Just days after her final preseason game, Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric sat down with Jen Welter, the first female coach in National Football League history, who worked as a summer preseason intern with the Arizona Cardinals.
On her experience this summer, she said, “Everybody was afraid that there would be an ‘uh oh’ moment. And there really weren’t any. We just had a great time, and the guys were really receptive.” She added that the players embraced being a part of NFL history.
She calls the NFL the final frontier for women in sports: “It’s the place where women really have never been allowed to go.” She continued, “If a woman can coach in football and be respected, then I truly believe they can do anything.”
Welter and Couric also discussed other recent headlines in the NFL, such as domestic violence, concussions and deflate-gate.
On domestic violence, Welter suggested that players should have marriage or relationship counseling going into the season. She said, “We put them up as role models so people are watching, and for good or for bad there’s an opportunity to deal with this.”
She also commented on domestic violence in the league, “They’re not just NFL problems. They’re societal problems.”
Welter suggested that a female coach on the field could help: “I think if you saw the reaction that maybe my players had to having a female coach and loving it… maybe there’s a need for more of that.” She continued, “You have an opportunity to make them better men and not just better football players, and ultimately that is the goal.”
On concussions in the league, which have received extra attention this week with the release of the trailer for the Will Smith movie “Concussion,” Welter said the NFL has changed its policies and protocols so things are safer now than ever before. She acknowledged, “No, you can’t take hits completely out of the game, but the education is so much better now, and it will continue to be because now we know it’s a problem.” She continued, “I worry more about the guys who I have known who have been my mentors in the game than I do about the younger guys now because the education is so much better.”
On Tom Brady and deflate-gate, Welter joked that she’s “tired of talking about Tom Brady’s balls.” She said, “All I know about Tom Brady is that he’s a great football player.” She recalled the one time she met Brady in a cafeteria, saying, “He was a gentleman in the buffet line.”
On the upcoming season, Welter said, “I hope they let Tom Brady play.”
In regard to Couric’s hometown team, the Washington Redskins, Welter said, “They need to hire me.”
Now that Welter’s summer coaching with the Cardinals is over, she hopes some day the internship will translate into a full-time position — if not this season then in a future one.