NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans and the NFL recently partnered to host the first Titans Women's Officiating Academy as part of the Women Officiating Now initiative.
Nearly 50 ladies attended the free clinic that included a panel of six ladies with experience at multiple levels of football, video review sessions with Titans safety Michael Griffin and on-field instruction.
|Shannon Eastin, from left, Amanda Sauer, Krystal Appelaniz, Samantha Rapoport, Samantha Davis, Jennifer Berke and Artenzia Young-Seigler participated in a panel and provided on-field instruction during the first Titans Women's Officiating Academy. Slideshow.|
"At the league level, we want to collaborate with teams as much as possible, and for something as unique and amazing as this opportunity would be, not only because they're females but at the youth level, student athletes, it was a no-brainer," said program coordinator Vanessa Siverls-Streater. "We were really excited to bring this opportunity to the Nashville area."
W.O.N. is an educational outreach program for ladies who are passionate about football and have an interest in becoming an official. Participants learned about the paths that panelists took to get involved in the sport and their in-game experiences. Siverls-Streater coordinated the event with Titans director of player development Tina Tuggle.
The panel included Shannon Eastin, who last year became the first female to officiate an NFL game as a replacement official, as well as Artenzia Young-Seigler, Amanda Sauer, Jennifer Berke, Samantha Davis and Krystal Appelaniz. They worked their way through multiple levels and want to encourage others who are passionate about similar careers.
"They are definitely trailblazers. The women you saw are within our pipeline," Siverls-Streater said. "Whenever I present the opportunity for them to get involved, I get emails, phone calls, 'Yes, I'm available. Whatever you need, I'll do it.' "
Eastin traveled to Nashville from Arizona, where she now works the clock on game days for the Cardinals. She said it is great to see other ladies interested in officiating and wants to help as much as possible.
"I am blown away at the amount of women that are interested in football or interested in football officiating. That is super exciting to me," Eastin said. "I've always had a passion to see young officials come up and particularly women if I can impact women in any way whatsoever, I'm definitely willing to help move that cause forward."
Eastin said she was honored to have had the opportunity to work an NFL game and appreciated the way that NFL staff, players, coaches and fans received her at the training camps she worked and in the stadium.
"It was just amazing. It is the most incredible league around," Eastin said. "It's run with such class and to be a part of it was a dream come true."
Ann Turner from Franklin, and Taylor Geffre, a sophomore in high school from Smyrna, said they have great interest in football and enjoyed learning at the clinic and meeting the panelists who have helped create other opportunities for females.
Eastin said that was her primary goal.
"I was hoping by getting in there that it would show positively for women," Eastin said. "Obviously, I didn't want to go in and have it be a negative experience and not do well, but I believe for myself and women that it was a positive and step in the right direction, and I hope myself and 10 other women in the near future have the same opportunity in the National Football League.
"If 10 women make it into the National Football League, I'm sure the cream of the crop will rise and the ones that are meant to be there will stay, just like the men that get in, if it's not meant to be, then everything works out, but just for them to have that opportunity to prove themselves at that level, as I've had the opportunity to prove myself is wonderful," Eastin added. "I just hope the door opens for many more women in the near future."