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Beth Mowins to make history during Chargers-Denver game

Beth Mowins admits all the talk about her feels a bit "awkward."

"I tell people I'm getting kind of sick of hearing about me," Mowins said. "I'm just ready for the game to start."

Mowins, though, understands why the focus is on her, because she isn't calling just any old game. She will become only the second woman, and the first in 37 years, to do play-by-play of a NFL regular-season telecast when she teams with Rex Ryan for the Los Angeles Chargers-Denver game, the second half of an ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader on Sept. 11. Gayle Sierens did a game for NBC in 1987.

This isn't a one-shot deal for Mowins. She also will call NFL games for CBS, beginning with Cleveland-Indianapolis on Sept. 24.

Mowins, 50, hardly is new to covering big-time football. She has been a long-time play-by-play voice on college football for ESPN. She also isn't a stranger to the NFL. She has done local TV coverage of the Oakland Raiders' preseason games since 2015.

However, this is different. Mowins already felt the magnitude of the Monday Night Football stage while working a recent ESPN rehearsal telecast with Ryan.

"It was really cool to hear the Monday Night Football theme music," Mowins said. "Mike Tirico and Sean McDonough (ESPN's play-by-play men for MNF) told me about the adrenaline rush that you feel on Monday night. As someone who has followed the NFL my whole life, it's going to be special to be part of this broadcast."

Mowins is trying to downplay her role. She insists that the game "is about the players, not the announcer."

Yet Mowins realizes the potential impact her presence will have on young women who might want to follow in her footsteps.

"I know the significance of the moment," Mowins said. "It is important to see a woman talk about football on TV. It is important for them to be able to chase their dreams."

Mowins had her own role model when she saw Phyllis George work on NFL Today in the 1970s. It is one of the reasons why she is looking forward to working for CBS.

Mowins gravitated toward broadcasting at an early age. She recalled using a "Mr. Microphone" to call her brothers' backyard football games.

After playing college basketball at Lafayette, she went to grad school at Syracuse with the intent of going into broadcasting.

"I never had a fallback," Mowins said. "There was nothing else I wanted to do." Mowins joined ESPN in 1994, calling various sports. She started working on college football in 2005.

Mowins credits the Raiders for enabling her to gain NFL experience. The entire package has led to her calling NFL regular-season games in 2017.

"Beth has been an important voice in our college sports coverage and she has experience calling NFL preseason games," said Stephanie Druley, Senior Vice President, ESPN events and studio production. "She deserves this opportunity."

With opportunity comes scrutiny, which always is intense for women in sports. It figures to be elevated even higher for Mowins doing a Monday night football game. Mowins, though, says she can't worry about any critics.

"The best piece of advice I've received is, 'Be true to who I am,'" Mowins said. Mowins says she is heartened by seeing other women starting to emerge in sports play-by-play. She hopes to see the pipeline continue to grow.

Mowins knows those women will be watching her make history in a few weeks in Denver. Yet when it comes to the attention, she again tries to keep it in perspective.

"I don't want to be that person who says, 'Hey, look at me. Look at what I did,'" Mowins said. "If I am blazing a trail, I want to say, 'Come check this out. Look how much further we can go.'"

Extra points: Tony Romo will make his CBS debut Friday when he and Jim Nantz call the Kansas City-Seattle game. His first regular-season game will be Oakland at Tennessee during Week 1....Fox has decided to go with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis as a two-man crew. Jay Cutler was supposed to be the third person in the booth prior to his decision to play for Miami....Mark Schlereth joins Fox as a game analyst this year. He will team with Dick Stockton, who is in his 24th season calling the NFL for Fox....Hall of Famer receiver James Lofton is a new game analyst for CBS. He will work with Andrew Catalon....Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson will appear as an analyst on Fox Sports 1's various NFL studio shows....NFL Redzone fans won't have to wait until the regular season to see their favorite channel. There will be a preseason edition of Redzone Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Welcome back, Scott Hansen....NFL Network also will have a preseason edition of NFL GameDay Live Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, featuring Rhett Lewis, Patrick Claybon, Terrell Davis and Heath Evans.

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