On Wednesday the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) released its 2022 report cards on every NFL team. This asked players inside each organization to rate their own team in several areas, including facilities, nutrition, staff, and how the team treats their families.
This might seem like a pretty typical feedback session, but the NFLPA say the project was about assembling information for prospective free agents so they could make informed decisions about where they might sign. This means rating scales like this could have an impact on high-value free agents, and which players might be willing to accept equal or less money, knowing they’re going to a well-run franchise.
The full report can be found here, but the Cliff’s Notes version is that the Minnesota Vikings ranked No. 1 overall in team rating, with their lowest grade in any one area being an A- in nutrition. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the Washington Commanders were rated worst in the entire league, with three F- ratings and players only really advocating for the team’s strength coaches.
In addition to the raw rankings we had deeper dives into the team report cards, and there were some pretty incredible (and shocking) results.
The Jaguars have a rat problem
That isn’t a metaphor. We’re talking about actual, real-life rats. Overall the Jaguars ranked 28th in the NFL, with players being largely unhappy with their facilities — but above all else the rats were the issue.
“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.”
Just call an exterminator guys. Seriously, this is pretty astonishing. Naturally rats are an issue in any city, and that’s compounded by living in a port city where rodents are more likely to travel on and off ships, but still — this isn’t a poorly run convenience store, it’s a multi-billion dollar NFL team.
The idea that not only would rats be spotted, but hang out for 3-4 weeks and even get inside laundry is utterly shocking.
The Cardinals make players pay for their own food inside the facilities
Taking being cheap to a whole new level, the report on the Arizona Cardinals indicates that if players want to eat from the team-supplied menu provided at the facility they have money deducted out of their paycheck.
Literally no other team in the NFL does this. The entire concept of team-created meals is to motivate players to maintain their calories and macros inside a controlled environment. If you make players pay for this food there’s no longer any motivation to eat in a team cafeteria vs. anywhere else in the city.
This is just cheap as hell by ownership.
Cincinnati is hell for player families
Despite being one of the best teams in the NFL, the Bengals treat their players like second-rate citizens compared to the rest of the league. The team ranked 27th overall, and while the training staff got high marks, the team tied for last place in how their families were treated.
Not only do children and significant others not have a dedicated family room to watch from during games, subjecting them to the cold — but several players note how horrible it’s been for wives with babies.
“The players who responded to the survey also complained that there is nowhere warm and safe for mothers and kids to go during the game because the Bengals do not provide a family room, unlike the majority of teams. Players reported that wives have sat on the public restroom floor to nurse their babies.”
That’s wrong beyond comprehension.
Chiefs players aren’t happy behind the scenes
Everything might be rosy on the field for the Super Bowl champions, but the majority of players have little faith in the team beyond the coaches and players around them. Kansas City ranked 29th in the NFL overall, with only 56 percent of players believing owner Clark Hunt cares enough to invest in facilities.
The report also makes note of favoritism by strength and conditioning staff, as well as being one of the few teams in the NFL which still requires players to have roommates in team hotels on road games.
It’s one thing if a shoddy, poorly-run organization gets this kind of grade — but when the players are reaching the pinnacle and on the verge of a potential dynasty it’s ridiculous the team isn’t investing more in its players.