ESPN announced Tuesday Beth Mowins and ex-Jets and Bills coach Rex Ryan will call the Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos Week 1 Monday Night Football contest, the second game of the doubleheader.
Mowins becomes the first female broadcaster to call a nationally televised game. She is the first woman to perform play-by-play duties for a regular-season NFL game since 1987, when Gayle Sierens called a regional tilt for NBC.
"Beth has been an important voice in our college sports coverage and she has experience calling NFL preseason games. She deserves this opportunity," Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, ESPN events and studio production, said in a statement. "ESPN is committed to putting talented women in high-profile positions and we look forward to Beth and Rex's call of this game on our MNF opening night."
Mowins began as a play-by-play host in 1994. She has regularly called college football games, as well as basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball for ESPN. She has also owned play-by-play duties during Oakland Raiders' preseason games up until the past two years.
"It's exciting," Mowins said on Up To The Minute Live. "Growing up a NFL fan, and I think for all of us, those first notes of the Monday Night Football music, it's a special sound and obviously a very short list of amazing broadcasters that have been a part of those shows. So Rex Ryan and I are real excited for this opportunity and we're both real competitive people. We want to do well at it and we want to be successful at it. So it means an awful lot for me."
Mowins' assignment ends an almost 30-year gap between women calling NFL games.
As Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitch pointed out, NBC wanted to hire Sierens for six games in 1988 after her debut to end the 1987 season, but her local station didn't want her to miss work.
After three decades, Mowins picks up the baton to open the 2017 season.