My Take on Kathryn Smith as NFL Coach

Today is a historic day for the NFL: the appointment of Kathryn Smith as a full-time female coach on an NFL team.

As a woman who was blessed to work for the New York Jets in the 70’s as the league’s first female scout, I always dreamed of this day. I secretly wished for it when I was with the Jets, but it wasn’t meant to be. After me came Linda Bogdan, daughter of Bills owner Ralph Wilson, and many others have made their mark since.

Kathryn Smith has been named a quality control coach with the Buffalo Bills, and many are quick to point out that it is the entry-level position for a coach of any kind. It’s easy to dismiss it, but please understand that QC coaches have made their mark on the NFL.

Past QC coaches have included …

  • Jon Gruden
  • Todd Haley
  • Eric Mangini
  • Tony Sparano
  • Mike Munchak

I believe a woman can win based upon passion and merit. And while the Jets, of course, are my team, I can’t help but pull for Kathryn to do well.

It’s not easy for women in the NFL because it’s a men’s sport, and many men may not agree with this hire. But as someone who coached men’s basketball for two decades (including my son), I can tell you that a coach doesn’t have to be male to help a player achieve his utmost potential on the basketball court or football field. Ultimately, it’s the quality of the coach, not the gender, that matters.

And before anyone wants to demonize a woman in a man’s game, remember there are male NFL coaches who have never played football in the league.

In the end, Kathryn has an amazing opportunity. The chance to break down films and learn tendencies of upcoming teams to improve the Bills’ performance will only increase her evident passion for the game. It’s a huge first step, and I am so excited and proud of her accomplishment.

Connie Nicholas Carberg grew up around the New York Jets with her father as the team’s internist for 26 years (Dr. Calvin Nicholas). In 1974, she joined the Jets as a secretary. In 1976, she was named the first female scout in NFL History. Her contributions led to a number of top drafts culminating with her discovery of a little known defensive end, Mark Gastineau. ConnieScouts shares her memories and blessings over the years.

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