CANTON– A 15-year-old boy walked through the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum on Friday, checking out memorabilia and bronze busts before stopping to snap a photo of Jen Welter’s blue and pink jersey to send to his younger sister .
“She’s gonna love it” said Zach Fleming, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in town with his father for the first time. “I want her to know that girls can be in the Hall of Fame too.”
Welter became the first woman to coach an NFL game in 2015 when she joined the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant trainee for training camp and preseason.
The shirt, pants and trainers she wore on the sidelines in all four matches in the exhibit are on display in a new exhibit in the museum’s Pro Football Today area.
The Texas Revolution jersey worn by Welter, his Dallas Diamonds helmet and a commemorative helmet signed by the Australia team during his tenure as head coach of the national team are also on display in a separate glass enclosure.
The “The impact of women on football” the exhibit opened ahead of this week’s enshrinement festivities. It features artifacts from women who have played, coached, refereed and broadcast the game at its highest level.
“There are a lot of women involved in professional football and we wanted to recognize their contributions and tell their stories,” said Ben Ankrum, assistant curator at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “We had other exhibitions featuring women in professional football and it got to the point where we could do something bigger and more permanent.”
Other exhibits include:
≤The jacket worn by Callie Brownson and a signed ball from the game in which she became the first woman to serve as a post coach for an NFL regular season game with the Cleveland Browns on November 29, 2020. Brownson filled the role of tight ends coach when Drew Petzing did not travel with the team after his wife gave birth to the couple’s first child.
≤Katie Sowers’ 49ers polo shirt from the 2017 season, when she became the second woman to serve as a full-time NFL coach. San Francisco hired Sowers as an assistant for the 217 season. Kathryn Smith was the first full-time female coach with the Buffalo Bills in 2016.
≤The shoes that Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust wore when she and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl after Tampa Bay’s win over Kansas City on February 7, 2021.
≤Maia Chaka’s referee uniform and penalty flags. Chaka became the first black woman to referee an NFL game in 2021.
≤ Six-time national champion quarterback Allison Cahill’s signed jersey from her MVP performance in the Boston Renegades victory in the 2021 Women’s Professional Football Alliance National Championship game played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
≤Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer’s helmets from 2018, when they became the first all-female broadcast team to call an NFL regular season game.