This is the time of year that the NFL gets a lot of movement. After the drama of Black Monday, which sees teams dropping head coaches and general managers like hot cakes, movement in the coaching staff usually follows in a tidal wave. The standard names are dropped into a hat, and new hires are announced as they happen. Some come as expected, and are passed over with a small note on Twitter, others get full fanfare and cause uproar. The announcement from the Bills today falls somewhere in between those two. In a move which helps to highlight the continuing progression that the NFL is making towards promoting a much healthier attitude to women that it was previously stigmatised with, the Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills formally announced the hiring of Kathryn Smith to the position of special teams quality control. Smith has worked with the Bills for some time now, and Ryan praised her previous work with the team in other roles. Prior to working for the Bills, Smith worked with Ryan at the Jets for 12 seasons. Special teams Quality control doesn’t sound all that important, but coaching positions in the NFL are not given out lightly, and you can guarantee that Smith beat several male applicants to the role, which is testament not only to her skills as a coach, but to how far the NFL has come. This is not the first bit of news involving increased presence of females in important roles within the organization. Only last year, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter – herself an ex-player in an all-female contact football league – as a coaching intern in the role of assistant linebacker coach, breaking unspoken taboos on women working within franchises. This was followed by the NFL officials announcing the appointment of Sarah Thomas as a developmental line Judge, and putting her out officiating on the Chargers vs Seahawks game in the pre-season, and then continuing on into the regular season (resulting in some awkward moments). Some people have described this kind of move as headline-grabbing lip service, but I for one believe that the NFL as a whole is waking up to the fact that women have a place within the sport alongside the men that have dominated the sport for so long. Gone are the days of underpaid cheerleaders being the only aspiration a young girl could have when she watches football with her parents. Now they can watch as side-line judges and positional coaches with professional doctorates influence the outcome of the game that they love. This is a modern world, and this is a modern game. Expect to hear more announcements along these lines as the years roll by, and the NFL embraces the concept of Females within its structure. How long until we have a woman hired as HC, GM, or heading up an officiating crew?