New Podcast Will Feature Women in the NFL Who Are Breaking the 'Grass' Ceiling

"This isn't necessarily about women or feminism. This is about considering the entire talent pool so we get the best people in the NFL," host Sam Rapoport tells PEOPLE

A new podcast will highlight women breaking ground in the NFL.

Earnin' It: The NFL's Forward Progress, produced by iHeart Media, will feature conversations hosted by Sam Rapoport to spotlight women who are leading in various roles within the league and on the field.

"We've seen a lot of progress with women on the business side, but this podcast focuses on women in football roles, which are roles that are traditionally held by men only like coaching, scouting and officiating," Rapoport tells PEOPLE (the TV show!)'s Kay Adams.

Rapoport serves as the league's senior director of diversity and inclusion with some of her accomplishments including the creation of the NFL's Women's Careers in Football Forum. "This is part of my role is to help enfranchise women into the sport," she says.

Some of those women include Washington Football Team assistant running backs coach Jennifer King, Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and NFL official Maia Chaka.


Jane Skinner Goodell, who co-produces the podcast, says each episode will tell "a story about change" in the NFL. "The pace of change is so mind-boggling," says Jane, who is married to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"If I had said to you five or six years ago, 'Oh, guess what? The Super Bowl in 2021, you're going to see three women on the field, one officiating and two winning a Super Bowl.' You would've thought I was crazy, but it's so fast," she continues. "And what better way to tell the story than to have the person who really is responsible for that change?"

Rapoport's football background is extensive.

"I grew up playing flag touch and tackle football. I started in the NFL in 2003 and I was fortunate to develop a relationship with Commissioner Goodell before he was commissioner," she says. "I looked around and I saw thousands of women who know the game, who love the game, who want to get in, but they have no path in."

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Rapoport says she wanted to bring change to the NFL and pitched Roger the idea for a pipeline to hire women into traditionally male positions. "There's no linear path into football. Men know how to get into football, women do not. So we decided to create, to bridge that gap between these women and that entry point into these football jobs," she explains.

Speaking about the "boys' club" mentality that some may have in the sport, Rapoport says she would tell those men: "You're going to die out."

"That's the truth. The reality is that this is what the NFL is going to look like, because that's what our leader [Goodell] is saying that he expects, right? So this is who we are going to be. And if you don't buy into it, you're going to be left behind," she says of more women getting involved in the league.

"What we talk about in this podcast is that this isn't necessarily about women or feminism. This is about considering the entire talent pool so we get the best people in the NFL. We want our teams to win, right? [Roger] wants the NFL to succeed, and that's how you succeed — if you consider everyone," Rapoport shares.

"If you get that whole talent pool and you give them an opportunity to succeed, what happens is that women start getting jobs in the NFL. That's what we've seen in the last five years," she adds.

Commissioner Roger is the first guest of the podcast.

A TV series focusing on women in the NFL also titled Earnin' It: The NFL's Forward Progress, will start airing on NBC in January.

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