What’s it like to be one of the women trying to break the glass ceiling of the NFL’s coaching ranks?
It ain’t for the faint of heart.
The glimpse provided during the Monday night game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills was ugly. Luckily, a woman was right there to shut it down.
Kathryn Smith, the first woman to be hired as a full-time assistant coach in the NFL, is the Bills’ special teams quality control coach and — as she trotted off the field after Buffalo’s loss — a Seahawks fans in CenturyLink Stadium hollered: “Hey waitress! Waitress! Waitress! Can I have a Pepsi, please? Waitress!”
It was mean. It was misogynistic. And it really shouldn’t happen in 2016. But the reaction of the woman who was with the fan, wearing an “Our House” No. 1 jersey, was priceless and perfect.
Seahawks fan calls Bills ST quality control coach Kathryn Smith a waitress, asks to get him a Pepsi, gets smacked by the woman next to him. pic.twitter.com/LFguGYvBzz
— Prescott Rossi (@PrescottRossi) November 8, 2016
Smith, 30, came to her job the old-fashioned way — she worked her way up. She spent 12 seasons working for the New York Jets, first as a game day/special events intern, then a college scouting intern, then a player personnel assistant and finally assistant to the head coach in 2014. That head coach was Rex Ryan, who’s now leading the Bills, and he brought her to Buffalo.
“They get along famously,” Robert Smith, Kathryn’s father, told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “She likes him, he likes her. The fact that he asked her to go wherever he ended up is a big vote of confidence for her. She enjoys working for him very much.”
Ryan called the incident “ridiculous” Tuesday. “I get ripped all the time, and that’s cool. I’m free game,” he said. “I’ve been called everything known to man, and that’s okay. I’m the head coach, and that’s part of the gig, no doubt about it. But I think [insulting Smith is] really classless.”