Bills owner credits Kathryn Smith for earning her promotion

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills co-owner Kim Pegula congratulated Kathryn Smith for becoming the NFL’s first full-time female assistant coach by saying she earned the promotion.

“Kathryn has been a part of Rex (Ryan’s) staff for the past seven years and has proven that she does excellent work,” Pegula said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Thursday. “While we understand the significance of this announcement, it’s important to understand that Kathryn earned this position because she has shown she is qualified, dedicated and puts in the work needed for this role.”

Pegula issued the statement a day after the Bills broke the league’s gender barrier by promoting Smith to be their special teams quality control coach.

“The Bills organization is proud of Kathryn and her promotion,” Pegula added. “We look forward to the contributions she will make to our organization in her new role.”

The move has generated a tremendous amount of buzz and attention.

Chelsea Clinton took notice by posting a note on her Twitter account. The daughter of Bill and Hillary Clinton wrote “(hash)NoCeilings” in posting a link to a story about Smith’s promotion.

Smith’s appointment comes after Jen Welter served a six-week training camp internship last summer coaching inside linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals.

Smith is well-known within the Bills staff after spending this season as an administrative assistant for the team’s assistant coaches. She spent the past seven years working alongside Ryan.

She was the New York Jets player personnel assistant when Ryan took over as coach in 2009. Smith then served as Ryan’s assistant in 2014, his final year in New York before he was fired and then hired by the Bills.

“She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities,” Ryan said in a statement released by the team. “She has proven that she’s ready for the next step.”

The 30-year-old Smith grew up outside of Syracuse, New York, and was a three-sport athlete at Christian Brothers Academy, where she was on the swimming, bowling and field hockey teams. She also spent time assisting her father Robert in serving as the school football team’s statistician.

Smith then attended St. John’s University, where she studied sports management and also worked as a men’s basketball team manager.

While at St. John’s, she landed internships with the New York Jets, first in a game-day/special events position and then a role in college scouting.

Online: AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Don Ohlmeyer, longtime network TV executive, dies at 72

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Don Ohlmeyer, the “Monday Night Football” producer who came up with the phrase “Must See TV” in leading NBC to the No. 1 prime-time spot, died Sunday. He was 72.

“It is with heavy hearts we share that Don Ohlmeyer, our beloved husband, father and grandfather, has passed away at age of 72 due to cancer,” Ohlmeyer’s family said in a statement. “Surrounded by loved ones, he died peacefully at his home in Indian Wells.”

Longtime friend Al Michaels announced Ohlmeyer’s death while broadcasting NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

Ohlmeyer won 16 Emmys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Peabody Awards.

Ohlmeyer became producer of “MNF” in 1972, teaming with director Chet Forte and the on-air crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford. In 2000 in his second “MNF” stint, Ohlmeyer put comedian Dennis Miller in the booth.

Ohlmeyer first worked for ABC Sports as a gofer while studying at Notre Dame and became a full-time production assistant in 1967 under Roone Arledge, working on “Wide World of Sports.” Along with his “Monday Night Football” work, he directed the network’s Olympic coverage and created “The Superstars.” Later at NBC Sports, he produced World Series and Super Bowl broadcasts.

After running his own Ohlmeyer Communications Company, he returned to NBC in 1993 as president of its entertainment division. He came up with “Must See TV” in the 1990s, when NBC’s rating soared with such hits as “Seinfeld,” ”Friends,” ”ER” and “Frasier.”

Watch Live: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys on NBC

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The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in a battle of NFC East rivals on Sunday Night Football.

Despite going 13-3 and earning the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last year, the Cowboys lost twice to the Giants in 2016, including a loss in Week 1. Dallas hopes to not have a repeat of last year and will rely on sophomores Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to carry the load. Don’t be surprised if Elliott gets even more carries in this game because there is a possibility his six-game suspension is upheld and he will have plenty of time to rest up before he sees game action again.

The Giants will rely on their strong defense led by DB Landon Collins and DE Jason Pierre-Paul to try and get after Prescott and bottle up Elliott. On offense, New York is all about Eli Manning and the passing attack. Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to suit up, but it remains to be seen how big of a role he will have after injuring his ankle in the preseason. As a result, look for new additions WR Brandon Marshall and rookie TE Evan Engram, to go along with sophomore WR Sterling Shepard to step up for Manning.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Giants vs. Cowboys

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app