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Joe Browne ended a 50-year career at the National Football League office on March 31, 2016 as the longest serving employee ever in that office.
He began as a 17-year-old college intern in 1965. Upon his NFL retirement, he told younger colleagues they should consider changing their career path every 50 years or so simply to stay fresh. After serving on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, he became a full-time NFL employee in 1970 and was named to several key front office posts by then Commissioner Pete Rozelle during the next 20 years.
Browne later was appointed the NFL’s first-ever Vice President by then Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in April, 1990. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in 1995 and Executive Vice President of Communications & Government Affairs in 2002.
Browne’s league-wide areas of responsibility during his career included NFL media relations, public affairs and community relations in North America and overseas. He also served as chief liaison for the NFL clubs in Congressional, military and government agency-related matters in Washington D.C.
Browne’s specific responsibilities included generating international publicity and media coverage for the annual Super Bowl, the most popular and most watched one-day sporting event in North America. He worked the last 49 consecutive games. Super Bowl Sunday has evolved into an unofficial winter holiday in the USA. The Super Bowl annually attracts more than 5,000 members of an international media corps and is televised to 170 countries and territories in nearly 25 languages.
Browne became Senior Advisor to Commissioner Roger Goodell in 2010. He spent his last five years in that position primarily working with the NFL’s 20,000-plus retired players. “We in the NFL are fortunate to have thousands of players who have become successful in their post playing careers,” Browne says. “We also have programs in place to help other alumni who may be struggling.”
He now heads the New York-based Joe Browne Agency which serves clients at the intersection of sports, entertainment and politics. He also serves on the International Advisory Board for FleishmanHillard, the global communications firm.
Browne was a charter member of the Board of Directors of USA Football, the governing body for amateur football in the United States. The organization in 2016 created the ‘Joe Browne Leadership Award’ annually is bestowed on “A Football Leader Who Is Committed To The Betterment Of Young Athletes”. Browne himself was the first recipient.
He has been honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame with its Ralph Hay Pioneer Award which is given periodically to a person who has made significant and innovative contributions to pro football. Browne also has been a recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award given by the New Orleans Touchdown Club and the Reds Bagnell Award presented by the Maxwell Club of Philadelphia.
He serves on the Board of Directors of the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Advisory Board for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also recently served on the national Board of Governors for the United Way of America.
Browne was born in New York and was the first scholarship basketball player at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, N.Y. where he is a member of his alma mater’s Hall of Fame. He is a graduate of St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y.
Browne and his wife Karyn live on Long Island and have two adult sons – Tim and Randy.