Like Trask, Brownson said: “I look forward to the days where we stop talking about how ‘she’s the first this’ and we’ve accomplished all those things, and women can just naturally fit into these coaching roles, scouting roles and operational roles.”
Trask, who left the Raiders in 2013 after nearly 30 years in various jobs with the franchise and now serves as an analyst for CBS, recalled only a few moments when people questioned her role because of her gender.
Once, she said, a reporter called out to Gene Upshaw, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, at the end of a long practice: “Hey Gene, what’s it like having a girl on the team?”
Trask recalled that Upshaw, who became the longtime leader of the N.F.L. players’ union, spun around and replied: “She’s not a girl. She’s a Raider.”
Al Davis, the Raiders’ former team owner who hired Trask, also hired Tom Flores, the league’s first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl, and Art Shell, the first African-American head coach in the N.F.L. since the 1920s.
“This was someone who hired without regard to race, gender or any other individuality, which has no bearing on whether someone can do a job,” Trask said of Davis, who initially hired her as an intern in 1983, when the team was based in Los Angeles and she was a law student who cold-called the Raiders’ headquarters seeking a job. “And he was doing this decades and decades before this was discussed as a subject within the football world, the sports world and much of the world in general.”
Mold-breaking employees seem to be concentrated in certain organizations, such as the Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The Bucs will have a two female coaches on the field — Lori Locust, a defensive line assistant, and Maral Javadifar, an assistant strength and conditioning coach — just a year after the San Francisco 49ers’ Katie Sowers became the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. Also on Sunday, Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate the title game.