Gayle Sierens, a 33-year-old Tampa, Fla., news anchor, will become the first woman to do play-by-play on an NFL game when she works the Dec. 27 Seattle-at-Kansas City game, NBC Sports' executive producer, Michael Weisman, announced yesterday.

Sierens, who has no prior football play-by-play experience, has worked two practice games the past month with veteran NBC analyst Dave Rowe and will have one more practice telecast Sunday (St. Louis at Tampa Bay). She again will be joined by Rowe on her network debut, a regional telecast that will go to about 10 percent of the country -- mainly midwestern and western states.

Sierens, expecting a baby in July, has been hired for just for one telecast. But Weisman said, "We look forward to Gayle working more games for us next year."

"It could be a one-shot deal if I go out and fall on my face, just like it could be a one-shot deal for any guy," said Sierens, who works for NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa.

Sierens' NFL assignment continues NBC Sports' highly publicized efforts of late to add women to its on-air lineup. The network recently hired longtime ESPN sportscaster Gayle Gardner, who will begin at NBC Jan. 1.

Weisman contacted Sierens, who worked as a sportscaster for 10 years before moving to news last year, in August about the possibility of doing play-by-play. Sierens, whose only professional play-by-play experience is with soccer and equestrian events, did an audition tape for NBC before working the practice games.

"She's at the point where she can do a competent, professional telecast," Weisman said. "She needs to work on mechanics -- timing, pacing -- but her knowledge of football is very good . . . Gayle has worked extremely hard this past month, and she's ready."

Weisman was asked about the possible reaction of the typical viewer who tunes in to the Seahawks-Chiefs game Dec. 27 and unexpectedly hears a woman.

"The first reaction will be shock," he said. "It takes a little getting used to, maybe the first series or two. My own first reaction listening in the {production} truck was shock. You're taken aback for just a while . . . But when women first started anchoring newscasts, they also got a lot of reaction from viewers who were uncomfortable.

"And on some of the early morning news shows, it wasn't that long ago that all a woman did was open a refrigerator. Now, they're introducing heads of state."