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Denver Broncos Add Another Woman to NFL Executive Ranks

Scott Morris | May 19, 2021
Broncos new hire is a lady

Last year the NFL reported on a study that showed 47% of all fans of the league are women. That diversity in the fanbase is beginning to show in NFL employment, underscored this week by the rise of Kelly Kleine, the new executive director of football operations and special advisor to the general manager of the Broncos.

Kleine’s rise from public relations intern to one of the most powerful women executives in the league in less than 10 years shows that the trajectory of women in the NFL will eventually see one of them become a general manager. It’s no longer an issue of if, but when.

In her new job in Denver, Kleine will be a talent evaluator and report directly to Broncos GM George Paton. She’ll also be involved in college and pro scouting and become one of the most important faces for the Broncos in drafting and free agency.

“Kelly is a rising star in the NFL, and we’re fortunate to add someone of her caliber to the Denver Broncos,” Paton said in a statement. “She will be a tremendous resource with her experience on the pro and college sides as well as her knowledge of our grading scale and football calendar.”

Minnesota Connection

The NFL is largely a collection of people who like to work with other people they know. So as more women get opportunities to work in the league, more women will be able to climb the ladder, like Kleine has done.

She joined the Vikings in 2012 in the public relations department before joining the team’s scouting department. She became the Vikings college scouting coordinator in 2015, the same year that Paton was named the team’s assistant GM and VP of player personnel.

For nine years their careers overlapped in Minnesota, and now that will continue as they work together to get the Broncos back in the playoffs.

Kelly Kleine Hired by Broncos

Kelly Kleine with the Minnesota Vikings

Women in the NFL

Kleine joins a list of women who are becoming more influential in the NFL each year.

Callie Brownson became the first woman to serve as a position coach in an NFL game with the Browns last season — a Week 12 win over Jacksonville. She also served as the team’s passing game coordinator in Week 17 and the tight ends coach for the Browns first playoff win since 1994. She continues to be an assistant on Kevin Stefanski’s staff in Cleveland.

In Tampa Bay, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar became the first women in NFL history to coach a Super Bowl winning team. Locust is the assistant defensive line coach and Javadifar is an assistant strength and conditioning coach.

The same night Locust and Javadifar made history, so did Sarah Thomas, as the first woman to serve as an official in the Super Bowl. In 2009 she was the first woman to officiate in a college bowl game, and in 2015 she became a permanent official with the NFL.

This spring the NFL added a second woman to its referee ranks when it hired Maia Chaka full-time. This fall she will become the first black woman to officiate an NFL game.

Check out this article about women who bet on sports

Zach Ertz to Skip Eagles Workouts

While the unhappy quarterbacks have drawn most of the headlines, there is a very unhappy tight end in Philadelphia who has also been trying to leave his old team.

Zach Ertz has more than 6,000 yards receiving, the fourth most catches for a tight end in NFL history, and is a legend in Philadelphia. Scoring a touchdown in the Eagles lone Super Bowl win ensures that he will never have to buy another drink in the city as long as he lives.

However he wants out, has repeatedly asked for a trade since January, and now there is word that he will skip the Eagles voluntary team workouts. He is expected to miss the rest of the offseason workouts as long as he’s an Eagle.

To maximize their cap savings it’s best for the Eagles if Ertz is traded after June 1. Philadelphia is said to be asking for a third or fourth-round draft pick.

Betting markets, already having pegged the Eagles as a subpar team this upcoming season, softened on the team. Odds moved to the under on their regular-season win total of 6½ games.

 

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