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Katie Blackburn is one of the forces who will shape the future of the NFL

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Katie Blackburn has had an increasing role in the decisions being made within the organization, and she is finally getting recognition for it.

Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Camp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Bengals are going through one of the biggest shakeups the organization has undergone in over 15 years.

The team parted ways with Marvin Lewis who led the team for 16 seasons, and they appear to be moving on to Zac Taylor, the Ram’s current quarterbacks. It appears that Cincinnati could be undergoing a very serious shakeup that we haven’t seen in a long time. What has been going under the radar is the shift occurring at the ownership level.

It is no secret that Mike Brown has been the owner of the Bengals for a very long time. He assumed ownership in 1991 after Paul Brown’s death. Since then, he has played a major part in just about every decision the organization has made. However, at the age of 83, it appears there is a shift in power occurring, one that could shape the future of the Bengals and NFL altogether.

ESPN recently made a list of 100 people who will shape the NFL’s future. Katie Blackburn was the only Bengal among that list, and she absolutely deserves her spot.

The daughter of Bengals owner Mike Brown has been working for her father’s team and negotiating NFL contracts since the 1990s. Her role in the organization has only increased over time, and if the 83-year-old Brown begins to take a step back from the day-to-day operations of the team in the next few years, Blackburn could emerge as one of the most influential women in the league along with Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk.

We could be seeing Blackburn’s first major decision play out this offseason, as it was reported that the head coaching decision ultimately came down to Blackburn and Browns’ other children, according to Albert Breer of MMQB.

One nugget to emerge from the Bengals search: Owner Mike Brown’s kids—daughter Katie Blackburn, son-in-law Troy Blackburn and son Paul—have increasingly become more involved in running the team. Or it at least it seems that way to guys going through there. Those four, and personnel chief Duke Tobin, are the ones in the room for the interviews.

While it isn’t Katie Blackburn by herself, she has clearly emerged as the apparent heir to the Bengals throne ahead of her brother Paul Brown. It appears that how Taylor fairs as a head coach will be the first judgement of how well Blackburn will fair as the lead decision maker.

It really is hard to imagine any major shakeups as far as how the team is built. The philosophy of keeping your franchise changing players and building through the draft will likely remain the philosophy of this team, considering how long Blackburn has had a hand in the organization, but it is still refreshing that the Bengals are likely moving towards her taking over for her father.