In an historic first, the Buffalo Bills have hired the first woman to be a full-time coach in the National Football League.
Kathryn Smith will take the job as quality control coach for special teams, which is increasingly seen as a key role in the NFL–especially after the Minnesota Vikings lost their play-off bid by missing a simple kick.
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Smith has worked in administrative roles and supported assistant coaches in the NFL for 13 years.
Prior to joining the Bills in upstate New York in 2015, Smith spent 12 seasons working for the New York Jets, scouting college players and later as assistant to the head coach.
Special teams coaching involves the players at the heart of the kicking game in the NFL — punters, field-goal kickers, and punt and kick-off return runners.
Quality control coaches spend long hours breaking down the science, strategy, and mechanics of plays. They study films and statistics to provide ideas before games and instant assessments ahead of each play on the field to give a team advantages over opponents. It is considered a position in a natural line to becoming a head coach.
The Arizona Cardinals hired Jennifer Welter back in July as a training camp and preseason intern coach for inside linebackers. She became the first woman to ever hold any coaching job in the NFL, but her internship ended after a perfect 3-0 preseason for the Cards.
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