Since 1994, ESPN sportscaster Beth Mowins has been calling play-by-play for NBA, WNBA and college football games, and NCAA Championships in basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball. On September 11, 2017, she will make history as only the second woman to call play-by-play for an NFL regular season game, when she calls Monday Night Football's broadcast between the Chargers and Broncos.
Mowins will add to the feat two weeks later when she calls CBS’ Sunday night matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns, making her the first woman to call play-by-play for regular season NFL game on the Eye Network.
Bu who is Beth Mowins? TV Insider spoke with the sportscaster about making history, which matchups she’s excited to see and the game she would have loved to call.
1. Mowins has been an announcer for more than 10 years
Mowins called NCAA football games for over a decade and NFL pre-season games for the Raiders, and is stoked to be making her NFL regular-season debut. "It’s pretty exciting," Mowins reveals to TV Insider. "It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a sportscaster and a play by play announcer. You always are looking for the best games you can possibly get, and certainly, the Monday Night Football franchise is one of the most iconic in television. So that’s gonna be really cool.
"I'll also get the opportunity to work with CBS as well a few times during the regular season. CBS Sports is such a great tradition of how they cover the NFL that it’s going to be exciting to be a part of that as well."
2. The spotlight doesn't intimidate her
Although there will be millions of fans watching her NFL debut, Mowins reveals that she wasn't nervous when she got word she'd be calling NFL games. She felt ready. "I can’t wait to be there and can’t wait to see how it all plays out," Mowins says. "I’ve always prided myself on my preparation, so that when I show up at the stadium, you know, you collect a few last-minute things, but other than that, you can just relax and have fun and call the game, so I think that’s probably the feeling that I had when I got the call, and hopefully that’s the feeling I’ll have on Mondays and Sundays."
3. She always dreamed of becoming a professional sportscaster
Mowins grew up a sports-loving kid in Syracuse, NY. "My dad was a high school basketball coach, and I grew up with three brothers, and all the little kids in our neighborhood, we all played sports. So, whether it was kickball or whiffle ball or basketball or football, we were constantly playing sports growing up, and constantly watching it on TV," Mowins shares. "When I was running around in the neighborhood playing sports, I also had a running commentary going, so I’ve been calling games ever since I was a little kid, and really started to get serious and focus and hone in on my craft probably while I was still in high school. I did a lot of reading and writing and just a lot of practicing in front of the TV and in front of the mirror."
4. She always roots for her home team
Mowins reveals that her favorite game was the epic 2016 Women's National Basketball Championship between Syracuse and UConn. "Being from Syracuse, Syracuse was in that game, and playing for UConn was Breanna Stewart who is from Syracuse—actually from my neighborhood, from my high school. So that was kind of cool to be a part of that moment and how special it was for my hometown as well as being of national significance."
5. She once called a game for Michael Jordan
Although she got to call for MJ, Mowins reveals that she would have loved to call games for a few other stars. "I had a chance to call some NBA radio and called a game with Michael Jordan once, but I never got a chance to call Larry Bird or Magic Johnson, so maybe a Lakers/Celtics game is one that got away from me."
And Mowins is a baseball fan too, saying, "And Derek Jeter would probably be another one, — growing up in upstate New York as a big Yankee fan. I would have loved to have called a Yankee game with Jeter playing."
6. Mowins has met history-making announcer Gayle Sierens
The only other woman to ever call play by play for an NFL regular season game was Gayle Sierens, who called the Seahawks-Chiefs game for NBC Sports on Dec. 27, 1987. Mowins reveals that she has met her history-making predecessor. "Her daughter was a national championship volleyball player at Penn State, and I used to cover the women’s volleyball championships, so I’ve gotten to know Gayle, and we’ve stayed in touch," Mowins reveals. "We’ve talked a lot about her preparation for it and what it was like in that moment. She’s just been great."
7. Mowins is inspired by those who came before her
While Mowins is inspiring the next generation of sportscasters, she shares a few of the broadcasting legends who inspired her. "I grew up watching people like Pat Summerall and Keith Jackson, and Al Michaels and Brent Musburger," Mowins lists. "And then growing up and coming through Syracuse University and the Newhouse School of Journalism—all the great Syracuse people: Bob Costas and Marv Albert, the guys that have been on Monday Night Football like Mike Tirico and Sean McDonough—I’ve really looked up to them and tried to emulate them over the years."
Beth Mowins Teases the NFL Match-ups
Ahead of her first two NFL games, Mowins highlights what she's most excited for...
Chargers at Broncos (Monday, Sept. 11, on ESPN)
"I think one of the big stories in the off-season has been: Who’s going to be the starting quarterback for the Broncos? And then on the other side, you’ve got Philip Rivers at quarterback for the Chargers and he’s been there, I think this will be his 14th season. He’s been one of the most consistent guys at quarterback over that stretch. I’m anxious to see the quarterback play in that season opener and how those guys react to that moment on a Monday night. I’m excited to be a part of it and working with our team in the broadcast booth. We’ve got a really good group and Rex Ryan is really excited about calling Monday night as well."
Browns at Colts (Sunday, Sept. 24, on CBS)
"I think that could possibly be the return of Andrew Luck at quarterback for the Colts. It’s still uncertain, whether he will be ready to go; he’s coming off of some off-season surgery. And I think the other big story is the Browns. It’s been a long time since they’ve been winners, and they had a great draft. They have some great young talent. I’m excited to see how those guys perform in their first big game."
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, Monday, Sept. 11, 10:20/9:20c, ESPN
Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 24, 1/12c, CBS