National

NFL report cards: Breaking down top/bottom 5 of several notable categories, including head coaches and team owners

The NFLPA released its annual report cards on Wednesday, surveying players about their teams and the facilities/services they offer.

Several notable categories were featured, including team rankings overall, head coaches, team owners, locker room and treatment of families. Here's a look at the top five and bottom five of those categories.

NFL team rankings

Great food and facilities. A strong connection to the head coach.

Those were among the leading reasons the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings ranked No. 1 and 2 in the NFLPA's overall workplace rankings.

The Dolphins got straight As in 11 categories. The NFLPA's report noted about the Dolphins, "Multiple players made it a point to give credit to the staff in the cafeteria. They think the food service staff is tremendous."

Although head coach Mike McDaniel didn't crack the top five among his peers, ranking eighth overall, he was lauded as the second-highest head coach willing to listen to the locker room.

Their worst grades were A- in treatment of families and training staff, while they ranked first in a whopping five categories: food/cafeteria, training room, training staff, team travel and ownership.

Last year, the Vikings finished No. 1 overall in the NFLPA rankings. They didn't fall too far this year which can be partially credited to the players' strong connection with head coach Kevin O’Connell who ranked No. 2 among head coaches. The team's lone B grades were in the training staff and food/cafeteria categories. Minnesota took first in treatment of families, nutritionist/dietician, locker room and strength coaches.

The Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars rounded out the top five. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson noted on the Jags:

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 Packers were applauded for an upgrade in team facilities, including an underground parking facility. .

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and team owner Jeffrey Lurie each received A grades, which helped Philadelphia finish fourth, with the training staff, weight room and strength coaches receiving strong marks as well (and thanks from the NFLPA for the upgraded hot tub room).

The bottom five featured a surprise with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs ranking No. 31 overall, only better than the Washington Commanders. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson wrote:

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.

As for the Commanders … hoo boy. (Get used to reading that.) They got F- grades in three categories, Fs in two more, and need major improvement from the new ownership group after “years of neglect.” But hey, at least the strength coaches ranked fifth.

The Chargers are set to open a brand-new practice facility, which should help improve their 30th overall ranking, which specified team travel and food (specifically “taste and freshness”) as areas of concern. Players also had beef with "the unique practice of sending equipment along with players and staff, which leaves the team sitting on the tarmac for an extended time waiting for the plane to be loaded or unloaded," according to the NFLPA report.

The Patriots ranked 29th thanks to “club management that has not been keeping up with changing times.” (Sound like a head coach that may have just left the franchise?) Team owner Robert Kraft ranked a surprising 27th with a D+ grade too. The Steelers, meanwhile, “fall short and far behind workplace standards” in the NFL at 28th, with players expressing “little confidence” in team owner Art Rooney II (ranked 31st) to invest.

Head coaches

Despite finishing 31st overall as a team, it’s not all bad for the Chiefs. Andy Reid is the “one bright spot” per the NFLPA survey, with the highest individual rating (9.77/10) of any head coach. The Vikings’ Kevin O’Connell and Lions’ Dan Campbell, meanwhile, also received A+ grades, with O’Connell ranking most willing to listen to the locker room and Campbell at No. 3 in that respect. The Rams’ Sean McVay and the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin each received A grades and ranked fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

As for the bottom five coaches, well, Josh McDaniels takes the (weeks-old and stale) cake. He received a D grade and ranked 32nd out of 32 head coaches in efficiency with time and willingness to listen to the locker room. The NFLPA even tagged on this nugget to account for the Raiders’ team ranking drop from third overall to ninth: “If Josh McDaniels received an average score compared to the other head coaches in the league, the Raiders would have ranked in the top five overall.” No surprise he was fired midseason.

Elsewhere toward the bottom, former Commanders head coach Ron Rivera (C grade) ranked 31st and former Falcons coach Arthur Smith (C+) was 30th, with matching rankings for efficiency with time and willingness to listen to the locker room. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski — reigning NFL Coach of the Year, conspicuously — received a B- grade and ranked 28th overall due in part to poor efficiency with players’ time, and Saints coach Dennis Allen (also a B-) ranked 29th thanks in part to an unwillingness to listen to the locker room. Makes sense, considering in the season finale his players changed a kneel down call to score a touchdown that Smith didn’t exactly like.

Team owners

The Miami Dolphins are still searching for their first playoff victory since 2000 — again, there’s emphasis from the NFLPA that the report cards don’t correlate to winning games — but Stephen Ross can take pride in being No. 1 among club owners, according to the NFLPA’s grades and rankings. “Ross receives a rating of 9.9/10 from Dolphins players when considering his willingness to invest in the facilities,” the report stated.

Praise of the investment in team facilities also fueled the Minnesota Vikings’ ownership performance, which ranked No. 2 in the league. Last year, the Vikings were the No. 1 overall in the NFLPA’s survey.

The Jaguars and team owner Shad Khan enjoyed a strong rise in the rankings from his players after opening a new facility. It appears the rat infestation problem from 2022 is in the rearview mirror.

The Baltimore Ravens’ Steve Biscotti and Denver Broncos’ Greg Penner rounded out the top five.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Clark Hunt landing last among club owners, despite winning three Super Bowls in the past five seasons, raised significant eyebrows across the sport.

The other bottom four team owners were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Art Rooney II (No. 31), Arizona Cardinals’ Bill Bidwill (No. 30), Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Joel Glazer (No. 29) and Carolina Panthers’ David Tepper at (No. 28).

The Cardinals actually earned praise for improving their overall standing from last year’s report. “Notable upgrades from last season include providing a daycare and small family room, and they stopped the practice of charging players for dinner,” the NFLPA said in its recent assessment of Arizona. “The club also upgraded their weight room with new equipment and replaced the hazardous floor from last season.” But … “The responding players’ belief in club owner Michael Bidwill’s willingness to invest in the facilities remains low in comparison to the rest of the league, but it is significantly higher than last year given some of the upgrades.”

Tepper and the Panthers were marked low for switching from natural grass to turf. Rooney got a 5.8 out of 10 from his players for a perceived lack of “willingness to invest in the facilities (31st overall).” That poor perception also hurt Glazer and the Bucs, who cited specific facility issues. Tampa’s team report read: “The players described the locker room as “unclean” and “smelly,” and they even cited seeing bugs consistently in the showers. Respondents also described the team sauna as “dirty,” “small” and “broken down.”

Locker rooms

The Vikings, Cowboys Dolphins led the way here with A grades for their locker rooms, while the Bears ranked fourth and the Raiders fifth, each with A- grades. A full 100% of players polled felt the locker room is big enough with four of the five franchises (minus the Dolphins, who were at 98%).

The Commanders’ locker room needs the most work, according to respondents. Washington was the only franchise to receive an F- grade, ranking last in both percentage of players who felt they had enough room at individual lockers (26%) and that the locker room is big enough overall (19%). Cleanliness is also a major issue, with players citing “multiple sewage leaks” this season. Lovely.

Things weren’t much better for the Cardinals (31st), Steelers (30th), Falcons (29th) and Chiefs (28th), all of whom received Fs. Only 38% of respondents felt the Cardinals locker room is big enough (ranking 30th), and Steelers players specifically wanted to see a replacement of outdated lockers and overall expansion. The Falcons have a plan in place to redo their facilities, so there’s that.

The Chiefs’ report card specifically noted that the team promised to do a full locker room renovation after the 2022 season, but “never followed through.” But hey, apparently Kansas City “finally provided actual chairs” at players’ lockers, so, congratulations?

Treatment of families

The Vikings are the top organization here, the only one to receive an A. They provide a family room at the stadium and daycare on gameday, as do the 49ers, who ranked second with an A-. The Dolphins and Cowboys (both A-) are third and fourth, respectively, with Dolphins respondents noting treatment of families has improved since last year. The Texans were fifth with a B+, and players noted the inclusion of families in events felt very intentional.

The Bengals could learn a few things. They ranked dead last in the NFL with an F-, with players specifically asking for a family room to get loved ones out of the cold, somewhere “better than a tent outside” for families to gather after the game, and a point of contact for families, among other things.

Cincinnati is also one of only four teams that do not offer either a family room or daycare, along with the Commanders (31st, F-), Patriots (30th, F-) and Steelers (29th, F-). No surprise those are the bottom four. The Bucs ranked 28th with an F grade, charging $90 per child for daycare when most teams offer the service for free.

0
Comments on this article