Given the multi-billion dollar nature of the business, you might think that no expense would be spared in ensuring NFL players’ every need is taken care of. If so, think again.
In a survey published by the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) on Wednesday, 1,300 players provided feedback on the league’s 32 teams, which were then ranked in a variety of categories.
Look away now if you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Chargers, the Arizona Cardinals or the Washington Commanders.
NFL players rated teams in the NFLPA’s “Club Report Cards” survey based on their treatment of families, nutrition, weight room, strength and conditioning staff, training room, training staff and locker room. They also provided feedback specific to each team.
The Minnesota Vikings were ranked as the best overall: the NFLPA report pointing to the franchise’s newly built, state-of-the-art facility, calling the team a “shining example of what is possible when a concerted investment is made in both staffing and facilities.”
The Miami Dolphins came second, with the only critique being that players would “like a better post-game family area with more accessibility for players’ families.” The Las Vegas Raiders finished third.
At the other end of the scale, the Chargers, Cardinals and Commanders comprised the bottom three.
The Commanders finished last, with the franchise handed an F-minus for their training room, locker room and team travel, while also getting an F for treatment of families.
Complaints from players included an understaffed training room, undersized hot and cold tubs for player recovery, not enough personal space in the locker room and lack of warm water and issues with poor drainage in the showers.
The Chargers and Cardinals didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
In a statement sent to CNN, the Commanders said: “Player health and safety is our top priority, and we continue to invest in our facilities, including a new practice field, new turf in the practice bubble and increased meeting room space. We know there is more to do, and we regularly talk with our players about ways to improve their work environment and the experience for their families.”
Over one-fifth of players surveyed – 22% – also felt they didn’t have enough space on team flights, with the Commanders one of seven teams in the NFL that apparently don’t offer their players first-class seats.
The Cardinals ranked last in terms of food, with players complaining that they were charged for food at the facility, reportedly the only team to do so.
The team was also criticized heavily for the low standard of its facilities, with some complaining the weight room feels like a “safety hazard.”
Players labeled the Chargers’ hot and cold tubs “gross.”
Meanwhile, the Jacksonville Jaguars appear to have a bit of a rodent problem.
“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,” the report said.
The Jaguars didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of three teams that do not provide dinner to their players and are the only team that doesn’t provide supplements. They are also the only team that does not have outlets in their lockers to charge devices.
The rankings aren’t necessarily an indication of success on the field though, with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs coming in at 29th.
The objective of the “Club Report Cards” was to help provide “players with information about each club to not only help them make important career decisions, but also try and raise standards across each club,” according to NFLPA president JC Tretter.
“One of our core jobs as a union is to improve the overall working conditions for our players,” added Tretter.
“Often, you see our advocacy on ‘big’ issues – like our push for better field surfaces at stadiums or standardized safety protocols that limit the risk of workplace injuries – but it also includes the daily experience of players at the team facilities away from the lights and cameras,” he said.