American football has always been considered a “man’s sport.” With men tackling each other at full speed and cheerleaders supporting them from the sidelines, testosterone levels can reach an all-time high. But the NFL wants that male-dominated image to change.

From Victoria’s Secret “Pink NFL” Collection to health and safety clinics for moms, the league has marketed its brand to draw in America’s most powerful consumers: women. Women drive 70 to 80 percent of all consumer spending in the U.S., according to Forbes. And it’s working: today, women fans make up nearly half of all viewers of the sport. According to AdAge, since 2002, the percentage of the number of women who watch the Super Bowl has increased from 14 percent to 46 percent.

As part of the overall push to reach and connect to women, the league is starting outreach connected to youth safety. Last Tuesday night, the Chicago Bears teamed up with the NFL to host a free safety clinic for approximately 200 moms of youth football players in the Walter Payton Center. The Moms Football Safety Clinic program was headed up by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Bears Chairman George H. McCaskey, and Dr. Mehmet Oz — who emphasized the importance of safety in kids playing sports.

"The moms are usually the decision-makers. They're really the ones that are looking after the kids and have such a big influence,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the reports. The clinic included education on concussion awareness, heat and hydration, and proper equipment fitting. The moms were also divided into groups of 11 and were taught how to tackle. These workshops are intended to make sure moms are properly informed so they do not rely on myths or misinformation when it comes to the health and safety of their children.

The increasing concern over concussions is due to the league’s two decades of betrayal and deceit around the long-term effects of head injuries. In a recent book, League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru exposed the league for tampering with scientific data that highlighted the health risks associated with concussions sustained by athletes. These claims are further supported with the recent lawsuit in August, in which the NFL were forced to pay out a $765 million settlement to 18,000 retired football players who suffered concussion-related brain injuries stemming from their playing years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all concussions are serious. Problematically, most of them occur without the loss of consciousness — so it can be hard to tell whether or not a concussion has occurred. Athletes who have experienced a concussion are at an increased risk for another concussion. The reoccurrence of concussions can result in brain swelling, permanent brain damage, and even death.

Players in the league have begun to witness a change on the field. Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola told CBS Detroit’s Ashley Dunkak, “Football’s a violent game. I don’t think you can ever make hitting somebody soft. It’s just ridiculous,” referring to the $31,000 fine against Ndamukong Suh after a hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden.

The NFL ruled the player made contact with Weeden’s “forehead hairline” although many like Raiola — who watched from the sidelines — say that the hit was accidental. “It’s not on purpose. It’s ridiculous … It was a football play to me, but I guess maybe my view of football now is different from the way football’s viewed now. I really don’t know what they’re looking at,” Raiola said.

Some have claimed that the shift towards safety isn’t due to the benevolence of the game, but rather as a means to appeal to the growing female fan base. Lawrence Jackson, a free agent who played for Detroit from 2010 to 2012, believes that the public view of football has changed from the days where hits would not result in suspensions or fines like today. “The perception was different. There weren’t as many women watching the game,” he told CBS Detroit. The NFL has denied claims that marketing to women and stricter on-field regulations are connected, maintaining that their concern is about the physical dangers of the sport. According to league officials, the NFL’s perceived “softness” is more of a proactive step in putting health first.