Aponte could be on track to become NFL’s first female G.M.

In the 90-plus years of the NFL’s existence, very few women without family connections to ownership have held meaningful positions in football operations.  Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post explains that Dawn Aponte could become the league’s first female General Manager.

Currently Miami’s V.P. of football administration, Aponte has significant influence over the team’s contractual negotiations.  And she works more closely with G.M. Jeff Ireland than most realize.

“Dawn will say ‘no’ when Jeff won’t,” a league source with knowledge of the team’s front office told Volin.  “She doesn’t really have extemporaneous conversations.  And she’s very ‘by the book’ with whatever stance the team has.  But she’s done a fantastic job with making sure they’re one of the cap-healthiest teams in the NFL.”

Volin writes that Ireland routinely serves as the “good cop” and Aponte acts as the “bad cop” during contract talks.

This year, the duo good-and-bad-copped their way to a flurry of deals with low cap numbers in 2013.  Next year, when those cap numbers spike, it’ll be up to Aponte to keep everything balanced.

Unless she leaves to run a team of her own.

The real question is when and if an owner will be ready to entrust the football operations to a female, especially in a franchise where the G.M. outranks the coach.  It’s the kind of trailblazing that the late Al Davis (who hired Amy Trask to serve as the team’s CEO years ago) would be willing to do.  It remains to be seen whether other owners will be as willing to disregard gender when it comes to hiring a General Manager.

44 responses to “Aponte could be on track to become NFL’s first female G.M.

  1. I’d be more concerned with Aponte’s true scouting experience than her gender. I know she’s a pitbull in negotiations, and that’s great, but even the most savvy pencil pusher needs to have comprehensive x’s and o’s knowledge as well.

    Gender really has nothing to do with it, from my vantage point. I have the same concerns about Joe Banner here in Cleveland.

  2. That is why Al Davis is one of the Greatest of All-Time.

    The first to hire minority head coaches and the first to hire a female as CEO.

    Go Raiders

  3. Being good at managing contract numbers and being good at evaluating football talent are two different things. A good GM needs to be great at both. I dont know much about her, but this article doesnt really make the case that she’s good at finding top level talent which is the number 1 priority for any GM.

  4. Wait till next year when the Dolphins are in cap hell unless they unload 10+ starters. Cap numbers are fine this year but take a huge jump next season…lets see what Aponte pulls out of her A@@ next year before we crown her

  5. I say why not give her a shot, since there are plenty of current and past GM’s that didn’t get the job done. Aponte probably has more knowledge of player skills than are being reported. Otherwise she couldn’t negotiate the contract to be cap friendly.

  6. She should stick to using her best talents where she belongs…….in the kitchen and the bedroom

  7. The vast majority of GMs never played the game and yet are hire to make evaluations of players. Why should it be any different for a woman who has never played the game?

  8. And Tebow is a distraction? Sheesh, this would be EVERYWHERE. I recall a woman from the Dodgers a few years ago was going to do the same in baseball. No team wants this circus media attention.

  9. Evaluate Aponte after next year when the Fins will need some salary cap fixing. Just like Idzik is doing for the Jets this year.

  10. When you’re hiring you want the best person for the job, if she’s considered the best whats the problem?

  11. She works closely with Jeff Ireland? So she can’t judge talent, is clueless when it comes to the draft & has no people skills.

  12. If she is only good at cap management and negotiation, then she has a future as a COO like Paraag Marathe in San Francisco.

  13. “Al Davis… The first to hire minority head coaches and the first to hire a female as CEO.”

    The Rooney rule should have been named Al Davis rule.

  14. Nothing against having a female GM, but what dolphins are doing is the exact opposite of what u should be doing. Unless they somehow win the Super Bowl within two years or so they will be screwed for the long term with the ridiculous contracts they’re giving out for average guys.

  15. The fact that this will be unprecedented will be wonderful, but can she break down coaching tape and evaluate players properly???

    GMs with no scouting backgrounds aren’t as successful as those that do.

    Look at the following GM comparisons:

    Howie Roseman vs. Trent Baalke
    Mike Tannenbaum vs. Ozzie Newsome
    Matt Millen vs. Bobby Beathard

    The guys on the left are the ones who did not have scouting backgrounds.

    The guys on the right are the ones who did and have been to at least 1 Super Bowl.

    When the draft has been the most important tool to the point where even the layman terms fans have figured that out the Dolphins have to realize that making history will possibly come at a big price.

    There have been GM’s like Rich McKay and John McVay who were not known as actual former scouts, but as men without traditional scouting backgrounds they are in the minority for those who bucked the trend.

    If you can’t evaluate and pick helpful players that will be impressionable enough for you to make them home grown and phased into your football philosophy unlike unfamiliar free agents that are more difficult to phase in you’ll be in trouble.

    The quarterback is considered the most important position in all of sports. But if it takes a special person to find him and his teammates (because football is a team sport the last time I checked) how important is the quarterback truly?

  16. Heck – I know plenty of women fans that strike me as having better football smarts than a lot of the GMs out there right now. So it should be expected that any woman who is willing to work her way up will eventually get a shot.

    I’m just worried we’ll eventually see some type of Rooney Rule for female executives to ensure they get a fair shake when positions open.

    NFL owners all want to win – beyond that I think we are near the point where the best qualified gets the job, regardless of gender or race.

  17. I don’t know anything about Aponte, but do know from watching the Saint Louis Rams over the last 9 years here in Saint Louis (I moved here for a job) that allowing people without football savvy to make personnel decisions tends to be disastrous. The Rams allowed their ‘cap guy’ Jay Zygmunt to suddenly start making football personnel decisions, along with some lousy coaches, and they became the worst team in the NFL for years. Only with the hiring of real football guys Jeff Fisher and GM Snead are the Rams finally turning things around.

    You do need that ‘capologist’ and negotiator to make everyone fit in the salary cap, but that is a completely different skill set than being able to effectively evaluate football talent. Without the talent evaluation skill set, I don’t see how Aponte could be an effective GM-regardless of her gender.

  18. I do not know if she would be any good as a GM but what I do know for sure is that if she (or any other female) ever becomes an NFL GM it would create A: A media circus that would make the Tim Tebow circus look insignificant in comparison and B: She would draw more hostile and sexist comments from macho rednecks than Danica Patrick has in NASCAR .

  19. I have nothing against a women being a GM or anything else for that matter. But before you start running her against Hillary for president maybe you should look into why she and George Kokinis were fired on the spot from Cleveland, after a game with Chicago. Not highly professional.

  20. She took a pretty good mug shot. I wonder if she was charged with solicitation?

  21. I don’t know why people hate Jeff Ireland. He has done a nice job. His team is unfortunately in a division where Tom Brady plays and Belichick coaches and I am sure in the next few years. He is better than most of the GMs and he is a pedigree of working with Parcells.

  22. All these put down comments from people who are supporters of gay marriage. Interesting how your take on equality suddenly shifts.

  23. This just in…that former raven linebacker Brendan something has announced that 4 women will all be announced as GM’s next season simultaneously so as to take the pressure and media circus off each of them individually.

  24. Lets give some props to the NYJ here (and I’m a Pats fan) they had the first female scout named Connie Carberg back in the 70s I think. This was always my dream job so I was happy to see it. And NO a female should never ever ever get a job for which she is not qualified simply because she has ovaries. It’s an insult.

  25. She wears the pants in the office, and Ireland has to wear the diaper.


    Actually it’s “She wears the pants in the office, and Ireland wears the panties”.

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