On Tuesday afternoon, the Arizona Cardinals introduced new intern coach Jen Welter, who will work with the team's inside linebackers during training camp and the preseason. Welter is one of seven intern coaches added to the staff by head coach Bruce Arians, but she stands out as the only female and is believed to be the first female to coach in any capacity in the NFL.
This is badass news.
Even a few months ago, it would've been tough to imagine a woman getting a shot in the most testosterone-filled of all the major professional leagues. But something amazing is going on in the world of sports right now. Over the last few days, conversations about a possible NBA head coaching opportunity for Spurs assistant Becky Hammon have dominated my Twitter feed, and now they're joined by headlines about Welter breaking the gender barrier in the NFL.
People are finally opening their eyes to the idea that smart, qualified people can lead -- no matter their gender -- if only given the chance.
Well, most people are opening their eyes.
There are always gonna be those knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers who just can't evolve with the times. And for those folks, let me save you the trouble of complaining about Welter by responding to the dumbest of your complaints before you even get a chance to type them from behind the safety of your egg avatars.
Your sideways thoughts will be represented in italics (actually typing them backward would be too on the nose).
Dolt: How's she gonna coach, she ain't never played the game!
Welter played professional football for more than 14 years as a linebacker, most of that time spent with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Football Alliance. (And yes, that's full-contact tackle football -- not the Lingerie League.) She's also a two-time gold medal winner with Team USA at the International Federation of American Football's Women's World Championships.
Idiot: That's just chick football, that ain't the same as real men's football!
Welter played men's football as well, playing running back and special teams for the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football League. She's the second woman ever to play a non-kicking position in a men's pro league -- and the first to play running back, by the way.
Blockhead: The Champions Indoor Football League? Pfft. Good coaches played in the NFL.
Vince Lombardi, Bill Belichick, Joe Gibbs and Marv Levy would like a word.
Dummy: OK, fine, they let her play a little. What does she know about being a leader on the sidelines?
Welter is a Boston College grad with a master's degree in sports psychology and her doctorate in psychology. I know those are big words, try sounding them out and see if it helps.
Putz: Smarty-pants mumbo-jumbo. What does she know about actually coaching?
Welter led the Revolution's linebackers and special teams last season, becoming the first women to coach in a men's professional football league.
Nitwit: Coaching NFL players is a whole 'nother can of worms. Why would those big, brawny dudes listen to someone who's 5-foot-2 and a buck-thirty?
Athletes wanna be the best. If someone can help them get better, whether it's a coach, a trainer, a psychologist, a masseuse, a chiropractor, a nutritionist, an ophthalmologist or a hypnotist, they'll listen. Tilting their heads down a few inches to hear won't be an issue.
Dunce: So you're telling me a bunch of grown men are gonna listen to a broad tell 'em what to do?
Might be tough for you to imagine this, as the ink is still drying on your men's rights activism poster, but these days men listen to women all the time. They get advice, guidance and leadership from women every single day. Women who are their professors, their lawyers, their judges, their doctors and their bosses. In fact, most men have been listening to a woman (their mothers) since birth. And some of 'em -- get this -- even listen to their wives! (So whipped, right?) Following orders when a woman tells 'em to eat their broccoli, take out the trash, quit smoking, write a term paper or pay their child support is a heckuva lot tougher to swallow than following orders when a female coach puts 'em through wind sprints. Same s***, different voice.
Yes, Welter's will be a new voice for the Cardinals, and for the NFL. And this intern gig could lead to bigger and better things. Better get on board now, ya clowns, 'cause the league won't wait for you to give your approval.
And, while you're at it: Listen to your mother.