National

NFL report cards: Despite another Super Bowl win, Chiefs again ranked among worst workplaces by players

INDIANAPOLIS — A poll of 1,706 NFL players again produced some eyebrow-raising highlights and lowlights for franchises across the league this week, as the NFL Players Association released their second annual club report cards on workplace conditions.

Grading across a band of 11 categories — including a new look into head-coach job performance and willingness of club owners to invest in facilities — the report cards again focused an internal light on how players view the workplace inside their franchises. The union repeatedly stressed that the report cards are not perceived to have a correlation to wins and losses on the field. Instead, the aim was to judge the experience of what it's like to work inside each player's respective team.

That said, the report provided predictable grades and continuing anomalies when compared to the NFL's most and least successful franchises. Among them:

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were ranked 31st overall (after 29th last year) in a compilation of the weighted categories. The Chiefs scored a D+ or lower in a stunning seven aspects, including treatment of families (D+); training room and team travel (both Ds); nutritionist/dietician, locker room and training staff (all Fs); and a league-worst score in ownership (F-). The ownership score was based on a commitment to invest in facilities. According to the NFLPA, players criticized team owner Clark Hunt for a failure to renovate the team's locker room following the 2022 Super Bowl-winning season.

Carolina owner David Tepper, the league'smost-scrutinizedownerby a wide margin, is unsurprisingly unpopular in his own building. Tepper received a D grade and scored 6.6/10, which was 28th in the league. The main issue, the report sites, was his choice to change the playing surface at Bank of America Stadium to an artificial surface despite the players unanimously wanting to play on natural grass.

The top five group of overall scores went to (in order of score) the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars. The bottom five ranked from 28th to 32nd overall, were the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, Chiefs and Washington Commanders.

Andy Reid was ranked the top coach in his job performance category with an A+. Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels finished at the bottom of the league, ranked 32nd and with a score of D. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni received an A and was lauded for his willingness to listen to the locker room. That's interesting given how their 10-1 start quickly cratered, resulting in coaching shakeups. A possible explanation is that the survey closed in mid-November when the team was 8-1, coming off of a win over the Cowboys and their bye week.

In Bill Belichick's final season with New England, the Patriots ranked 29th with an F-, falling four spots from last year's report. The union's report noted that the Patriots are one of 12 teams that don't provide a family room during gamedays and one of seven clubs that don't provide daycare support on gamedays. "The Patriots are the only team in the NFL with a majority of players feeling that their team’s facility is worse than places they could train offsite," the NFLPA's report stated. The club's weight room got the worst marks in the league. Belichick got a B- grade, ranking 27th among head coaches.

The biggest jump in the rankings went to the Jaguars, who were infamously outed in last year’s survey as having a rat infestation in their previous practice facility. That rodent problem played a part to tanking the Jaguars' overall grade to 28th during the 2022 season. With a new practice facility opened and multiple other categories improving, the Jaguars soared up the overall rankings to fifth in the 2023 season.

The Washington Commanders didn't see any overall improvement despite new ownership in 2023. The Commanders finished 32nd overall in the rankings for the second straight year and had a league-worst F- in three different categories, including locker room, training room and treatment of families.

The Arizona Cardinals saw a small bump in the rankings in what appeared to be a direct response to the NFPLA’s report card one year ago. During this year’s survey, players noted that the team began offering daycare and a small family room, and halted its practice of charging players for dinner during the week. That earned Arizona a modest bump from 31st overall in the rankings to 27th.

Two financial nuggets that stood out, given that they are tied to billion-dollar franchises: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished 24th overall, charged non-starting players with less than four years of experience a fee of $1,750 if they wanted to opt out of having a roommate in their hotel room prior to games. And the Chargers offered a discount on gameday daycare services: $75 for the first child and $50 for each additional child.

Overall, the NFLPA's leadership of president J.C. Tretter and executive director Lloyd Howell said there was some overall improvement across the league in a range of categories. That indicated to the union that teams were responding to last year's report card, which was the first of its kind in polling players on their perception of workplace conditions.

0
Comments on this article