Meet Jane Chastain: First woman to provide colour commentary for an NFL game

Meet Jane Chastain: First woman to provide colour commentary for an NFL game

As part of our #WomenInNFL blog series, we showcase the incredible females who led the way for women in the league, and this week I’d like you to meet Jane Chastain.

Who is Jane Chastain?

Jane Chastain was the first woman sportscaster on the local and national level in the United States.

How it all started?

Jane began her sportscasting career 1963 when she heard that WAGA-TV was casting about for a young girl to play the part of a football coach and make weekly predictions. She landed the job and turned out to be good at it and because of this her fame spread.

The following year a Toronto newspaper asked her to predict the winner in the Grey Cup. She successfully picked the underdog to win. Slippery Rock State College invited her to their Pennsylvania campus for a season preview where they awarded her letters in five sports and made her an honorary member of the coaching staff. Jane began doing a scoreboard show after the games and eventually became the weekend sports anchor.

While in Miami working as a sports reporter, she did a daily radio show, “Girls Rules,” explaining the finer points in sports, which was syndicated to 205 stations in all contiguous 48 states. She gained the respect of Dolphin coach Don Shula, who admitted that he was sceptical of her ability when he first arrived, but she soon gained his respect.

The first female NFL announcer

CBS hired her in 1974 to provide commentary for various televised sports events. During the CBS National Football League telecast of a game on October 13, 1974, she became the first female NFL announcer, brought in as a commentator alongside Don Criqui and Irv Cross.

The mail and telephone calls ran heavily against her. Bob Wussler, CBS vice president in charge of sports, admitted that he made a mistake by using her on a major team sport and not introducing her slowly. “The biggest problem was that she was the first.”

Chastain was used on occasional NFL broadcasts the rest of the 1974 season and worked the college Sun Bowl Game that season.

What is Jane Chastain up to now?

Nowadays, Jane is a current conservative political writer and commentator. During the 1980s, Chastain began turning her attention toward politics. She hosted a radio program, What Washington Doesn’t Want You to Know, as well as served on several boards and commissions. She writes for conservative-leaning online publications such as WorldNetDaily, and has written several books about politics.

Liz Bhandari

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons, and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards and for her own website, NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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