Broncos executive interviews to be first female general manager in NFL history

Jan 10, 2024, 8:40 PM

The first female general manager in NFL history hasn’t happened yet, although Susan Tose Spencer did handle the responsibilities without the title for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early-to-mid 1980s.

Kelly Kleine Van Calligan could be poised to change that.

Wednesday, the Broncos’ executive director of football operations and special advisor to the general manager interviewed with the Las Vegas Raiders for their vacant general-manager position. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported the interview.

Kleine Van Calligan joined the Broncos in 2021, shortly after George Paton became the Broncos’ general manager. Like Paton, Kleine Van Calligan joined the Broncos from the Minnesota Vikings. She worked in various capacities in Minnesota, rising from public-relations intern during the 2012 season to manager of player personnel and college scout during the 2019 and 2020 campaigns.

She also worked closely alongside Paton during the Broncos’ head-coaching search in early 2022, taking part in the interview process.


Kleine Van Calligan is one of a growing number of candidates to potentially shatter a long-standing glass ceiling in the NFL. Among those is Browns assistant general manager Catherine Raîche, who also worked with the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are numerous female owners, although some aren’t the team’s day-to-day primary executive. Some of them include Amy Adams Strunk, who brought the Tennessee Titans out of chaos in the wake of founding owner Bud Adams’ death and restored that club to contention. Jody Allen has run the Seattle Seahawks since Paul Allen’s death in 2018. Sheila Ford Hamp is a second-generation female owner, overseeing the Detroit Lions.

But since Tose Spencer served as a vice president with the Eagles, no female has been the executive with final-say authority in football operations. Tose Spencer is the daughter of Leonard Tose, then the Eagles’ owner. When Tose sold the club to auto-dealership magnate Norman Braman, Tose Spencer left the organization.

Kleine Van Calligan could change that.

Las Vegas created the vacancy when owner Mark Davis fired coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler at midseason. Both had worked for the Broncos, with Ziegler joining the Broncos during McDaniels’ ill-fated stint as head coach that didn’t even last two years.


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