Support for female coaches grows amongst NFL fans

Coach Lori Locust with Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coach Lori Locust with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Over the last few seasons, there has been a greater female presence in and around the NFL. The number of females in coaching and administrative positions has continued to rise as part of the NFL's efforts for inclusion.

Katie Sowers became the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl in February 2020. She is an assistant offensive coach for the San Francisco 49ers. This past season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl. Also at this year's Super Bowl, Sarah Thomas became the first female referee to officiate a Super Bowl.

This offseason, the Denver Broncos hired Kelly Kleine as the Executive Director of Football Operations/Special Advisor to the General Manager. She became the highest-ranked female employee in an NFL team's scouting division.

But, with all of these recent hires and the change being made across the NFL, where do fans stand on the topic?

How do NFL fans feel about female coaches?

Sports Betting Dime recently surveyed over 1,500 NFL fans across the country. Fans were asked questions about teams hiring women as coaches.

In the first part of the survey, 92.8% of NFL fans said that they would support a female head coach. 67.8% of NFL fans however said that they would be more willing to support a female coach if their favorite player supported it. This shows how much influence athletes have on fans.

Unfortunately, the results of the survey weren't all positive. 31.5% of fans said that they feel that female coaches are less qualified than male coaches. 10.8% went as far as to say that female coaches need to be held to higher standards than male coaches.

As shown in the chart below, while the percentage of people that support women in the NFL is high, some fans don't believe those female coaches would be successful.

This is a surprising outcome, given that each of the past two Super Bowls has had at least one female coach. In addition to the two female coaches that won the Super Bowl, four others coached in the NFL playoffs earlier this year.

Credit: Sports Betting Dime
Credit: Sports Betting Dime

Some NFL fans aren't even aware that their favorite team has a female coach on staff. They are simply indifferent to the idea of their team employing a female coach.

97.8% of the Pittsburgh Steelers fans who were surveyed said they would be supportive of a female coach. The Steelers were pioneers in this regard. They hired Ariko Iso in 2002, the first female trainer ever in the NFL. The team is also known for having a significantly larger number of female fans compared to other franchises.

With a sample size of about 45 to 119 fans per team, the results of the survey for the reach team could fluctuate. But, it's worth noting that the Chicago Bears were last on the list with 89.1% of their fans saying they would support a female head coach.

The full list of NFL teams is shown below:

Support of nfl fans for female coaches infographic

In terms of the future, an impressive 94.3% of fans thought those female coaches would inspire the next generation of young girls to be more involved in both sports and coaching alike.

As more and more women continue to be hired in the NFL, the next generation of young female athletes and fans will also want to follow that path. Inclusion and support from the fan base of every team will be integral in creating this movement and change.

Edited by Jay Lokegaonkar
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