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How women are making history during Super Bowl LV and obliterating gender norms

Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off Sunday night, and one way the game will be different is the record number of women participating.

How women are making history during Super Bowl LV and obliterating gender norms

Line judge Sarah Thomas #53 looks on during warmups prior to the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It's that time of year when football fans rejoice. The American sports tradition known as the Super Bowl will kick off tonight, and whether you're a sports fan or not, it will definitely be an interesting event to watch. Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, things will look the same for Super Bowl LV, as they did for its predecessor.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face off Sunday night, and one way the game will be different is the record number of women participating. Lori Locust, assistant defensive line coach for the Buccaneers, Maral Javadifar, assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Buccaneers, and NFL official Sarah Thomas will make history on the sidelines during the biggest event in sports.

"I do look forward to the day that it's no longer newsworthy to be a woman working in the pros.… I hope we get to a point where all people are afforded equal opportunities to work in professional sports because there are a lot of great qualified coaches out there—it doesn't matter your gender, your race, your ethnicity," Javadifar said in a press conference prior to the game. "I'm proud to work for a head coach like Bruce Arians and be part of an organization like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where gender, race, ethnicity, it doesn't matter—they're looking to hire a qualified person."

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Javadifar is one of two female coaches for Tampa Bay and holds a Ph.D. in physical therapy. She is joined by Lori Locust, assistant defensive line coach for Tampa Bay.

"As a 56-year-old woman, I was doing things that guys in their 20s had to do to break into coaching," Locust said.

The NFL has continuously had an inclusion issue since it's inception. When you think about it, most sports do. But that's slowly changing. Last year, Katie Sowers made NFL history as the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. In addition to Sowers, both Jeanie Buss and Becky Hammon made NBA history, with Buss becoming the first female team owner to bring home an NBA championship, and Hammon serving as the first female head coach in an NBA game.

This is incredible progress for an industry previously dominated by men. In partnership with the NFL, Nike announced they will create a $5 million girls flag football grant prior the game. The grant will aim to create a new generation of female athletes, by supporting girls high school teams with gear donations and an online training hub.

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