Following Illinois’ 38-35 victory over Northwestern Saturday, ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Beth Mowins was given praise by many viewers for her call of the game. “It was brutal,” said Illini fan Gary Wendell. “She was as bad at calling the game as most of the men at ESPN.”

Twitter was abuzz with comments such as “I can’t tell who’s worse: Beth Mowins or Craig James,” “At least it’s a chick ruining an ESPN for once,” and “Mowins probably messes up cooking dinner for her man, too.”

Mowins is one of two females who call college football games for the network along with Pam Ward, to whom she gives a lot of credit.

“Pam paved the way for me to really suck at what I do,” she said. “She’s a real trailblazer as far as giving women the opportunity to annoy and anger viewers during a game.”

ESPN prides itself on being an equal-opportunity employer and integrating women into its broadcasts. “We feel in this day and age,” said spokesperson Ted Van Eiden, “that women can make an equal amount of awful contributions to our sports broadcasts as their male counterparts.”

Some viewers even believe the work of Mowins could have a long-lasting impact. “That [expletive] is going to ruin games for a long time,” said Northwestern alum Patrick Kemp. “It’s not like ESPN will get rid of her because they love to pretend that women are important in sports.”

And Mowins knows she is a role model. “I hope what I do can inspire girls out there to go into sports broadcasting so they, too, can distract the audience with their voices and make their broadcast partners feel awkward.”

Tim Baffoe