Andrea Kremer isn't the first woman to go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.
Lesley Visser earned that honor in 2006.
Still, Kremer, the Philadelphia native who graduated from Friends Select School and the University of Pennsylvania, made history last month when she was recognized as the Rozelle Award winner.
"I'm the first working mom to go into the Hall of Fame," said Kremer, who began her journalism career as sports editor of the Main Line Chronicle in 1982 and moved on to become the first female producer at NFL Films in 1984.
Kremer will make history again Thursday when she and Hannah Storm become the first female broadcast team for an NFL game. They will work on Amazon Prime Video's live-stream coverage this season of 11 Thursday Night Football games, starting with this week's Rams-Vikings matchup in Los Angeles.
In 2000, Kremer was pregnant and had a due date that was a month after Super Bowl XXXIV. She was working for ESPN and decided the Super Bowl would be her last assignment before taking maternity leave. She made the cross-country trip from her home in Los Angeles to Atlanta.
On the Friday before the Super Bowl, Kremer's water broke. She went to a hospital at which none of her prenatal care had been done. Her baby was coming a month early, and doctors decided to wait a few days before inducing labor.
Kremer was confined to the hospital, but she decided that she could do voice tracks from her room for ESPN's Super Bowl coverage of the game in which Dick Vermeil's St. Louis Rams beat the Tennesse Titans, 23-16.
Her son, William, was born the Wednesday after the Super Bowl, at 37 weeks. He stayed in the hospital another 1 ½ weeks to make sure he was strong enough to travel to Los Angeles.
The only time Kremer left the hospital was when she went to a set for ESPN for about two hours to do an introduction for a story she had been working on – coincidentally, it was about the financial burdens placed on NFL players by family relations.
The birth of William, who is a now about to enter college, was a seminal moment in Kremer's career – one that has been defined by passion, desire, grit, and determination to carve out her place in a profession that was, and still is, dominated by men.
Like Storm and Visser, ESPN hosts Linda Cohn and Gayle Gardner, longtime NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver, and broadcaster Lisa Salters, Kremer is among the pioneers who helped open the doors for women to be taken seriously as top-notch sports broadcast journalists. She became ESPN's first female correspondent in 1989. She went on to work for NBC and currently serves as a correspondent for the NFL Network and HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
That she has thrived as a working mother in the sport that has the highest level of machismo is not lost on her.
"What I did not anticipate was how many women let me know that I showed them it was doable to be a working mother covering the NFL," Kremer said. "I knew I was one of the first women who had a child, was traveling, and covering the league while raising a family.
"When you are in it, you don't realize it. I remember being in a press box in Baltimore with [current ESPN host Sage Steele], who was pregnant at the time with her first child. She just asked me, 'Oh, my God, how do you do this?'
"Now there are so many women who have children but are reporters who travel. They've asked me questions like what did you do while nursing, when your child first started walking, other things.
"I didn't know how big a deal it was to show that you can have a family, have a child, and still work covering the National Football League."
It was for reasons like this that Kremer's husband, John Steinberg, insisted she ride in the Hall of Fame parade through downtown Canton, Ohio. Kremer initially felt that it was an event for the Hall of Fame player inductees and that she would be intruding. Steinberg pointed out that were likely to be dozens of girls in the crowd with aspirations of being a football journalist – just as Kremer had when she was a kid at Friends Select.
Steinberg told Kremer to remember that when she was starting out covering the Eagles, the team policy was that women could not go into the locker room on non-game days. She had to get special dispensation from the public relations department to go in and interview retiring wide receiver Mike Quick on the last exit day of his career.
"[Steinberg] just looked at me and said, 'You have to ride in that parade,' " she said. "I was like, 'Why?' He said because of all the little girls that may be in that crowd. 'Do you know how important it will be for them to see a woman in the Hall of Fame parade? What would it have meant to you when you were a little girl who wanted to be involved in football?'
"I just hadn't viewed it that way. It blew my mind. The car would drive by and women, grown women, would stand up and applaud. It made me wonder, did I have a job that they aspired to but they never thought of trying? Whatever the reason, it was such a great honor to get from them."
Getting into the Hall of Fame wasn't something Kremer thought would happen. She said she cut her teeth learning from some of the toughest NFL journalists, such as Paul Domowitch, Ray Didinger, and Stan Hochman of the Daily News, Bill Lyon of the Inquirer, and Howard Eskin of WIP. Among her NFL stories, she did early groundbreaking reports on subjects such as drug addiction, domestic violence and head-trauma injuries – none of which were things the NFL offices wanted to see reported.
Because Kremer, who designed and teaches a course at Boston University called "The Art of the Interview," moved around during her career, she didn't have a singular broadcast entity promoting her for the Rozelle Award, and she rejected the advice of others that she should lobby for herself.
"I said, it would mean a lot to me to go into the Hall of Fame, but I'm not doing that," Kremer said. "Either my body of work speaks for itself or it doesn't.