The NFL Ops Team
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
Protecting the integrity of the greatest game.
It's our responsibility to strengthen the sport.
Ensuring a consistent and fair game that is decided on the field, by the players.
Ensuring that players conduct themselves in a way that honors the sport and respects the game.
Knees Bent. Pads Down. Head Up and Out.
The NFL is proud of the HBCU professional football legacy.
Honoring the league’s commitment to serve the communities where the game is played.
Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
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Meet the people behind NFL Operations.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations
Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations, informs the business of the NFL through the unique lens of his previous roles as a player, a player’s union president, and the Senior Vice President of Player Engagement. He employs the highest standards to enhance and preserve football and its value to society.
His transformational leadership approach promotes professional development of staff, players, coaches and officials by applying a vision of clarity, consistency and credibility to all aspects of football operations. Vincent holds a broad range of responsibilities for the business of football, including game analytics, accountability, integrity of the game, development and growth, and policies and procedures relating to NFL games, including protecting players from unnecessary risk.
“It’s a great blessing to have moved from serving our fans as a player to now serving them through the operations of the game. Football transcends race, age, gender and other elements of society and creates community by bringing people together across our great nation,” says Vincent. “The future of football is bright because the integration of technology, technique, and rule adjustments are making our game progressively better.”
Vincent long has been a promoter of the character and leadership values that football contributes to society. He is the only player in history to have received the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award, NFL Players Association Byron Whizzer White Award, Sporting News #1 Good Guy, and NFL Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award. Vincent is considered a national leader as an advocate against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Chief Football Administrative Officer
Dawn Aponte, Chief Football Administrative Officer, brings a wealth of football experience at the team and league level to the NFL. Aponte 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.
Aponte was most recently an executive with RSE Ventures, an international sports, entertainment and tech firm co-founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and club vice-chairman Matt Higgins.
Prior to RSE, she spent seven seasons with the Miami Dolphins, last serving as executive vice president of football administration. Aponte 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 labor finance with the NFL Management Council. Aponte 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, Aponte has developed expertise in matters relating to contract negotiations, salary cap management, labor and CBA issues, and day-to-day management of the football business and administration operations.
Aponte 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.
Aponte earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware and passed the C.P.A. exam shortly thereafter. She went on to receive a master’s degree in Finance and Management from Wagner College, then continued on to earn a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School. Aponte is a member of the New York State Bar.
NFL Senior Vice President of Football Operations
As Senior Vice President of Football Operations Policy and Compliance, Dave Gardi employs a unique combination of legal background and a lifetime of football knowledge to ensure that all football operations are in compliance with policy, process and rules.
Gardi is the gatekeeper of policies and procedures that control competitive balance, where he utilizes a Juris Doctorate in Law from Hofstra as the watchdog over integrity of the game policies, and rules administration on game day. As a former quarterback for Brown University, Gardi is also a driving force in communicating the department’s accountability initiatives to clubs, coaches and players.
“It is of utmost importance to every club, its owners, coaches, players and our fans that the rules of football and the policies impacting the game be communicated with clarity, consistency, and credibility,” says Gardi. “Moreover, there must be a fair and level playing field to ensure competitive balance, resulting in a world-class contest with every game.”
A devoted husband and father of two, Gardi began his journey with the NFL in 2003. Prior to joining Football Operations, he served as Vice President of Labor Relations and Football Administration where he advised clubs on matters related to the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, including player contracts, salary cap, club discipline, League policies, and workers compensation.
“Dave has parlayed a strong family football pedigree with playing experience and a law degree to provide our department with not only a deep understanding of the game, but also what it takes to keep it fair, balanced and competitive,” said Troy Vincent, Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “Dave knows the business of football, knows football, and knows how to administer the game, and that’s a powerful combination.”
Senior Vice President of Football Operations Policy, Education and Relationship Management
Arthur McAfee the Senior Vice President, Football Operations Policy, Education and Relationship Management. Arthur serves the executive staff by working across departments on priority league-wide initiatives in the areas of policy, third-party relationship management, educational activations, public policy, and governmental affairs on issues impacting Football Operations.
Arthur previously served as Senior Vice President of Player Engagement and brings years of executive experience in the economics of sports, labor and employment, negotiations, organizing, strategic planning, policymaking, and business development to NFL Football Operations.
Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing
Tracy Perlman, Senior Vice President of Football Communications and Marketing, began her career with the NFL the day after she graduated from Hofstra University in 1992.
Perlman 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.
Perlman builds relationships with, and establishes connections between, current players and NFL Legends. She works with players to enhance their images and drive their initiatives by sharing their off-field stories. Her team develops partnerships with incoming NFL rookies to welcome them to the NFL family.
Her team created the NFL Legends Podcast, 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.
Perlman serves as the contact for players on league-wide initiatives, including “My Cause, My Cleats,” and she 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. Perlman oversees the 24 Legends directors and coordinators who work as peer-to-peer advisors for the more than 10,000 former players who have registered with the NFL Legends Community.
Before joining Football Operations, Perlman was NFL Vice President of Entertainment and Marketing. In that role, Perlman 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 the September 11 attacks. She also oversaw the creation of the NFL Kickoff Concert event, booked players on Dancing with the Stars, collaborated with the makers of the movies “Draft Day” and “The Blind Side,” and launched “Lombardi” the play.
In 2014, Perlman was named as one of Billboard’s Power 100, and, in 2012, was named one of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers.
Senior Vice President of Officiating
Alberto Riveron, a member of the NFL’s Officiating Department since 2013 and a nine-year veteran NFL game official, is the NFL senior vice president of officiating.
Riveron oversees all aspects of the league’s officiating department – including the implementation of the centralized replay model approved by clubs at the annual meeting in March – as well as administration, evaluation and development.
A native of Cuba, Riveron moved to Miami at age five with his family and developed a passion for the game. He began as an official in local youth leagues in 1977, made his collegiate officiating debut in 1990 before joining the NFL officiating ranks in 2004. In 2008, Riveron was promoted to referee, earning the distinction as the NFL’s first Hispanic referee. Riveron came off the field following the 2012 season to join the league office as senior director of officiating.
“Al has done a terrific job as a key member of our officiating staff for the past four seasons,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Prior to that, Al was an outstanding on-field official who earned the respect of his fellow officials, as well as coaches and players alike.”
Reporting to Riveron, who reports to NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent, are Russell Yurk, vice president of instant replay and administration, and Wayne Mackie, vice president of officiating evaluation and development.
Senior Vice President of Officiating Training and Development
Walt Anderson’s leadership qualities, officiating experience, and passion for the game make him uniquely qualified to head the NFL Officiating Training and Development Program. He has 45 years of football officiating experience, including 24 years at the NFL level — 17 as a referee — and 12 years as Coordinator of Officials for the Big 12 Conference.
In the NFL, Anderson worked 20 postseason games, including one Pro Bowl, nine Wild Card games, three Divisional games, five Conference Championship games, and two Super Bowls (XXXV and XLV).
Since 2003, Anderson has been an NFL referee and knows how to bring about positive change and improve performance. He devotes his time to thoroughly studying the science and practical application of officiating techniques, and his knowledge of the game and ability to break down video are regarded by many to be the best in officiating.
As a dentist in Sugar Land, Texas for 20 years, he owned one of the largest group dental practices in the Houston area until selling his practice in 2000 to commit full-time to officiating. He has been the president of his local school board, an active civic and church leader, and a volunteer coach for both his son’s middle school football teams and his daughter’s softball teams.
Anderson played college football at Sam Houston State University, where he lettered in football all four years, was named a two-time Academic All-American and All Conference one year. He became an official when his father, a high school football coach, suggested that he start officiating while in dental school.
Senior Vice President of Officiating Communications and Administration
Perry Fewell joins the NFL Football Operations department as the SVP of Officiating Communications and Administration. Fewell oversees the day-to-day operations of the Officiating Department, including outreach to the league’s head coaches and general managers, compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association, and serves as a liaison to the NCAA on officiating-related matters.
Fewell has 35 years of coaching experience, including 22 in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars (twice), St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, Washington Football Team and Carolina Panthers. Fewell was the defensive coordinator for the Giants for the team’s 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
Prior to the NFL, Fewell spent 13 years coaching at the college level, where he coached at Vanderbilt University, two stints at Army, Kent State and the University of North Carolina.
Fewell lettered from 1980-83 as a defensive back at Lenoir-Rhyne University (N.C.) and he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2011. He also lettered in football and track at South Point High School in Belmont, N.C., and was inducted into the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. Fewell was inducted into the Gaston County (N.C.) Hall of Fame in June 2012.
Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy
Natara Holloway, Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy for Football Operations, has worked with the NFL for over 15 years. She currently oversees football technology and innovation, administration and football pipeline development.
Prior to joining Football Operations, Holloway served as NFL Vice President of Youth and High School Football and was responsible for driving growth and development of the football journey for young athletes aged 6-18.
Holloway has also served as NFL Vice President of Brand, Marketing and Retail Development, where she and her team worked to engage with fans by creating compelling product experiences at key retailers and high-profile events.
Holloway began working with retail in her previous role as the Vice President of Corporate Development – New Business, where her group explored new revenue generation concepts for the NFL. She had the lead role in the development of the first NFL retail pop-up store for women in New Orleans, for which the team was recognized with a Commissioner’s Innovation Award.
Holloway has also previously worked in the Internal Audit department and has served as one of the three League Compliance Officers. She has earned certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Holloway graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston and currently serves on the board for the University of Houston Bauer School of Business and the University of Houston Power Athletics Task Force.