Executive Vice President, Football Operations
Troy Vincent Sr., 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, along with policies and procedures relating to NFL games that includes 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.
Senior Vice President, 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).
From 2003–19, Anderson was 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, 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.
Senior Vice President, Football Business Strategy
As Senior Vice President of Football Operations, Kimberly Fields brings a strong background of strategic planning, sports partnerships, and business and legal operations to the NFL. Fields oversees Football Development, Football Business Strategy/Business Operations, Total Wellness and Football Operations Policy & Education.
Over the past two years, Fields has played a key role in leading and developing assets across the NFL for partners and new business opportunities.
Before joining the NFL, Fields spent five seasons as the Director of Civic and Business Affairs for the Minnesota Vikings where she developed civic, business and ownership initiatives for all departments within the Vikings’ organization and helped lead several special projects. Fields also helped grow the Vikings’ corporate social responsibility plans through program development and player cause marketing with Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen and EJ Henderson.
Prior to joining the Vikings organization in 2007, Fields spent six years at NFL headquarters, where she served as the Manager of Events in Business Development and also worked to enhance opportunities for local women- and minority-owned businesses to participate in the production of the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl.
Earlier in her career, Fields worked with 16 NFL teams, providing teams and players with assistance in all aspects of continuing education, degree completion, graduate school preparation, life skills programs and personal development.
Fields earned a juris doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law and is licensed to practice in Minnesota and Washington D.C. Fields also received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in systems engineering at the University of Virginia, where she also competed in track and field.
Senior Vice President, 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 Sr., 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, 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, Player Operations
Tracy Perlman, Senior Vice President of Player Operations, 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.
Chief of Staff, Football Operations
Jade Burroughs, Chief of Staff, Football Operations, directs the activities and staff of the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. She ensures the implementation of objectives, strategies, relationship management and operating plans for the department.
Burroughs’ career at the league office began during the 2017 season when she served as the Senior Director of Football Business Operations and Strategy.
Burroughs joined the NFL from Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment where she served as Director of Business Development for its productions division. At VWSE, she established new high-profile accounts in college and professional sports.
Burroughs previously spent five years with the Big Ten Conference in the branding department, where she managed the day-to-day aspects and execution of the conference’s marketing initiatives, restructured and redesigned the brand style guide, and helped build the conference’s presence on the east coast with the opening of the Big Ten NYC office in 2014.
A 2006 graduate of Lehigh University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Burroughs began her career as a sponsorship coordinator with The Gazelle Group after interning with the Philadelphia Eagles. Active in her native hometown of Palmyra, N.J., Burroughs assists as a youth mentor with the Triboro Track Club.
Vice President, Football Operations and Compliance
Akil Coad, Vice President, Football Operations and Compliance, is responsible for enforcing uniform and equipment rules and on-field policy. He serves on the Footwear Committee, working closely with licensees to improve the quality of footwear for NFL players. Coad has represented Football Operations by overseeing game operations for Pro Bowl and as a team liaison for the Super Bowl and the International Series in London.
Coad is entering his 20th NFL season and his 16th season with the NFL League office in New York City. He began his NFL career in 2001 as an Operations Assistant with the New York Jets. After four years with the Jets, Coad joined Football Operations as Manager of Football Administration and spent four seasons with NFL Europe.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management at West Virginia University.
Vice President, Player Communications and Marketing
April Donnelly leads the development and execution of the communications strategy for players, Legends and the football community for Football Operations. She oversees the digital websites and social channels for Football Operations, the NFL Legends Community and Play Football, driving engagement and education about the game for fans and players. In 2019, she helped launch the Players Community portal and app as a tool for all players and Legends to connect with the resources, benefits, and programs they have earned.
Donnelly’s team is responsible for delivering onsite experiences to players and Legends at events, including Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, Draft, and Combine. This includes development of programming and management of the Legends Lounge at events where hundreds of Legends gather and reconnect.
Previously, Donnelly led Player Procurement and Services where she was responsible for securing appearances for the league and its partners. She also worked in the Entertainment Marketing department and helped coordinate musical guests and performances for league events.
Vice President, Game Operations
Stephanie Durante, Vice President of Game Operations, works closely with all 32 clubs to protect the equity and integrity of the game through policy management, education and compliance. Her responsibilities include monitoring stadium preparations for all team and NFL needs, such as building facilities, field, coaches’ booths, video locations, locker rooms, football technology and more. Durante is the main point of contact in the Game Day Operations Center where all games are being monitored. She advises senior executives from clubs and the NFL on all gameday-related matters.
Durante oversees participating team operations for the Super Bowl, which includes identifying practice sites, team headquarter hotels, spillover hotels, team logistics and stadium operations on gameday.
In her fifteenth season at the NFL, Durante joined Football Operations in 2007 as the administrative assistant to the Director of Game Operations and has remained in the Game Operations department throughout her career.
Durante earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Rider University.
Vice President, Player Engagement
Rob Morrissey, Vice President of Player Engagement, is responsible for the overall development, planning, and administration for the department’s programmatic priorities.
Prior to joining the NFL as a manager of Player Engagement in 2005, Morrissey worked for several years in higher education at Dartmouth College. His experience advising student-athletes serves Player Engagement in implementing efficient and effective ways to assist active NFL players with completing their undergraduate education or graduate degrees.
Morrissey is a graduate of Vassar College and earned his master’s degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.
Vice President, Wellness and Clinical Services
Nyaka NiiLampti, Ph.D., is the Vice President of Wellness and Clinical Services. She is responsible for implementing and expanding the Total Wellness platform and ensuring a holistic approach to the care of players and members of the NFL family.
The Total Wellness platform includes overall wellness, family safety, healthy lifestyle development and transition support through clinical resources, education and awareness efforts, peer-to-peer connections, research, and an overall proactive approach. Dr. NiiLampti is charged with developing, managing and promoting all aspects of Total Wellness along with internal and external stakeholders, active players and Legends, NFL club and league staff, player support systems, governing bodies and the broader community.
Dr. NiiLampti is a licensed psychologist with 20 years of clinical experience, and has worked extensively with organizations, sports teams, individuals and families in a variety of settings, including community mental health, college counseling centers, and private practice. She most recently served as the Director of Player Wellness for the NFL Players Association, where she focused on providing resources and educating players on all aspects of wellness and served as an advocate for players by ensuring their rights are protected under the NFL drug policies.
Before joining the NFLPA, Dr. NiiLampti was a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Psychology at Queens University of Charlotte, where she taught undergraduate courses in multiple areas and served as the Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA.
During that time, she also provided comprehensive services in private practice, focused primarily on athlete well-being and performance related concerns as well as serving as a treating clinician for the NFL and as an approved clinician for the NBA/NBPA.
Her research focused on multiculturalism and mental health, particularly as those concepts relate to issues of resiliency and success, and she provided local and national trainings, workshops and lectures on a variety of topics, including aspects of cultural diversity and identity, athletes and mental health, and student-athlete transition.
A former track and field college student-athlete, Nyaka has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, master’s degree with a concentration in sports psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University.
Vice President, Football Development
Roman Oben, Vice President of Football Development, drives the league’s youth football strategy and develops new platforms to encourage participation in tackle and flag football. He has also helped reshape the way the collegiate student-athlete is educated on preparing for the NFL on and off the field.
Oben’s 12-year NFL career began with the New York Giants in 1996. Oben started more than 90% of games throughout his career and in 2002, he helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their first Super Bowl (XXXVII). His career included stints with the Giants, Cleveland Browns, Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers. Oben finished his playing career after the 2007 season.
After retiring, Oben held several business development roles and had an extensive media career, including as a recurring guest on MSNBC shows discussing sports and their societal impact.
Oben has been a leader and advocate for sports enrichment, receiving countless awards for community service both as an NFL player and off the field.
Oben earned a master’s degree in public administration at Farleigh Dickinson University in May 2001 while playing with the Browns. He played college football and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Louisville. He was inducted into Louisville’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
Born in Cameroon, West Africa, Oben moved to the United States when he was four years old and grew up in Washington, D.C. As a teenager, he worked concessions at NFL games at RFK Stadium.
Vice President, Policy and Rules Administration
Jon Runyan, Vice President of Policy and Rules Administration, oversees club and game-related initiatives related to players. He serves as Commissioner Roger Goodell’s designee for on-field discipline and supervises the uniform and protective equipment inspection program. His approach to decreasing on-field violations emphasizes communication, consistent application of the rules and player education. Runyan works closely with groups across the league, including the Competition Committee, Player Safety Advisory Panel, head coaches and team equipment managers. Runyan has served in this role since 2016.
Runyan earned a scholarship to the University of Michigan, becoming the first person in his family to attend college. He was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1996 and went on to have a successful NFL career with the Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers, including making the Pro Bowl in 2002. He was the last active player to play for the Houston Oilers.
After retiring from the NFL in 2010, Runyan served New Jersey’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.
A member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame, Runyan is involved in many charities and organizations that benefit the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, including the New Jersey Special Olympics, American Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, USO, Armed Forces Freedom Ride and Habitat for Humanity. He also served on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Delaware Valley.
Vice President, Officiating Training and Development
George Stewart, Vice President of Officiating Training and Development, oversees the officiating pipeline and diversity efforts, assisting the senior vice president with managing the training program for current and prospective game officials, and providing specialized officiating guidance based on a unique coaching perspective.
Stewart has 38 years of coaching experience, including 32 seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Prior to the NFL, Stewart spent six years at the college level, where he coached at Arkansas, Minnesota and Notre Dame. In 1988, he won a national championship while coaching the Notre Dame linebackers and was the special teams coordinator.
Stewart, who lettered from 1978-80 at Arkansas, was a member of the all-decade team of the ‘70s, and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2021.