Today, a woman will do the play-by-play broadcast of a National Football League game for the first time.
A nation -- or, at least, the 10 percent of the country that will get NBC's broadcast of the Seattle-at-Kansas City game -- will turn its eyes and ears to Gayle Sierens. Sierens, 33, a veteran Tampa, Fla., sportscaster and news anchor, will be joined by analyst Dave Rowe.
Even though it's a one-shot deal for Sierens, she is confident NBC's gesture is indicative of a new network attitude toward women as sportscasters.
"It is significant," she said. "The door's been open by NBC, and I want to push that door open a little wider and keep it open."
Sierens was first contacted by NBC Sports' executive producer, Michael Weisman, about doing NFL play-by-play in August. Her only prior play-by-play experience was with soccer and equestrian events. She auditioned for NBC, then did three practice-game broadcasts with Rowe.
"It will be a typical first game with mistakes," Weisman said. "She's not going to be as good as Dick Enberg or Pat Summerall, but they weren't as good on their first games, either . . . There will not have ever been a first game that has drawn this much attention."
The game will be carried in parts of nine states.