On Sunday, the first female staff member of the NFL staff will join the Super Bowl heyday as coach: San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers.
“Being the first female in the Super Bowl, it’s surreal,” Sowers said. “It really is. But what I want to continue to say is that even though I’m the first, the most important thing is I’m not the last and we continue to grow it.”
Sowers is currently in her fourth season in the NFL, three of which have been with the Niners and two of which have been with the Atlanta Falcons’, joining a minority internship program and training camps with their wide receivers.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was her connection to both teams. According to Shanahan, Sowers fit right in. “I think the neatest thing with Katie that we liked when we had her in the training camp is we’d have a guy in there that would swear and say, ‘I’m sorry Katie’ — Katie would be awkward from that and be like why would you say sorry, and we started to realize that’s what made it work,” Shanahan said. “We could all be ourselves. It didn’t have to be any different whether it was a girl or a guy, it’s just another intern trying to get a job, and Katie made everyone so comfortable in that way that I never even thought about it.”
49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has openly credited Sowers with his own skills on the field. During Sowers’ first year with the team, she worked primarily with this position.
But there are eight female coaches in total with the NFL this season – but Sowers has had the longest tenure so far, and is the first to step into this major role.
“She has that ability and the leadership to do that,” Quarterback Nick Mullens said of her. “I know she has the tenacity and the mindset to achieve those things, so I can’t say that I’m surprised. She’s obviously worked so hard to get here and really created a lot of opportunities for herself. She has a vision, and it’s incredible to watch that grow.”
Since the announcement, she appeared in a commercial for the Microsoft Surface tablet in which she shares a letter she wrote to herself as a child saying she hoped to someday be on a real football team. In a statement about achieving this goal, Sowers said: “Even though I’m the first, the most important thing is I’m not the last.”
She’s been pretty busy reading and penning back notes and letters from young girls all over the country.
“Truly, a lot of the energy that I feed off of when I feel like the hours get long and it’s tiring or emotionally draining, it’s those young girls that I think about,” she said. “I’ve had so many good ones. I had a girl who had my same last name that wrote to me. It was pretty cool, and she loves sports and she’s so excited to see a woman with her same last name coaching.”
But she has big plans for the future: when asked if she has hopes of being a head coach in the NFL, her response was: “absolutely.” She added that she’ll continue to do her best at whatever opportunities she’s given, and when more arise, she plans to take full advantage.
“I am willing and happy to be a trailblazer because I know that other women, other young girls, are watching this and maybe their path seems a little clearer now,” Sowers said.