While some fans on Twitter have praised her for breaking through in a male-dominated sport, others wondered if this was just a mere publicity stunt. Regardless, the NFL got plenty of publicity on a Sunday in March for one of its regional combines — something that normally is ignored by most media.
“I’m just really happy I had this amazing experience,” Silberman said. “I might be the first woman trying out for the NFL, but I certainly hope I’m not the last.”
While she never kicked a football in a competitive game, the NFL said Silberman qualified for the regional combine because of her athletic background.
“Our job is to evaluate talent and not leave any stone unturned,” said Stephen Austin, the NFL’s director of regional combines. “We want young, athletic people who have played a sport, typically in college or military or small schools.”
The regional combines debuted in 2011, and include players who weren’t among the 333 invited to the main combine in Indianapolis. The NFL is holding these sessions in 10 cities this offseason, with the most impressive players advancing to a super-regional in April in Dallas.
Silberman paid a registration fee — about $275 — and just needed to show up Sunday and take her best shot at impressing scouts.
“Until they get here, we don’t have any idea of what they’re really going to turn out to do and how they’re going to perform,” Austin said.
When asked if he could evaluate Silberman’s performance, Austin said: “That evaluation is completely incomplete.”
Silberman waited outside the facility around noon with all the other kickers, whose names were read off alphabetically as they entered the indoor practice field. Each participant was then given time to warm up before being broken into groups to attempt three kickoffs and then a set of five field goals, the first starting from 35 yards all the way up to 55 yards.