Gridiron Gals

In cities around the country, the NFL is looking for a few good women to coach youth football

On a Fall afternoonin New Orleans, some two dozen padded, helmeted 14- and 15-year-olds huddled on an inner-city ball field for practice. During one drill, a lineman lurched at the running back, nipped his jersey and bear-hugged nothing but Big Easy air. The coach blew a whistle in disgust and stomped toward the offensive tackler. "When are you going to hit him?" barked Tomaris Bolds-Jackson, 38, a mother of four. "You have to hit him. You're playing football, son."

Bolds-Jackson is one rare instructor. With the growth of girls' sports over the past 30 years, female coaches have become increasingly common...

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