Hannah Storm, Part Of First All-Women NFL Broadcast Team, Is Set For Kickoff

Sep 27, 2018
Originally published on September 27, 2018 11:15 am

Since Amazon announced Tuesday that sportscasters Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer would become the first all-women team to call NFL games, the pair has faced public backlash.

Displeased sports fans have been critical of their knowledge of football as well as their qualifications as commentators — and complained that Amazon had hired the women to call games. Storm is an anchor at ESPN's SportsCenter and Kremer, an award recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for broadcasting, is a correspondent at the NFL Network.

In an interview with Morning Edition's Rachel Martin, Storm responded.

"I think it's extremely myopic to think that ... the NFL or really any sport is only for men," she says.


Interview Highlights

On the significance of the moment

Two women have never called an NFL game, much less an entire season. So we're actually calling 11 games on Thursday night football, and I think it's something whose time has come, but something that feels forward thinking as well.

On criticism that women don't make good sports commentators

It's funny, for some reason sports has been considered like this bastion of male superiority or some kind of secret language that women couldn't understand. And the NFL in particular, you know, the broadcasts are extremely technical and to some men and women it kind of sounds like they're speaking a different language. I think that the rap if you will against women ... is "Oh, well, they didn't play football," which is absolutely ridiculous. If you are smart, if you're a good communicator, if you're very, very hard working and you do your homework, you can learn anything.

On bringing her own perspective to sportscasting

Amazon wanted to hire us; not two women as a gimmick. They specifically wanted to hire me and Andrea because of our years of experience; the breadth of what we do. I cover all sports. Andrea's in the Hall of Fame for football. It's a perspective of what we think is interesting. So it's not maybe the traditional play-by-play, x's and o's, 'Let's go down to the sideline.' This is that but it's a lot of storytelling mixed in.

That's really what fascinates me; that's the reason I got into sports. What makes these people tick, you know? What makes them achieve at such a high level? What do they overcome?

So we don't feel that we necessarily have to describe every single thing that you're seeing on TV as we're talking. We might be having a discussion, and you know, we'll also catch you up on the action but you're also watching it so you can see it with your eyes.

On what to expect Thursday night when the Los Angeles Rams play the Minnesota Vikings

So the Rams are a total juggernaut. They've got so much talent on both sides of the ball — top five offense and defense. And Minnesota is coming off this really embarrassing, huge upset at home to the Buffalo Bills. So now they're going to roll into L.A. Coliseum with this team that's on an absolute high – that some people are saying is the best team in football. So two incredible coaches, so many storylines and its going to be a blast.

Reena Advani and Jacob Pinter edited and produced this story for broadcast.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If you tune into Thursday Night Football via Amazon Prime tonight, you'll be able to watch something unprecedented. I'm not talking about what could happen on the field. For the first time, two women will call the game. ESPN's Hannah Storm and the NFL Network's Andrea Kremer are the first all-women broadcast team. Hannah Storm joins us this morning to mark the moment. Hannah, thanks for being here.

HANNAH STORM: It's great to be with you. Thanks.

MARTIN: Congratulations. I mean, as much as people like to say, you know, this probably should have happened a long time ago, nevertheless, it is significant. Right?

STORM: It is. Two women have never called an NFL game, much less, an entire season. So we're actually calling 11 games on Thursday Night Football, and I think it's something that whose time has come, but something that feels forward-thinking, as well. So it's a fantastic opportunity, and it's really something that we couldn't pass up.

MARTIN: What has been the rap against women in this role? I mean, you started out a long time ago. You've broken all kinds of glass ceilings. What negative feedback did you get?

STORM: It's funny. For some reason, sports has been considered, like, this bastion of male superiority or some kind of secret language that women couldn't understand. And the NFL in particular, you know, the broadcasts are extremely technical, and to some men and women it kind of sounds like they're speaking a different language. I think that the rap, if you will, against women, to answer your question, has been, well, they didn't play football. Which is absolutely ridiculous.

MARTIN: Right.

STORM: If you are smart, if you're a good communicator, if you're very, very hardworking and you do your homework, you can learn anything. And I think it's, you know, extremely myopic to think that the NFL or really any sport is only for men.

MARTIN: So let me ask you, though. A lot of the marketing around this move is that you and Andrea are going to offer something new, a different perspective. What does that mean?

STORM: Definitely - because I think it's our perspective. Amazon wanted to hire us, not two women as a gimmick. They specifically wanted to hire me and Andrea because of our years of experience, the breadth of what we do. I cover all sports. Andrea is in the Hall of Fame for football. It's a perspective of what we think is interesting. So it's not maybe the traditional play-by-play, X's and O's, let's go down to the sideline. This is that, but it's a lot of storytelling mixed in. That's really what fascinates me. That's the reason I got into sports. What makes these people tick? You know, what makes them achieve at such a high level? What did they overcome? So we don't feel that we have to necessarily describe every single thing that you're seeing on TV as we're talking. We might be having a discussion and, you know, we'll also catch you up on the action. But you're also, you know, watching it so you can see it with your eyes.

MARTIN: So when you call this game tonight, it's going to be the Los Angeles Rams against the Minnesota Vikings.

STORM: Right.

MARTIN: Can you tell us what to look out for?

STORM: I mean, it's going to be really interesting. So the Rams are a total juggernaut. They've got so much talent on both sides of the ball. Minnesota is coming off this really embarrassing, huge upset at home to the Buffalo Bills. So now they're going to roll into the LA Coliseum with this team that's on an absolute high that some people are saying is the best team in football. So two incredible coaches, so many storylines. And it's going to be a blast. Too, arguably, what looked like an NFC championship preview, perhaps.

MARTIN: OK. We'll be watching. ESPN's Hannah Storm. She and Andrea Kremer, you can watch them tonight on Amazon Prime calling Thursday Night Football. First time two women have done that. Hannah, it was great to talk with you. Thanks.

STORM: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.