In a sport long dominated by men, and defined by muscle and brawn, no female has ever participated as a player or coach in the NFL, the highest level of football.
The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and the preseason, which makes her the first female coach in NFL history. Welter, also the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a men's professional football league, will work with the Cardinals' inside linebackers. She played as a linebacker herself for over 14 years with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Football Alliance, and later played running back and special teams for the Texas Revolution of the men's Indoor Football League.
At just 37, she's been making history every step of her career — this February, the Revolution hired her as the first female coach in any men's professional football league to help with linebackers and special teams. Less than six months later, she's joined the Arizona Cardinals, a top NFC team, to keep blazing trails in the NFL. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, known for being bold and surprising himself, was very matter-of-fact about the hire.
"If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, I'll listen," he said. "I really believe she'll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her."
Welter tweeted out her excitement shortly after the announcement:
See how the rest of Twitter responded to the news:
Overwhelmingly, the response has been positive, but of course there are always a few naysayers:
Welter has all the smarts and supports she needs to succeed, though — on the whole, the sports world is looking forward to watching her help the Cardinals achieve greatness.