The football general manager, also known as the GM, is the person responsible for the players contracts. He handles many of legal responsibilities between players and their team contracts. The general manager also hires the head coach and other members of the coaching staff. He is also capable of doing any firing. He oversees all components of a team, including players and staff, and reports back to the president or team owner. Many technicalities bypass the head coach and go straight to the general manager.
Sometimes teams do not designate a general manager. In these instances, the head coach is appointed to a "de facto" general manager and is often given another title, like operations manager or head coordinator. Many head coaches represent the team as the de facto manager and make important decisions and calls for the team. Although some coaches were never appointed as GM, they step into the roles and have the final say in many situations.