for an NFL organization. The only "problem" was that she is not a male. The Arizona Cardinals and head coach Bruce Arians took a chance on Dr. Welter leading up to the start of the 2015 NFL season and it was well worth the risk.
Dr. Welter became the first female coach, taking on the position of training camp intern. Arians described her as "fantastic" and called her a "firecracker" and "ball of energy." Unfortunately, the Cardinals had no space to retain any of its interns and thus had to let Dr. Welter go before the start of the regular season.
Dr. Welter is now a "free agent" looking for the right fit with an NFL organization that respects her talent as a mentor of young football players, putting her doctorate in psychology to task. She is likely a top target of many NFL teams, as organizations become more amenable to hiring female staff.
"The [Arizona Cardinals players] still text me and call me coach, and so if this is a publicity stunt, then what does that mean?," said Dr. Welter recently in an interview with BBC Sport. Teams should be craving that type of assistance, whether it comes in the body of a male or female.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills organization has shown that it too is not shy of adding a female to its roster of coaches. This week, the Bills hired Kathryn Smith as a special teams quality control coach.
Perhaps an announcement surrounding Dr. Welter will follow, but it should not stop there. The new norm may soon become regular signings of female assistants to NFL organizations. Eventually, a female head coaching position may be a possibility.