The NFL in 2021 has women who are owners, assistant coaches, on-field officials and front office executives, among other positions. Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp can remember when that was very much not the case.
Hamp, whose father William Clay Ford bought the Lions in 1963, said that the NFL commissioner at the time told her that there simply were no jobs for a woman in the NFL — even a woman whose father was a team owner.
“When I graduated from college all I wanted to do was go work for the NFL. I loved football and grew up with it,” Hamp said, via the Associated Press. “I actually knew the commissioner, Pete Rozelle. My dad had taken me to league meetings and I had an opportunity to sit next to him at dinner and we kind of became friends and he was impressed about how much a girl new about football. When I graduated, I went to see him, and he really tried and he liked me, but he couldn’t think of one thing a woman could do in the NFL.”
Hamp was speaking at the league’s fifth annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum, where she said that any career in football is a career women should pursue.
“The sky is the limit for anything females want to do,” Hamp said.