Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The NFL’s First Female General Manager?

With the Miami Dolphins loss against the once winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week on Monday Night Football may lead to an internal collapse, but with that a historical event for the NFL could unfold. A good amount of this article will be based off of speculation. It will be speculation,  but it will be based off of logic events that have taken place so far. So lets start at the beginning of the 2013 regular season for Miami.

The Dolphins bean the 2013 season 3-0. Not many people expected this to happen. They then proceeded to lose the next 4 in a row, resulting in a 3-4 record. Then began the hazing saga between Miami's left tackle Jonathan Martin and left guard Richie Incognito, but we will come back to that. The Dolphins then managed to win a tough game against the Bengals on Halloween night. So after the loss to the Buccaneers on Monday night they sit at 4-5. With that record the playoff are not impossible to reach, but they are pretty unlikely. A losing record usually does not help a general manager with a spotty history keep his job. Locker room controversies that are pulled into the spotlight help that cause even less. 

This article will not follow the example of ESPN and murder the developing story of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. Here is the drive-by explanation because most sports fans know the gist of the story by now. Jonathan Martin has been having inner turmoil this year and a joke played at the expense of Martin sent him over the edge. Martin then proceeded to leave the team for personal reasons to seek emotional help. Then it came out that he was being continually hazed in the Dolphins locker room. It was then made apparent that the continual hazing was coming from teammate Richie Incognito. Incognito has a hazy past with his attitude and was reprimanded at both the NFL and NCAA level. Incognito was then indefinitely suspended by the Miami Dolphins. There is currently an investigation going on within the Dolphins organization to get to the bottom of this controversy. This is what the public knows thus far. The rest is speculation.

Current general manager for the Dolphins, Jeff Ireland, has had Dolphins fans calling for his head for a few years now, but has managed to keep his head attached to this point. If the Dolphins trend downward in respect to their record, and they don't manage to get a handle on this Martin/Incognito controversy some staff members may be looking for new jobs in 2014. The most intriguing case would be Jeff Ireland. Not because of his rocky past in the past, but who his possible successor could be. Cue Dawn Aponte, who is currently Miami’s Vice President of football administration.

Aponte is the “bad cop” to Jeff Ireland’s “good cop” when it comes down to contract negotiations. Aponte has been the one who has kept Miami in one of the better cap situations over the past few seasons. Supposedly Aponte is much more likely to give you the answer you don’t want to hear as an agent or player, a “no”. Aponte has been a part of the NFL for twenty three years. Without a doubt she has the resume and is qualified for most of the responsibilities as a NFL general manager. The area that Aponte doesn’t have the full qualifications for is the player evaluation experience. Player evaluation is usually thought of as the main responsibility, and usually it is, but that’s what could make this so revolutionary. Miami already works the good cop/bad cop routine with Ireland and Aponte, so why couldn’t they do the same thing with Aponte and current assistant general manager Brian Gaine? They could also make Aponte the general manager and relinquish most of the initial player evaluation responsibilities to head coach Joe Philbin. There are plenty of options, and Aponte could be the enforcer Miami needs in their front office. 

This is a lot of crystal balling here, but it is within a logic thought process. A female general manager would not only be an enormous win for women in football, but all across the sports industry and maybe even all industries across the United States. Keep an eye on the Miami Dolphins this year. Not just for the football games they play, but the games in the front office as well.

Zachary Cintron is a pre-junior in Drexel's Sport Management program with a minor in Music Theory and Composition.  Zach also writes for his personal blog, Sports and Music Weekly. You can follow Zach on Twitter at @cintronz.

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Zachary Cintron on LinkedIn.

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