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New York Jets send invaluable gift to groundbreaking former scout

Mark Gastineau, Connie Carberg, NY Jets Scout
Mark Gastineau, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets showed gratitude to scouting pioneer Connie Carberg with a thoughtful gift

Before the New York Jets became known for the “butt fumble” (and subsequent jokes surrounding their recent mediocrity), they were pioneers in shaping the NFL as we know it today.

Many fans know about Joe Namath’s famous guarantee that led the 19-point underdogs to defeat the Baltimore Colts and become the first AFL team to win a Super Bowl. However, less is known about their other groundbreaking achievement – hiring the NFL’s first female scout, Connie Carberg. On Monday, Carberg revealed a unique gift sent by the Jets to help acknowledge her accomplishments with the team.

Following her presence on a panel hosted by the Jets on International Women’s Day (and later followed by an inspiring video from the NFL following her career and its impact), Carberg recently unveiled a gift sent by the Jets that would blow her away. The team sent their former scout a framed “Carberg” jersey, donning No. 7, along with a photo of the NFL’s first female scout on the job and another involving the groundbreaking women who spoke on the IWD panel.

This is a well-deserved gift for a true pioneer in the sport. Carberg famously became a scout for the Jets in 1976 after starting her career with the team as a receptionist. She accepted a position in the department after a phone call from then-general manager Al Ward and then-director of player personnel Mike Holovak.

“It was just something that was part of me and something I felt I could do,” Carberg recalled when reflecting on the moment years ago.

While former owner Leon Hess restricted her opportunities at the position in 1979, she made the most of the opportunity. In fact, it’s a credit to Carberg that the Jets were able to acquire franchise legend Mark Gastineau.

The Jets’ pioneer put Gastineau on the team’s radar prior to the 1979 NFL draft. With the Jets coaching at the Senior Bowl, Carberg recommended they add the East Central University product as a replacement on the roster. In that year’s draft, the then-projected eighth-round pick was selected in the second round by New York. Not only would Gastineau retire as the Jets’ all-time sack leader, but he would also set the NFL’s single-season sack record with 22.0 in 1984 (until it was questionably broken by Michael Strahan in 2001).

She also has a great relationship with Jets legend Wesley Walker, who the latter claims Carberg was the first person in the organization he’d spoken to once being drafted by the team in 1977. To this day, the two maintain a friendship.

While Carberg’s trailblazing entrance into the sport was hardly mentioned at the time, it opened a gateway of opportunity for other women. As of July 2023, 33 full-time female scouts were employed by NFL teams. If history has given us any indication, that will only increase with time.

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