Last week the NFL Players Union did something they hadn’t done before: report cards for each team. They sent out a questionnaire to as many players as possible and asked for their opinions and information about their 2022 season employer. The intention seems to be to identify which clubs treat people well and which teams have issues. This will allow the players to have more information at their disposal when making decisions for themselves and will also hopefully result in some action by the teams who are shamed by the report cards. This was a great idea on their part and I fully support it.

It wasn’t a perfect system, from the looks of it. For example, one of the questions seemed to be if players were given adequate personal space. That’s a difficult question to get a consensus on from person to person. Someone with a fair amount of room might still say no, while someone less bothered and with less space might say yes. This also only pertains to players experiences specifically (It is made by the NFLPA), not any other employee of the organization, such as cooks or janitors or maintenance men, etc. Although you can probably extrapolate that most grades would probably be in line with what the players answered so if a team was cheap to players, they are probably cheap to everyone else as well.

One thing I really appreciated about this was how it gave an insight into the daily, regular aspects of the NFL as a job. We really only see players on the field every Sunday. We tend to think of them as their celebrity status as they perform on the stage. We aren’t seeing the travel downtime, the locker room facilities, the offices, the film rooms, or the cafeteria. I never even considered daycare and family support as important factors for a team, but it absolutely is.

That said, I think the report cards mostly followed in line with what we should have expected. Jerry Jones might be an evil oil goblin, but there’s no doubt he takes pride in his team and I’m not surprised the Cowboys are ranked highly overall. Similarly, the Giants (8th), are another “prestige franchise” so seeing them in the top ten with quality facilities and effective care from an owner who doesn’t really do anything else but own a football team makes sense. The Miami Dolphins, ranked #2, seemed high but Ross is willing to spend the money to try and tamper for Tom Brady and Miami is a town known for showing off. The Raiders ranking so high seemed to surprise people, but they are ranking the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders, not the likely abysmal Oakland Raiders. Mark Davis gave his new team all the best stuff in the recent move, and it might be time we stop considering the Raiders as a “cheap” franchise. The Vikings were another case. They recently upgraded everything too, and it would appear they did a stupendous job, being the best-ranked team out of all. The Texans at #4 were maybe the biggest positive surprise considering the turmoil that team has been in for years.

The bottom of the list however contained more surprises. The Bengals and Commanders at 27 and 32 respectively, were not surprising. We’ve known Mike Brown is an old cheap turd for a long time. I think literally everyone could have accurately predicted the Commanders in last place. Same with the Chargers (30) or the Cardinals (31) being so low. Although the report card caused some drama in Cardinals circles because it revealed the team makes the players pay for their own food at the facility. They also apparently have an abysmal, unsafe gym.

The Chiefs at 29 was a surprise, at first, but it makes sense when you stop looking at it from an on-field success perspective and look at it from an ownership perspective. The Chiefs aren’t a very wealthy franchise either and they haven’t upgraded anything in a long time. What did continue to surprise me, however, was the Jaguars (28) and Rams (25). The Jaguars are not a wealthy franchise, but Khan didn’t seem like a cheap owner, just a dumb one. I didn’t expect him to be the one with a rat problem. The Rams? The Rams, like the Raiders, just moved to a wealthier position. Unlike the Chargers, I expected better out of them. They were disappointing across the board.

The one other thing of note that a lot of people noticed: pretty much every team gave their strength coaching staff a high grade…except the Falcons (D-) and Ravens (F-). The Ravens notably fired their strength coach before the report came out, and not a small number of people suspected they may have done so to get ahead of this.

There are plenty of little individual tidbits in there worth scouring for, like the dig at Josh McDaniels not listening to players and keeping them late. Were you surprised by your team’s ranking?

Yes, I saw the Daniel Jones news, I’ll get to it, don’t @ me yet.