Lauren Silberman became the first female to try out at an NFL regional scouting combine over the weekend in New Jersey, but it lasted only two underwhelming kickoffs.
With all eyes on her, Silberman's kickoffs traveled 19 and 13 yards, respectively. After her second kick, she aggravated a quadriceps injury she apparently suffered while training the previous week.
The 28-year-old New York City resident played club soccer at the University of Wisconsin and had just recently started practicing long-range field goals in the past couple months.
In an era where female athletes, like Danica Patrick, are trying to make their mark in a "man's" game, was Silberman's performance a step in the right or wrong direction?
There were also a couple things Silberman did, or didn't do, that had experts scratching their heads and questioning her integrity.
1. Silberman didn't take any warm-up kicks but instead focused on push-ups and crunches. You never go into kicking cold.
2. Silberman claimed she was nursing a quad injury. This was an injury that combine officials said they had no idea she suffered.
3. Silberman couldn't figure out how to stand the ball on the tee. There was a 20-second period where she couldn't figure out how to stand the ball on the tee without it falling. Wouldn't this have been one of the first things she learned? Standing the ball on the tee is part of the fundamentals of kicking.
4. Silberman lined up six yards behind the ball instead of 10 or more. She took nine steps backwards and five steps sideways to line up only six yards behind the ball. The standard approach for kickers is ten or more yards. Another fundamental she failed to master during training.
5. Three kickers trying out along side Silberman said she asked them how to approach the ball. Silberman asked the kickers, who wanted to remain anonymous to USA Today, how to approach the ball on the kick. Here we are again-- these are the fundamentals that every kicker should already know before participating in a tryout.
Now can you understand how people could be questioning her integrity?
USA Today's Mike Garafolo took to Twitter to describe what he called a "sham" at the regional combine.
Do you agree? Does it seem like Silberman came into the tryouts having no experience and only wanted her name in the history books? The NFL has the right to deny registration to such events, but they made no attempt to determine if she was going to put forth a good effort during tryouts. Should the NFL had put forth a greater effort to know that her skills and wish to play in the NFL were sincere?
Katie Hnida, a former collegiate kicker and the first female to score a point in a Division I football game, thinks that Silberman's performance did more damage than good for the dreams of female athletes.
Hnida told USA Today, "Her performance does not have to do with her gender. It has to do with her experience and her preparation. Unfortunately, what's going to happen now is she's going to be looked at as inferior because she was a female."
Hnida makes a valid point, Silberman lacked the essential skills and experience to be an NFL kicker, but she will be looked at as inferior because she is a female. This could hinder those females that come after her. Will another female be taken seriously when she wants to tryout for the NFL in the future?
Garafolo couldn't agree more:
This shouldn't, however, discourage other female athletes from working hard to make their dreams come true. I can't wait to see the day where a female breaks into the male dominated NFL world, just like Danica Patrick did with NASCAR.
Even in 2013, it's no secret that females are going to have to prove themselves if they want to be taken seriously in a male dominated sport -- they will have to work harder than their male counterpart. Injury aside, Silberman was not prepared for an NFL tryout.
Silberman could have been looked up to as a roll model -- as the female that opened the door for other women who didn't have the courage to open it themselves. She could have been the inspiration to a girl who was always told she couldn't do something because she was a female. If Silberman's tryout was in fact a sham, it would be a shame and a letdown to girls everywhere.
Will the NFL be more cautious in allowing other females to tryout? Will they make a greater effort to screen these candidates to ensure they have the proper skill set to compete?
One step closer pushed females two steps back.
Click the links below to read other stories about Lauren Silberman's NFL tryout:
Lauren Silberman's NFL tryout lasts two short kickoffs
Fellow female kicker on Silberman: 'She was terrible'
Female kicker set for NFL regional combine tryout