The Minnesota Vikings treat their players best, according to a new NFL Players Association survey, while the Washington Commanders have a long way to go.
The report, released on Wednesday during the league’s annual scouting combine, rated teams in eight categories – from meals and nutrition to training and travel – based on anonymous responses from about 1,300 players.
The Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders were the top three teams while the bottom trio were the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals and Washington Commanders. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were ranked as the fourth-worst team on the list.
“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,” a spokesperson for the Commanders said. “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.”
Results showed three teams don’t serve players dinner at their facilities and one of those, the Cincinnati Bengals, doesn’t provide supplements or phone-charging plugs in lockers. And last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars dealt with a rat infestation.
“When asked what the number one thing they want changed at their facility, the answer was unanimous – get rid of the rats!” Jacksonville’s report card read. “Players reported that for 3-4 weeks this season, there was a rat infestation in the locker room and laundry hampers.”
NFLPA president JC Tretter insisted the survey isn’t meant to shame teams. It’s intended to highlight teams that treat players and those that need to improve by highlighting the best practices and standards. Then, perhaps, teams will attempt to raise their standards.
“I think the recommendations will be fairly clear when they read the reports,” Tretter said. “There’s not much lost in translation.
“There are some really basic things where it’s like, ‘This shouldn’t be going on.’”
Teams were graded on treatment of families, food service/nutrition, weight room, strength coaches, training room, training staff, locker room and team travel.
The full rankings can be found on NFLPA.com. Other findings include:
– Six teams don’t fly players in first class.
– Seven teams don’t arrange for players to have roommates on road trips.
– Eighteen of 32 teams offer family rooms in stadiums where families can go with their children.
– The Philadelphia Eagles offer a stadium family room just for coaches’ wives and children, not players’ wives.
“The reason we want this to be reoccurring is next year, there can be no claim of ignorance because we’ve brought the problem up and it would be even more telling if these issues continue,” Tretter said. “Then that’s a clear choice and there’s no claim of ignorance there.
“It’s going to be very clear what the next steps should be. If you’re unwilling to take those next steps, I think that tells us a lot going into the following year.”
The expectation is for players who leave teams to be more forthright in future surveys.
It was important to release the survey results before free agency begins, Tretter said, because how teams treat players could be a deciding factor when considering two offers.
“Two offers being equal, this might get a player to say, ‘My situation in Team X with the same offer is going to be better than Team Y,’” Tretter said.
Not all the findings are negative. Seven of the top eights teams rated most efficient by their players made the playoffs.
Full list of teams as rated by players
1) Minnesota Vikings
2) Miami Dolphins
3) Las Vegas Raiders
4) Houston Texans
5) Dallas Cowboys
6) Green Bay Packers
7) San Francisco 49ers
8) New York Giants
9) Buffalo Bills
10) New Orleans Saints
11) Seattle Seahawks
12) Carolina Panthers
13) Chicago Bears
14) Philadelphia Eagles
15) Detroit Lions
16) Indianapolis Colts
17) Baltimore Ravens
18) Tennessee Titans
19) New York Jets
20) Denver Broncos
21) Cleveland Browns
22) Pittsburgh Steelers
23) Atlanta Falcons
24) New England Patriots
25) Los Angeles Rams
26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27) Cincinnati Bengals
28) Jacksonville Jaguars
29) Kansas City Chiefs
30) Los Angeles Chargers
31) Arizona Cardinals
32) Washington Commanders
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