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#WomenInNFL

Meet the two females leading the way in Football Operations for the NFL

The Football Operations team at the NFL is led by Executive Vice President Troy Vincent. The team bring to the NFL a wealth of knowledge and experience in both football and business, and they work to honour the game’s rich traditions and position the sport for long-term success. Intrigued to see how diverse the senior team was here, I decided to do some digging and was pleased to see that of the eight names listed on the NFL Operations website, two of these are women. Allow me to introduce you to Dawn Aponte (Chief Football Administrative Officer) and Tracy Perlman (Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing).

Dawn Aponte, Chief Football Administrative Officer

Dawn brings a wealth of football experience at the team and league level to the NFL and is responsible for driving Football Operations initiatives, facilitating communication and management of the day-to-day operations, and assisting in building relationships with club owners, presidents and executives.

Dawn spent seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins, last serving as executive vice president of football administration. She joined the Dolphins after one year as vice president of football administration with the Cleveland Browns. Before that, she spent three years as the vice president of labour finance with the NFL Management Council. However, Dawn started her career in football with the New York Jets, where she spent more than 15 years in various capacities, most recently as the club’s senior director of football administration.

Throughout her 25 years in football, Dawn has developed expertise in matters relating to contract negotiations, salary cap management, labour and CBA issues, and day-to-day management of the football business and administration operations. Dawn also serves on USA Football’s Board of Directors where she helps guide the sport’s national governing body in leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur football players.

Tracy Perlman, Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing

Tracy began her career with the NFL the day after she graduated from Hofstra University in 1992. Tracy leads the marketing and communications of all programs, benefits and resources available across the football community. These efforts positively impact relationships and enhance goodwill for the NFL and its 32 member clubs with coaches, prospects, current players and Legends.

Tracy builds relationships with, and establishes connections between, current players and NFL Legends, and works with players to enhances their images and drive their initiatives by sharing their off-the-field stories. Her team develops partnerships with incoming NFL Rookies to welcome them to the NFL family. Her team created NFL5Q which is an unscripted podcast where players and Legends have honest, candid conversations about the challenges and benefits of life off-the-field and after their football career.

Tracy serves as the contact for players on league-wide initiatives, including “My Cause, My Cleats,” and has developed events for players at NFL events and assists players and Legends in building their own brands. In 2013, in partnership with Player Engagement and the Commissioner’s office, she created the NFL Legends Community. The Legends Community celebrates, embraces and connects all former players with each other, their former teams and the NFL. The NFL Legends Community, the league’s central resource for former players, provides opportunities for Legends to engage with each other year-round — in person and through social media — through team events, educational programs and professional development, total wellness and networking opportunities. Tracy oversees the 22 Legends Directors and Coordinators who work as peer-to-peer advisors for the more than 7,000 former players who have registered with the NFL Legends Community. 

Before joining Football Operations, Tracy was NFL Vice President of Entertainment and Marketing. In that role, she organized and promoted the Super Bowl halftime show, one of the most-watched events, each year. Her crowning achievement was booking U2 and overseeing their iconic performance at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI — the first Super Bowl to be played after September 11, 2001. She also oversaw the creation of the NFL Kick-off Concert event, booked players on Dancing with the Stars, collaborated with the makers of the movies “Draft Day” and “The Blindside,” and launched “Lombardi” the play. In 2014, Tracy was named as one of Billboard’s Power 100, and, in 2012, was named one of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers.

My first thoughts after learning was this was “Wow!”. It’s hugely inspirational to see the incredible careers both of these women have had, their achievements to date, and how they both continue to develop the game.

Keep an eye out on the blog over the coming weeks to find out more about the incredible women in the NFL who are paving the way for its future.

Article written by:

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons, and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards and for her own website, NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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