When US Women’s National Team star Carli Lloyd drilled a 55-yard field goal in front of someone’s mobile phone camera, she sparked a debate. Could a talented female athlete step into the NFL and be a success on the field?

That question was fascinating enough for one NFL team to put a call out to Lloyd and actually invite her to play for them in their final pre-season game on Thursday August 29.

That news came from Lloyd’s trainer, James Galanis, who told Fox Sports that Lloyd – an iconic figure in the United States’ women’s team over the last decade – was invited to kick for an unnamed NFL team on Thursday.

“One was willing to put her on the roster,” he said.

“She was told (she could) play on Thursday. I don’t want to say who it is, but she is playing Thursday with the national team, so that was the conflict.”

The four-time World Cup winner was invited to practice kicks with the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s joint session with the Philadelphia Eagles, and it seems the footage of her long-range field goal was enough to convince one franchise to offer her an unprecedented opportunity.

It led to NFL Hall of Fame executive Gil Brandt to tweet: “Honestly, I don’t think it will be long before we see a woman break through this NFL barrier. I’d give her an honest tryout if I were, say, the Bears.”

Lloyd herself told Sports Illustrated: I’ve definitely got some inquiries, I’ve definitely got people talking. Anything’s possible but right now I’m strictly a soccer player and we’ll see what the future holds.”

When it comes to leg strength and pure kicking talent, Lloyd (and a host of soccer players) have the ability to step in and be a proficient NFL kicker. And it’s true female players have featured in college-level games and other professional leagues. 

© AFP / Elsa | Getty Images

But once you throw in the physical aspect of the game at the very highest level and understand the fact that broken plays are a reality, it’s unlikely at best that we’ll ever see a female player like Lloyd on the field for an NFL game.

Kicking may be a set-piece situation that more often than not simply requires the kicker to step up to the ball and fire it through the posts, or downfield for a kick-off.

That, in isolation, is certainly something Lloyd would have no problem in doing. However, kickers often find themselves in the open field, and that’s where the idea starts to run into trouble.

The thought of Lloyd, who stands at just 5ft 7in and likely weighs less than 130lbs, in the open field with players who weigh more than twice her body weight would raise alarm bells.

New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski © AFP / Al Bello

Even NFL kickers, who by regular standards are still big, strong athletes, are often swatted aside by special teams players in the NFL. If Lloyd ever found herself in that situation in the open field, she would be at serious risk of injury. And that would be a terrible look for the sport.

It’s for that reason alone that we’ll likely never see a female player on the field in a regular-season NFL game. 

When it comes to the ability to put the pigskin through the posts, Lloyd certainly has the leg talent to succeed as a kicker and the prospect of a female player suiting up and competing as part of an NFL team would represent a huge moment in the debate over sporting equality.

But in the NFL, where size, speed and power are more prevalent than in almost any other sporting league in the world – and in a sport where concussions have become a major talking point – it just isn’t something that would ever get past the game’s administrators.

Source: RT

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