Detroit Lions to Host NFL’s First Women in Football Game Sunday

The Detroit Lions announced that this Sunday’s game at Ford Field against the Atlanta Falcons will be themed “Women in Football” to celebrate the countless ways in which women impact the game of football.
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Ford Field in Detroit
Ford Field in Detroit will host the first Women in Football-themed game this Sunday. // Stock photo

The Detroit Lions announced that this Sunday’s game at Ford Field against the Atlanta Falcons will be themed “Women in Football” to celebrate the countless ways in which women impact the game of football.

The Women in Football game will be presented by Comerica Bank.

“There are few things I am more passionate about than Women in Football,” says Sheila Hamp, principal owner and chair of the Lions. “My mother, my sisters, and I are thrilled that our organization will be the first team to honor the contributions that women have, and are continuing to make, to the game of football on every level. It’s an honor to stand alongside these women not only on this gameday, but every day.”

This Sunday during pregame, at halftime, and throughout the game, the Lions will have programming that shows the team’s commitment to elevating women as players, coaches, and leaders in football, and demonstrates how critical women are to drive the sport forward.

Lions Women in Football gameday elements will include a pregame panel discussion attended by participants of the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons girls flag football programs on the importance of inclusiveness within football, with a focus on getting more girls in the game. It will feature NFL Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sam Rapoport; Odessa “OJ” Jenkins, founder/CEO of the Women’s National Football Conference; Elly Finch, OL for the Royal Oak High School football team; and Taryn Hutt, vice president of club marketing for the NFL. The panel will be moderated by NFL Network’s MJ Acosta-Ruiz.

The Ford Field pregame show will be co-hosted by Detroit-native Antoinette Harris alongside Detroit Lions Team Reporter Dannie Rogers. Harris is the first woman to receive a full college football scholarship as a skill position player, was a four-sport college athlete, two-time Hall of Famer, current pro football player for the Women’s National Football Conference, and is an aspiring NFL analyst and broadcaster. She also will serve as the honorary captain of the game.

During the National Anthem, Lions Loyal Members will be on-field for a special Women in Football flag ceremony. Approximately one hundred young women who participated in the Detroit Lions High School Girls Flag Football pilot league will stand in front of the Lions sideline. Eleven participants in the Atlanta Falcons Girls Flag Football program and their coaches will be represented while standing in front of Falcons players on their sideline.

At halftime the Lions will recognize the Detroit Lions High School Girls Flag Football pilot league and recap the best moments from this past spring’s matchups with team members from each of the four schools who participated in the program assembled on the field with their coaches. Each team/school will be presented with an award commemorating their status as one of the “founding four” and receive a grant from the Detroit Lions to fund growth of their individual girls flag football program. Additionally, the Lions will honor the work from the women on their full-time staff with a tribute video.

Sunday’s presentation of Hometown Hero will feature former United States Army Military Intelligence Officer Christine Dorfler, currently serving as the NFL’s chief financial officer, to assist with the on-field recognition of the game’s honoree who was selected for their courageous military service to our nation.

Threaded throughout the matchup in-stadium, the Lions will honor Michigan women doing exceptional work to grow the sport and encourage youth participation in football, particularly amongst girls. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson will participate as a representative of the State of Michigan’s Task Force on Women in Sports, which she chairs.  With on-field awards and recognitions, the Detroit Lions will be giving $50,000 to the community with the intention to get more girls in the game.

For more information about Detroit Lions Women in Football game visit detroitlions.com.

To read the cover story of the September-October DBusiness magazine about the resurgent Detroit Lions, visit here.