Report cards for NFL teams are back, and the grades from members of the NFL Players Association are in.
For the second straight year, the Washington Commanders were ranked the worst team overall by their own players based on the 11 categories related to working conditions. Managing partner Josh Harris and his ownership group received a ‘B’ and ranked 18th in the league at the end of their first year, but the team did not finish above 25th in any other category except for strength coaches (fifth, A).
The back-to-back defending Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs were a clear indicator that coaches and ownership are often not viewed in the same light. Head coach Andy Reid received an A+ from players, while owner Clark Hunt got a F in willingness to invest in team facilities. The Chiefs finished 31st overall due to the quality of care players received from the training staff and the outdated facilities. (Kansas City unveiled renderings for a ‘reimagined’ Arrowhead Stadium Wednesday.)
The Arizona Cardinals, 31st overall last year, moved up to 27th in 2023.
‘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 overview of the Cardinals’ report card. ‘The club also upgraded their weight room with new equipment and replaced the hazardous floor from last season. ‘
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The NFLPA, which organized the surveys, would like for the practice to become a yearly exercise for players to participate – 1,706 did so this time. This year, the exercise included grades for the 32 head coaches and owners, along with a score for the team dietician/nutritionist. The survey was administered from Aug. 26-Nov. 16, 2023.
The Miami Dolphins dethroned the Minnesota Vikings as the top overall workplace according to the survey, although Minnesota finished No. 2 in 2023 with two categories (food/cafeteria, training staff). Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was the highest-rated owner in the NFL for his willingness to invest in the facilities, and Miami received straight As.
‘Minnesota, along with Miami, have separated themselves into their own tier in terms of what it means to run a world-class NFL workplace,’ the NFLPA said.
Said the NFL in a statement: “The league and its clubs always encourage and solicit player feedback to help improve all facets of their NFL experience. We look forward to getting the opportunity to review the union’s questionnaire, and the data supporting it, after its release to the media.’