Connie Carberg Interview
Connie Carberg (formerly Nicholas) was employed by the New York Jets as the first ever female football scout back in the 1970’s. Connie has been kind enough to give us her story on how this all came about and her experience’s during her time as the Jets/NFL’s first ever female scout.
Background: Connie’s Dad (Dr Cal, Internest) & uncle (Dr Jim,orthopedist) became team doctors for the Jets (the then New York Titans) back in 1963 when Connie was 12 years old. Connie was always a sports nut and the Jets quickly became her passion. Connie grew up with the ‘Superbowl III’ team, she attended training camp, and it wasn’t uncommon for the Jets players to drop by her house in Long Island. At the age of 17 Connie was doing her own mock drafts, hours were spent studied the ‘Street and Smith’ magazine which had all the seniors for the upcoming draft. Connie attended Ohio State University throughout 1971-74 during this time she got to know Woody Hayes who understood Connie’s passion for football, this allowed Connie to attend every practice open and closed. After graduating Connie went to work for the Jets at their new training facility at Hofstra as the only receptionist/secretary for coaches//scouting secretary in the building.
“It was a whole different world back then as we interacted with players/coaches and watched every practice”
“Charley Winner was then head coach and was the one who hired me, but I worked for Homer Eddington in Scouting”
“The Draft was 17 rounds then and they had me pick the last draft of that year TE Mike Bartoszek from Ohio State. Actually the only one in 1975 to make it big on the Jets was Center Joe Fields and he was round 14! (horrible draft)”
Q: How did the opportunity to become a scout arise?
A: In 1976 Mike Holovak took over the scouting department of the Jets and in that year and 1977 the Jets had two of the best drafts ever. He was a genius at evaluating talent and I learned so much from him. He had been an All-American at Boston College and coach of the Patriots and this was before computer, pre-draft physicals, pro-days etc. After a year with him, he and Al Ward, the general manager were impressed with my knowledge and dedication and asked if I would like to become the first woman scout in the NFL. I was never expecting that, but a dream came true. I went to the Orange bowl Ohio State College (no video yet),and interviewed players for character as time went on etc.
Q: Was it tough being the only female?
A: I never thought it being tough as a female. Woody Hayes was so great, even allowing me more access to ask him questions and view practice than any other scouts and I just loved football and took it seriously.
Q:Did you scout any players that went onto the Hall Of Fame or to win a Superbowl?
A:I’d have to go through to see if any made the hall of fame but Russ Grimm played in a Superbowl. My write-ups are in storage so I need to dig them out.
Q: Which player that you scouted went on to surprise you by having a better career than you expected?
A: The Jets coaches were coaching in the Senior Bowl and player named Mike Stensrud from Lowa St. (DL) got hurt so my boss called and asked me to look at film and read reports and call about 6 players to find a replacement. I did and after evaluation I called the players and the only one I judged ‘ready to play’ that set him apart was Mark Gastineau. I told him he had to be the replacement. Instead of being a projected 6-7 round pick from E. Central Oklahoma,as MVP of Senior Bowl,he was #2 pick of the Jets that year (Marty Lyons #1) and Pro-Bowler for 10 years!
Q: Out of this years draft who do you think will have the biggest impact on the NFL?
A: I felt this was a week draft class this year,and with the lockout it was really different as we are so used to knowing what free agents each team is signing to help the teams before the draft. Now its strictly on need. The Jets are set with Sanchez (whom I’m thrilled with) but I am a Christain Ponder fan (when healthy). I thought it was a great pick for the Vikings. The other two are Patrick Peterson of LSU and JJ Watt of Wisconsin. But with no training camp and OTA’s this is a crazy year compared to others.
A huge thanks to Connie for doing the interview, she made my job very easy, it was an honour to Interview Connie, fantastic lady and somone I now regard as a good friend.
Monday, June 20, 2011 At 11:39PM Mark Teece