SANTA CLARA, Calif. - It was a California matchup for the last pre-season home game for the San Francisco Forty Niners, and an opportunity for California to set a new standard to make professional football more inclusive with a special event.
Up against the Los Angeles Chargers with a special theme for tonight’s game, celebrating "Football for All."
Despite the pre-game announcement that Trey Lance was headed for a spot with the Dallas Cowboys, the game kicked off with a few firsts for the team and the league.
Football for All was an event to recognize inclusivity as well as identity within and outside professional football.
The a cappella group the "Homo-Phonics" of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus sang the national anthem.
There were a couple of other "first evers" for the team and the National Football League at the game, including an all-female in-stadium announcing team.
Jamie Coffee is one of two women announcers in the booth. She said this is an exciting role for her two-decade career in broadcasting.
Queen Noveen also made her debut be at the microphone in the announcer’s booth tonight.
In the booth, she smiled as she took command of the microphone holding her printed script up, at an arm’s length, as she announced the team.
Although the Forty Niners are the first team in the NFL to assign women to the announcing booth this year, according to Coffee, it probably won’t be the last.
"The Niners are the first. I appreciate that as a Northern Californian, and I’m very happy and proud to be part of this," said. "I like that (the organization is) not afraid to try things, take chances and see what happens, and I guarantee there will be more to follow."
The celebration of diversity and unity wasn’t lost on the fans.
"I’d like to hear more of the women’s side understanding the game," Lelica Zazaboi of San Jose said. "We understand the game just as much as the men, and it’s about time we got out there."
Another effort to extend the theme of Football for All included recognition of the women who cheer from the sidelines of the field but serve in vast and various roles off the field.
Kelly Bennion is one of 32 performers for the Gold Rush, the team’s cheer team that includes one man.
Dr. Bennion, as she is known off the field, holds a Ph.D. in biology and neurosciences and shared she’s thrilled that her home team is honoring the roles that support the team, not just the athletes.
"I think this Football for All game is a perfect way to honor our professions and our interests and hobbies on and off the field," she said.
The halftime show included a video montage with music, which highlighted the careers, hobbies, and diversity that the cheerleaders bring to the team.
The DJ for the season is another woman, Amy Robbins who kept the fans dancing and cheering on the team, as she worked her magic behind the audio setup, headphones and a rhythm that kept the crowd on their feet.
The next game for the Forty Niners will be in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania against the Steelers on Sept. 10.
Alice Wertz is a freelance reporter for KTVU Fox 2 News. She can be reached at Alice.Wertz@Fox.com or on Twitter/X @AlicesTake Instagram: WayIseesIt