NFLPA Survey Shows Cardinals, Commanders, Jaguars & Bengals Provide Some Terrible Working Conditions For Players

The NFL Player's Association conducted a survey of NFL players ranking their current teams based on eight categories. Some teams -- like the Vikings, Dolphins and Raiders -- look pretty good. Others -- like the Cardinals, Commanders, Jaguars and Bengals -- look downright terrible.

They report that 1,300 players took part in the survey. Players were asked to grade each category -- plus add commentary -- and the teams were ranked from there. The eight categories used are treatment of families, nutrition, weight room, strength staff, training staff, training room, locker room and travel.

According to the NFLPA website, the purpose of the examination was to help "improve the overall working conditions for our players, which includes the daily experience of players at the team facilities away from the lights and cameras... to not only help them make important career decisions, but also help raise standards across the league.

"Our goals were to highlight positive clubs, identify areas that could use improvement, and highlight best practices and standards."

The Minnesota Vikings came out on top, receiving at least an A- in every category. The report says that the Vikings are "a shining example of what is possible when a concerted investment is made in both staffing and facilities."

Next, the Miami Dolphins. Miami received an A+ in five out of eight categories, an A in two others, and were only held back by a C+ in treatment of families.

The Las Vegas Raiders ranked third. They had no worse than a B in any category. Though, players noted that Josh McDaniels is not exactly well-liked by the team. "At this workplace, the lowest graded category was the coaching staff. Player respondents felt that Head Coach Josh McDaniels is less likely to listen to his players and keeps them for longer hours than other Head Coaches around the league."

Not all teams did well in the NFLPA free agency survey

That's the (mostly) good. The bad? No surprise, the Washington Commanders came in dead last.

The Commanders received three F-minuses (training room, locker room and travel), and an F in treatment of families. They did get an A+ for strength coaches, but no other grade came in higher than a C+.

Among many issues with Commanders' facilities, players said that "there are complaints of a lack of warm water and issues with poor drainage in the showers."

The Arizona Cardinals also received three F-minuses (nutrition, weight room and training room) along with two Fs (treatment of families and locker room). They were saved by an A in training staff and B-pluses in travel and training room.

The Los Angeles Chargers ranked third-to-last, followed by the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. Though, the survey did say that the Chargers rated poorly because the team is currently in a temporary facility.

Survey provides an interesting look into the working conditions for individual teams

Everyone probably assumes that NFL players receive the best of the best in all areas of their job-related functions. But, according to the players, that's simply not true.

Travel is an interesting piece of the puzzle. For example, I did not know that seven teams don't provide first-class travel for players to games.

Washington received the only F- in travel, and the survey notes that "only 22% of players feel like they have enough space on team flights. The Commanders are one of six teams in the NFL that make a segment of their players have roommates before games and one of seven teams in the NFL that do not offer their players first class seats."

Nutrition and food brought up some fascinating revelations as well. AFC Championship loser Cincinnati is "one of 3 teams in the NFL that doesn't provide dinner to players; one of only 2 teams to not provide vitamins to players; and, the only team that doesn't provide supplements to players."

How does a top-level NFL team not supply enough food, vitamins, and supplements to players??

Not only that, "players report that they are encouraged to come in on their off days to work out and prepare for the game; however, the cafeteria is not open on those days, so players can’t even grab a banana before working out."


The Super Bowl Champion Chiefs called out their trainer by name.

"Player respondents called for a more welcoming environment, and several players had negative opinions about head trainer Rick Burkholder, feeling that he does not treat players fairly and consistently, or with personal care."

It gets worse for Cardinals, Bengals, Jaguars players

The Arizona Cardinals -- one of three teams along with Bengals and New Orleans Saints to receive an F- in food -- have "a policy of deducting dinner from players’ paychecks should players want to get food from the facility."

You'd think the team would encourage players to eat their food at the facility and provide them with top-notch nutrition. Not so, apparently.

And, not only do the Bengals not supply the players with adequate nutrition, their treatment of families brought a wild accusation to light. "There is nowhere warm and safe for mothers and kids to go during the game because the Bengals do not provide a family room, unlike the majority of teams. Players reported that wives have sat on the public restroom floor to nurse their babies," the report states.

And, apparently, the "nursing on a floor" isn't unique to Cincinnati. The Jacksonville Jaguars (fifth-worst overall) also got an F in "treatment of families." Why? The exact same issue as Cincinnati: "we heard of instances where players' wives nursed their babies on the floor of a public restroom."

WHAT?! Multiple teams don't even have a simple room for mothers and children.

That's not even the worst offense perpetrated by the Jaguars: "When asked what the number one thing they want changed at their facility, the answer was unanimous – get rid of the rats! Players reported that for 3-4 weeks this season, there was a rat infestation in the locker room and laundry hampers."

I assume the team figured when they ousted Urban Meyer, the rat problem went away. But evidently, it did not. It's not the first claim about rats around the Jaguars, either.

This serves as a reminder that even professional athletes deal with issues that fans don't get to see.

Thanks to the NFLPA bringing some of these issues to light, perhaps some changes might eventually comes.

This is the biggest sporting league in the world, bringing in millions of dollars.

It's almost unbelievable that some teams nickel-and-dime players to such an egregious degree.

I understand some people may argue that the players make millions of dollars and can get their own food and provide their own space for their families.

But these players spend far more hours at team facilities than the average American worker. At least, that's what we expect.

Maybe the Cardinals facility conditions explain why Kyler Murray tries to leave as soon as possible.

It's a strong reminder that there are three sides to every NFL story: the player's side, the team's side and the truth.