How Connie Carberg, NFL's first female scout, helped discover Jets Pro Bowler originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Connie Carberg made NFL history in 1976 when the New York Jets hired her as the league's first female scout. And she got right down to business.
The New York native spent nearly five years in the Jets' personnel department and helped her hometown team acquire several talented players.
Perhaps Carberg's greatest personnel achievement came ahead of the 1979 NFL Draft, when the Jets' coaching staff was working at that year's Senior Bowl and Carberg was tasked with an emergency assignment.
As Carberg recalled to Phil Perry on a new Next Pats Podcast, it all started when highly-touted defensive lineman Mike Stensrud got hurt before the Senior Bowl.
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"They needed a replacement on the defensive line," Carberg told Perry. "Most of the guys on the North and South (teams) are first- and second-round picks. My boss was on the road and called me and said, 'You need to find a replacement.'
"I go through whatever film we could find, I look through all the books, the writeups, everything, and I narrowed it down to five guys. They were all rounds three to seven, four to seven."
That's when Carberg took matters into her own hands by calling each of her five finalists.
"Most of the other guys said, 'Tell me more about it, how long do I need to be there, when do you need me to go? That's sounds interesting,'" Carberg said.
"One guy that I called said, 'Get me on the next plane. I'm there. All I've ever wanted to do in my life is play pro football. This is it. This is the most exciting day of my life.' His passion and his attitude and his enthusiasm just came through.
"And I went back and looked it up, and it was the guy with the 4.55(-second 40-yard-dash) speed at 6-foot-5, 280 (pounds). And that was Mark Gastineau."
Gastineau wasn't highly-touted out of Division II East Central Oklahoma State. But the Jets selected him in the second round in part due to Carberg's recommendation, and he blossomed into a star pass rusher as part of the team's famed "New York Sack Exchange."
Gastineau earned five Pro Bowl honors over 10 NFL seasons, led the NFL in sacks twice, won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1982 and was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor in 2012. Had Carberg not realized Gastineau's potential, that list of accolades might have been a whole lot shorter.
Carberg had plenty more stories to tell on the Next Pats Podcast, including how she got her start with the Jets and how she feels about seeing women working in the NFL today.