Jennifer Welter, 36, made her professional football debut playing for the Texas Revolution, an indoor team.
The first female Running Back didn’t make any touchdowns and took several painful tackles from linemen nearly twice her weight..
And we at DoubleTakeDebate were lucky enough to interview her
Q1). You have a huge track record, won gold medals and have been one of the best players in Women’s Football, so how has this period been for you?
JW: It’s been great, it’s shown that women can compete and play football with Men and take the big hits. For me, my biggest goal was to come and be a good team mate and go hard and played. The biggest point for the coach and I was to be treated as one of the guys and no special treatment. I mean I give the coach a lot of credit for the tone he set for the guys to ignore that I am woman and the general consensus of you not allowed to hit women and treat me as a football player. I’m talking big linebackers hitting me and me bouncing back and going hard and still executing my assignments as a running back. The guys were great too, treating me as one of their own and cheering me on when I make huge block and helping me up when I’m up.
Q2). What made you decide to play with the guys?
JW: They came to me and asked me. Even in the women’s game I was tiny and this was not my goal at all. I have always wanted the women’s game to have more support but this was an interesting opportunity. I spoke to friends and huge people from the women’s game that I respected and felt they would be mad even if I said NO. I felt I was chosen for a reason and felt I could provide an awareness that women can play too.
Q3) How have the guys treated you in the Locker Room.. Hope it ain’t been like the Richie Ignito & Jonathan Martin Scenario?
JW: The guys were great and it was nothing like that. Obviously in the beginning there were some tensions involved especially if any other team tried to disrespect me and stuff. As for the locker room itself, we joke and chill like any other room. It’s more like innocent play and banter. The one thing I refused to allow is let other teams use me to get in my team mates head by talking smack and making jokes. I just tell the guys to not even dare try to step in and just focus on the game. I’m having fun with it and loads of it. I don’t take offense since the women’s league talks even more trash!!
The guys take it seriously and are very proud of me. Like when they see how I get crushed and still get up, they like Jen, you are tough!!
Q4.) You heard about Sam Gordon balling for her pee-wee team and tearing it up against much bigger boys?!
JW: Yea and that signifies the diversity and beauty of football. That is what I love about football, it’s a games whereby you need all kind of dynamic players, fast and tall, short and quick and it doesn’t work if you don’t have all these parts! (Agree on that) I have made life time bond with people due to football and football forms great bonds.
People thing I am advocating boys playing with girls but I tell them no, I am advocating following your passion no matter what.
Q5): What are your opinions on the lingerie football league?
JW: It’s a gimmick and not real. Don’t get me wrong because I’ve seen some great athletes in the LFL, however the question is do you want to be taken seriously as an athlete and a football player or do you want to take your clothes off to play football. I feel it takes the women’s game back and undermines the game. The game is set up for TV and they have rules to minimize contact and does not relate to NFL because they are undressing the women and taking the sport out of it.
Q6). How do you think NFL can better support women’s football and establish a WNFL like the WNBA?
JW: First of all in December, IFAF made progress in establishing football as an Olympic event and not just Men’s football and got a conditional acceptance from the IOC. The door has been opened for American football to become an Olympic sport by 2017 and could open in 2024. As you know, the NFL is a business and is making huge sums of money. So once it becomes an Olympic sport and the NFL sees how profitable it is, it could interest them in creating a WNFL for the women’s game too. There are some improvements showing a lot more girls playing with the guys in football and a grass roots level improvements are being made.
Women is the future of growth in football since they spend most on the clothing, putting on the parties and are proving to be successful at playing the game. It is also showing that people want to see them do it too.
I believe a WNFL will be made once the business model makes sense financially for the owners and the league.
Q7). Any words of encouragement?
JW: I just hope that my purpose and I playing with the men can create more awareness that women can play football. I did this to inspire people and other females with passion to play football so that they can take the baton and run even further than I have done. I mean I switched sides from defense to offense but I accepted it, I am still learning and have a great team around me and still want to improve. It is about showing that football is diverse and this isn’t about the publicity or that, it is much more about showing that women can be humble and play football and can compete too.