“You Play Like a Girl!”

On Sunday March 3rd, the National Football League hosted it’s regional combine in New Jersey where potential players can tryout their skills in front of NFL scouts and coaches. For the first time in the history of the NFL, a woman participated in the tryout. Lauren Silberman, a University of Wisconsin graduate, became the first female athlete to even attempt to enter the league.


Silberman, who played soccer at Wisconsin said she had only been kicking footballs for “a few months” and wanted to show the scouts her abilities. Lauren was not just showing her potential, but the potential of every female with aspirations to enter the NFL. Her inspiring journey ended before it had barely begun though. Without kicking a single football during the 30 minute warm-up, Lauren attempted 2 kickoffs. Traveling 19 and 13 yards, respectively. Lauren stated she had agitated a quad injury from weeks before and that was the reason for her failure. Reporters flocked to Lauren for more information and questions and most walked away with the feeling of disappointment. The news of a female entering the NFL gained more attention than most of the scouting combine. A female venturing into a world of brutes and giants and attempting to stand at their height was inspiring. But when it was all said and done, most viewers and analysts found the tryout to be almost comical and a publicity stunt. A former Division I female kicker called Silberman “terrible”, and NFL.com deemed the tryout “a great big sham”. Was it because she was a female, or because she truly had no intention of joining the NFL?

http://youtu.be/5yRWLH3OsmQ (you can see coverage on the tryout here)

In a league where the biggest, fastest, and strongest men compete head to head, the only possible position a woman could play is kicker right? Football has historically been an all-male sport, with the exception of the playful and jaw-dropping Lingerie Football League. But slowly females have been making their way into pee-wee and high school teams and staking their claim. Any sane person though would ask, “does she understand what she would be up against?” Imagine seeing a 145 pound female kicker kick the opening kickoff for the Pittsburgh Steelers and running down the field and tackling a 215 pound man made out of iron-like muscle. It would be like seeing a Mack Truck run over a Prius. Even if you took the safety issues out and you treated her as any other player, there would be a hundred reasons why females are not ready to enter the NFL, if ever. Female reporters have a hard enough time interviewing players in the locker rooms. The men before and after games are often naked or barely dressed, so there is the issue of sexual tension and worst case sexual harassment. I’m not saying women can’t enter the NFL. I’m happy a female was comfortable enough to attempt it, and our society was willing to allow her. I’m just saying at this point, the NFL isn’t ready to accept women.

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3 Responses to “You Play Like a Girl!”

  1. In Starship Troopers the quarterback was a girl. Because, why not?

  2. auddieblue says:

    I have to admit, I didn’t even know that girls could try out for the NFL – I thought it was a rule that only men could play. It’s nice to hear that isn’t the case, but I agree with you in saying that the NFL isn’t ready for women to try out and attempt to play. I’m always telling people who think girls shouldn’t play “guy” sports should rethink their opinions, but the points you brought up made me rethink my own opinion about girls playing in the NFL. I figured the kicker position would be perfect for women, since there usually isn’t nearly as much contact between the kicker and other players (tackling, hitting, etc…). But I didn’t even think about locker room situations, harrassment issues on and off the field, or practices. This may have been because when watching a game on the TV screen, it’s hard for me to remember that those men are over 6′ tall and weigh hundreds of pounds in practically solid muscle, since they all look the same togther on the field. Thanks for bringing up this topic!

  3. bbarr007 says:

    This story was really interesting to me. I have grown up my entire life without really thinking about women in the NFL. Sports have always been segregated. For example guys play baseball and girls play solfball. If they do play the same sport then they usually have seperate leagues. That said I have played with a few girls during my juvenile baseball days. Clearly there is a barriar that seperates gender in sports. It can be overcome as we have seen some instances such as a girl attempting to tryout for the NFL. Maybe girls playing side by side with guys will become a much more prominent thing in the future. Just look at the Starship Trooper Video. Maybe women are approaching that not to distant future where women can play side by side with Johnny Rico!

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