Front Office: Alumna Named to Top NFL Post

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Jackie Davidson ’02 doesn’t typically see herself as a trailblazer or game changer; she gives the credit to those who came before her.

After nine years in the NFL, Davidson was named director of football administration for the New York Jets. In this role, she manages the team’s salary cap, negotiates player contracts and oversees compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and league personnel rules.

With this 2015 appointment, Davidson became one of the highest-ranking women to work in an NFL front office.

“This work allows me to marry the areas I’ve always been drawn toward—math, critical thinking, law and football,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to see our work on display 16 weeks a year. And it’s a measuring stick to see what we need to do better in the future.”

In addition to the education she received as an economics major at Davidson, followed by her law school experience at Cornell, Jackie points to the Honor Code as a key aspect of her education that has stayed with her through the years.

“When I tell people about the Honor Code, they look at me in disbelief,” she said. “I practiced integrity on a daily basis during college, and because that is a part of who I am, I try to continue and practice it every day.”

A believer in the liberal arts, Davidson thinks people who criticize a college’s lack of a business school are being short sighted.

“I think schools today tend to specialize too much,” she said. “A liberal arts education produces a well-rounded individual. I wasn’t prepared for one job, but I was taught how to think, process and react—skills that are more helpful during career path changes. Many of the things I learned during economics classes can be applied to work that has very little to do with economics.”

Davidson was especially influenced by two professors—Latin professor Jeanne Neumann and the late Kelly Chaston from the economics department, who was also Davidson’s adviser.

The faculty, students and staff created a community that Davidson said mirrors the environment she finds herself in today.

“I’ve tried to take the community from college and extend that to my work,” she said. “On a campus and on a football team, everyone has different roles and responsibilities. We’re all pulling in the same direction, and it doesn’t matter who holds which title; we’re all a part of something bigger.”

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About Author

Danielle Strickland

Danielle Strickland concentrates on development-related stories, and she enjoys making connections with Davidson’s most engaged alumni and friends. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from James Madison University and a master’s in higher education leadership from the University of Arkansas. Thankfully, after seven years working as a Razorback, her red-heavy wardrobe allowed for a smooth transition to life as a Wildcat.

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