NFL Team Report Cards: For The Players, By The Players


JC Tretter

March 1, 2023

One of our core jobs as a union is to improve the overall working conditions for our players. Often, you see our advocacy on “big” issues -- like our push for better field surfaces at stadiums or standardized safety protocols that limit the risk of workplace injuries -- but it also includes the daily experience of players at the team facilities away from the lights and cameras.

For many years, players have brought up the idea of creating a “Free Agency Guide,” which would contain information that can help illuminate what that daily experience is like for players and their families from team to team. If knowledge is really power, then providing players with information about each club would not only help them make important career decisions, but it would also help raise the standards across each club.

Here is a more detailed look as to why we took on this project and created “Club Report Cards,” along with what we hope they will accomplish and what comes next:

What were our objectives?

  • Highlight positive clubs - It was really important to highlight the teams that are doing things well and where players are happy. It makes a big difference when players go to work feeling supported by their club, and we want our members to know which clubs make players feel that way based on the responses from some who were on that club during this past year.

  • Identifying clubs that need improvement - For players who have been on one team and are looking to move elsewhere for whatever reason, there is currently no centralized resource to compare some players’ feelings and opinions about their working experiences from one team to another.

  • Highlight best practices and standards - Players who have only played on one team for their entire career may accept their team’s standards as the norm and often think conditions are the same everywhere else. Making more information and opinions available can not only inform players about best practices, but also hopefully help raise the standards across all clubs.

What are our desired results?

  • Educate our membership – Our goal as a union is always to bring value to our members, and getting feedback from them is a classic union tool to get a better understanding of what membership feels about certain issues. We hope this can be a resource for all players.

  • Information will lead to action – No problem can be fixed until it is identified and acknowledged as a problem. We hope that teams will take this feedback and improve the facilities and players’ experiences, where needed.

What’s next?

  • We don’t want this to be a one-year project. Our intent is to continue to field player opinions and feedback every year. As we have carefully noted, these Club Report Cards are a snapshot of opinions during one period in time, and those opinions can change if the clubs make decisions that impact the player experience in the workplace.

As you click through the Club Report Cards, understand that the categories are both specific to the job of an NFL player and make a difference in the daily experience in our jobs. We also believe that each club has the resources – and an obligation – to ensure that things like weight rooms are in the best possible condition, training rooms are properly staffed and each interaction with players from club personnel is a positive one.

We know our jobs are unique; and for the first time, we are peeling back the curtain on issues that we talk about among ourselves as players but have been unable to organize and publish in a centralized way. Again, our hope is that transparency across the NFL can help lead to positive changes for players, which is what our union is all about.

During the last two years, the Board of Representatives has discussed ways to improve the information available to free agents making decisions about their prospective Clubs and decided to pursue the development of “Club Report Cards” that, while not a scientific survey, would report the quantitative and qualitative opinions of NFL players about their respective Clubs.

In connection with that goal, questions were sent to every player on the 2022 team rosters asking them their opinions about their Club’s facilities, certain Club personnel/coaches, and other work-related categories, such as Club’s treatment of families and team travel (players were not asked questions about any Club other than their 2022 employer). As a result of the confidential questionnaire, 1,300 players responded. There then was a qualitative follow up by the union, which resulted in the following “report card.”

The questions called for both quantitative and qualitative answers; for example: “Grade your weight room with 1 reflecting best rating, 5 reflecting lowest rating” and “What would you change about your weight room?” The numerical ratings for each sub-category of questions were tallied and averaged. The questionnaire also sought to elicit the opinion of players on some issues that have a direct impact on the quality of life for NFL players. These qualitative responses, which are inherently subjective, were reviewed and evaluated by the union and then factored into providing an overall rating that was intended to reflect player opinions.

Based upon all of this information, the rankings from Club to Club were determined by comparing how each Club graded in each category.

Finally, the Club Report Card includes an overview, which is a summary of the players’ responses and opinions about the Club workplace and specifically about how players perceived Clubs’ commitment to workplace issues.