The Detroit Lions Week 3 game at Ford Field against the Atlanta Falcons was a historic
one. The Lions became the first team to host a"Women in Football" dedicated to celebrating the countless ways in which women impact the game of football. The Women in Football was presented by Comerica Bank.
"There are few things I am more passionate about than Women in Football," said Detroit Lions Principal Owner & Chair Sheila Hamp. "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."
Lions Women in Football gameday elements included 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 featuring NFL Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sam Rapoport, Founder/CEO of the Women's National Football Conference (WNFC, winningest Head Coach in women's tackle football history; Hall Of Famer, 7x National Champion and 2x USA Football Team Captain, 3x USA Gold Medalist Odessa "OJ" Jenkins, OL for Royal Oak High School football team the past four seasons Elly Finch and the NFL Vice President, Club Marketing Taryn Hutt. The panel was moderated by Lion's Chief People and Diversity Officer, Lindsay Verstegen.
The Ford Field pregame show was co-hosted by Detroit, native (Toni) 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, 2x Hall of Famer, current pro football player for the Women's National Football Conference (Los Angeles Legends) and is an aspiring NFL analyst and broadcaster. She will also serve as the honorary captain of the game.
The day ended with a Lions victory and a massive surprise for Odessa "OJ" Jenkins when NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders met her on the field and presented her with a check to support the development of women's tackle football in the WNFC. The Detroit Lions organization graciously contributed $15,000 to the WNFC.