NFL’s First Female Coach Wants Women To Be Empowered By Football

“When I got on the field, I was 6’10.”

Dr. Jen Welter's new book.

Dr. Jen Welter is all about asking: Why not?


In the summer of 2015, Welter became the first woman ever to coach in the NFL, serving as a linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals. The passionate trailblazer also became the first woman to play running back in a men's professional football league in 2014.

During a 14-year career in women’s professional football, Welter led her team to four National Championships and two gold medals as a member of Team USA in the 2010 and 2013 International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s World Championship. The United Nations recognized her as Sports Pioneer of the Year on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and espnW named her one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Sport” in 2015.

Now Welter is focused on increasing opportunities in football for women of all ages, particularly young women in underserved areas. She released her book, “Play Big: Lessons In Being Limitless,” in fall 2017 and her signature women’s program, “A Day in the Life” Camp — which provides women a chance to experience a day as a professional football player — debuted in 2015.

She also operates a range of camps for girls and women through her GRRRidiron Flag Football Camp, as well as a number of community initiatives including her “Camp on the Corner” program. A trained sports psychologist, Welter frequently speaks on empathy building and fair play and serves as a guest NFL analyst on NBC, the NFL Network, and ESPN.

GOOD caught up with her to find out how she’s inspiring the pros and emerging players alike with her wisdom and passion for the game.

What inspired you to start playing football as a young girl — and to become a trailblazer in the sport?

When I started playing football, this was the line you didn’t cross. I remember people saying this was the final frontier for women in sports. I remember having this belief that if that was the final frontier for women in sports, then if we could do this, there was nothing we couldn’t do.

I think that was the same passion that kept a lot of the women I was playing with in the game for so long ... Here was this sport that really has so many great lessons and so many different storylines that go through it, why couldn’t we play?

But there's also something very special about tackling. As somebody who is 5’2” and 130 pounds, when I got on the field, I was 6’10”. There’s this confidence that comes with that.

My first sport was tennis, and I eventually ran up to the roadblock …. They said I would never be strong enough to play pro tennis because I was this tiny, little scrawny child, and yet on football, I could be small, and fast.

What made me different made me special. That is what’s so beautiful. We don't all have to play the game the same way. In fact, it doesn't work if we try and play the game the same way. I don't care what position it is, if you had 11 people who were identical, you would have a very hard time winning.

And I also found a family. Those women made me better in so many ways. And we came together around this common goal.

How did the players and other coaches react when you joined the Cardinals as a coach?

The players were outstanding. They’re fantastic men. Part of why the situation was so good was the credibility of a coach like [Cardinals head coach] Bruce Arians. Everybody knows that if Bruce does something, it's for the right reasons, and that it’s the real deal.

So I definitely had a huge advocate in him being the coach that brought me in. Bruce did something really special when he was thinking about obviously making such a huge outside of the box decision, one that hadn't been done in the 97-year history of the NFL. And I think it's really special.

After he had met me and was confident that it would work ... he went to his player leaders, and told them what he was thinking of doing in bringing in the first female coach — and the players were all for it. And so once he had their buy-in, that’s when he went and moved up the food chain and went to the general manager and owner of the team Bill Bidwill and did all of those things.

But as Bruce knew it, the most important thing is the players. I think that's a lot of the reason why we had such a great situation in Arizona is that the players were really proud to be a part of history.

You call football ‘full contact chess.’ Tell us more about that?

If more people understood the intelligence required in terms of both breaking the game down and what goes into it, and also the very specialized things that you’re doing … It is the one sport that truly requires diversity at its core, because it doesn’t work if everybody looks the same or has the same talent.

That's where you see really the beauty and the chess pieces emerge. If you have, at any one time on that field, 22 very different people — and 11 on each side — are having to work together with their own unique talents and abilities in this masterful choreography, that’s very much like a dance, and that dance doesn't work if one out of 11 on either side doesn’t do their job.

People see it as run, tackle, catch. But there’s so much more that goes into it than that. You have to have guys that are willing to never get the spotlight, who are willing to sacrifice on every single play so that, for example, a running back has a hole to run through or a quarterback will have protection to throw behind.

Those guys on the “O” line, you may never even know their names, and yet the sport doesn’t work without them. The personalities are as diverse as the positions, which makes it so much fun.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

RELATED: A ridiculous dad transformed Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy' into a 3-minute long musical dad joke

While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Viral


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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