Behind The Scenes

Trailblazer Mowins eager to call Week 1 MNF game, continue Sierens’ legacy

Beth Mowins will call play by play for the Sept. 11 Chargers at Broncos MNF game with new ESPN NFL analyst Rex Ryan. (Bill Hofheimer/ESPN)

ESPN announced today that veteran play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and new studio analyst Rex Ryan will call the Los Angeles Chargers versus Denver Broncos game on Sept. 11 as part of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader.

With this assignment, Mowins will become the first female broadcaster to call an NFL regular-season game since Gayle Sierens in 1987 – and the first woman to call a nationally televised NFL game.

Mowins, who joined ESPN in 1994 and has covered college football, men’s and women’s basketball and a variety of NCAA Championship events over the past two decades, spoke with Front Row about calling her first NFL game for ESPN this fall.

I’ve been watching MNF my whole life, “calling” hundreds of games sitting in front of the TV in my living room as a kid. It’s a short list of very talented people that have been a part of MNF and I am really looking forward to heading to Denver with our crew. – Beth Mowins

What was your reaction when you were offered this MNF opportunity?
Getting offered to call a Monday Night Football game in September is an incredible honor. I am extremely grateful and was thrilled when I heard the news. I’ve been watching MNF my whole life, “calling” hundreds of games sitting in front of the TV in my living room as a kid. It’s a short list of very talented people that have been a part of MNF and I am really looking forward to heading to Denver with our crew.

What are your thoughts on working with Rex Ryan?
I had a chance to work with Rex on the Florida State spring football game, and we had a good time. Rex and I come from similar backgrounds as coaches’ kids growing up in very athletic families. We were fortunate to know our career paths early in life and have been able to pursue our passions.

How will you prepare for the Chargers-Broncos game?
We will get together again in August to call a couple of practice games during the preseason, probably in Jacksonville and Cleveland. Rex obviously knows football and has impressed me with his eagerness to understand the TV mechanics involved in a broadcast.

You’ve called the Oakland Raiders’ preseason games the past few years. How has that experience prepared you?
It definitely helps to be involved for a third year with the Oakland Raiders’ preseason TV package. The Raiders have been fantastic to work with, and our crew has been top notch, including our former ESPN colleague Matt Millen as the analyst. Matt has helped me gain more insight into the NFL and how teams operate.

You will be the first female broadcaster to call an NFL game since 1987. Will you feel any pressure because of that?
While I appreciate the significance of the moment, I have always considered being a skilled play-by-play announcer as much more significant than gender while on the job. I had a dream, and I chased it. Hopefully, any young boy or girl can appreciate that. I was trained to treat our telecasts like a team sport, and our crew is tremendous. As my friend [ESPN MLB analyst] Jessica Mendoza often says, “Pressure is a privilege” and our MNF team is ready to embrace this opportunity.

It is truly an honor to follow in the footsteps of Gayle Sierens to become just the second woman to call an NFL regular-season game. I’ve gotten to know Gayle in recent years as her daughter played volleyball at Penn State. Gayle is a terrific role model and a friend who has given me great advice.
– Beth Mowins

Gayle Sierens is the only other female broadcaster to call an NFL game. Have you met her?
It is truly an honor to follow in the footsteps of Gayle Sierens to become just the second woman to call an NFL regular-season game. I’ve gotten to know Gayle in recent years as her daughter played volleyball at Penn State. Gayle is a terrific role model and a friend who has given me great advice. One of the people who helped her out back in 1987 was none other than legendary broadcaster Marty Glickman, a fellow Syracuse alum of mine.

Speaking of Syracuse, two of your close friends are fellow alums [former MNF commentator] Mike Tirico and [current MNF play-by-play voice] Sean McDonough. Will you seek advice from them about calling this game on MNF?
A couple of other Syracuse guys have been instrumental in my development. . . and both happen to be connected to MNF. Mike and Sean were actually at an event together when I shared my good news with them recently. They sent me a nice message (“Don’t worry kid, no pressure!”) and I will be following up with both of them for more insight.

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