With Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sideline and Sarah Thomas serving as a referee, Super Bowl LV exemplified the reality that women can and will be successful in the National Football League. Thomas was the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl while Locust and Javadifar became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl. Earlier this week, Maia Chaka made history when she was hired as the NFL’s first Black female referee. It is clear that women are becoming increasingly involved in the NFL. While Thomas, Chaka, Locust and Javadifar have captured the national headlines recently, one very talented woman in the NFL has flown completely under the radar.
On Friday, Feb. 22, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they had hired Amy Palcic to lead their public relations department. Palcic's first stop in the NFL was with the Cleveland Browns, where she served as the director of communications from 1999 to 2009. Her potential was quickly recognized, as she became the only member of the organization selected to attend the Stanford Executive Leadership Program for future NFL Executives during her time with the Browns.
Palcic became the director of communications for the Houston Texans in 2013 and was eventually promoted to vice president of communications. In this role, she managed J.J. Watt’s public appearances and organized the Texans’ appearance on Hard Knocks, as well as basically all aspects of the Texans’ public relations.
In 2017, she was named one of PRNEWS' Top Women in PR and led the Texans’ PR team to the Pete Rozelle Award, an honor given to the top NFL club public relations staff by the Pro Football Writers of America. Additionally, Palcic was instrumental in J.J. Watt’s fundraiser in which he raised $41 million in 19 days in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. In 2019, Palcic was awarded the Women in Sports and Events Woman of Inspiration title and the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business honor. Through her work for the Browns and Texans, Palcic has become one of the most respected public relations people in the entire NFL.
Despite her accomplishments and high regard within the NFL, Palcic was fired by the Texans in November, as she was not “a cultural fit” anymore in Houston. Upon the news, countless members of the NFL community came to Palcic’s defense, including Donte Stallworth, Watt, Field Yates and Peter King. Jeff Darlington tweeted, "If Amy Palcic isn’t a 'cultural fit,' then the Texans’ culture is absolutely rancid."
After giving up All-Pro Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins last offseason and Palcic during this past season, it seems as if the Texans are allergic to talent. The irony is that the Texans could really use a talented PR person to deal with the current standoff between management and franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. There was no logical reason for the Texans to fire Palcic, but the Texans’ loss has become the Jaguars’ gain. Palcic will be tasked with drumming up public excitement for the Jaguars, who have had one winning season in the last 10 years. By staying in the AFC South, Palcic will have the opportunity to face her former employer twice a year.