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    Biggest Takeaways From The NFLPA Report Card: Vikings, Dolphins, and Raiders Shine

    The NFLPA released team report cards that were voted on by players in eight important categories. See why the Vikings, Dolphins, and Raiders were the top three.

    The NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) made waves Wednesday afternoon while representatives of every team were in attendance at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. They released individual report cards of all 32 teams, gathering grades for eight categories from players (1,300 total) in each organization.

    Takeaways From NFLPA Report Card

    NFLPA President and former Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter said, “Our goals were to highlight positive clubs, identify areas that could use improvement, and highlight best practices and standards.”

    Each team was graded in their treatment of families, nutrition, weight room, strength staff, training room, training staff, locker room, and travel. The grading scale ranged from F-minus on the low end to A-plus on the high end.

    The three top-ranked teams overall were the Minnesota Vikings, the Miami Dolphins, and the Las Vegas Raiders. The opposite end of the spectrum, in order, were the Los Angeles Chargers, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Washington Commanders.

    NFLPA Report Card Is Good for Player Education

    Tretter stated the NFLPA report card is a way to provide players with their version of a “Free Agency Guide” that helps spread knowledge capable of influencing “important career decisions” and helping “raise standards across each club.” Their 60-question survey certainly gave a good snapshot of how each team operates and encapsulated unique criteria that are clear.

    Because players were asked for both quantitative and qualitative answers, there’s more context given than a report card that could skew too critical of every team. The NFLPA wisely included an overview of each team’s workplace grades and how they compare to their peers through responses.

    It would be helpful to see spending and data from the team side’s perspectives, as the grades could be an indicator of staff failure over the organization’s shortcomings.

    But for what it is, the NFLPA did well to give fans, their union members, and franchises as much of a fair view of each team’s performance as they could.

    Families Should Come First

    The biggest failure I saw in the NFLPA report card was the number of low grades in the “treatment of families” category. Four teams earned an F, and another five were either a D-minus or a D-plus. The Bengals were notably dinged for not providing a family room, and “players reported that wives have sat on the public restroom floor to nurse their babies.”

    Family amenities should be one of the easier aspects to improve for franchises and one that can’t be overlooked. Only two teams scored poorly in both their treatment of families and their travel, the Washington Commanders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Franchises are putting themselves behind the eight ball when they’re not taking care of their most valuable asset, the player and, by extension, their family.

    Strength Staffs Are Awesome

    By far, the highest median grade was the strength staff. Only five teams didn’t earn at least an A-minus, and two teams had below a B. The Ravens, bottoming out with an F-minus, already fired strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders in late February. The Falcons earned a D-minus and are entering their third season under strength and conditioning coach Thomas Stallworth.

    The most promising aspect of the positive results is how their coaches go above and beyond to support them and add to their success. The Bears ranked first in providing an individualized workout plan, but their A-minus tied them for 17th. It’s great to see a high grade not even be in the top half of how players feel they’re treated.

    A Lack of Investment Shows

    There were certainly a few surprising responses for certain teams. Only three of the league’s 32 franchises don’t keep their cafeterias open for dinner. One of them, the Cardinals, will box a dinner but will reportedly charge the player for the meal via payroll deduction.

    Teams aren’t charity organizations, but being the only team that charges their players for meals, not providing players with nutritional supplements (the Bengals), or not offering first-class travel for players (seven teams), are tactics that can make a difference on gameday and in the offseason.

    It’s hard to believe ownership is taking every step possible to build a winner when they’re skimping on affordable measures relative to the success of the league.

    The Vikings Run Away With the Top Spot

    A good number of teams can walk away happy enough with their standing across every category, and some only need minor improvements that may have been coming anyway, with plans for a new stadium or training facilities. However, only one team can claim to be nearly perfect. The Vikings are the only franchise to have earned at least an A-minus in all eight categories.

    Their weakest category was nutrition, with an A-minus. They earned three A’s and four A-plusses. Keep this in mind if the Vikings have success retaining free agents or drawing in significant talent.

    The Dolphins fell short due to a C-plus grade for their treatment of families. Players responded that although they provide a family room and daycare, they give a limited number of passes to the postgame area. Being less restrictive could enhance their grade tremendously.

    The No. 3 cumulative team was the Raiders, who earned a B in their treatment of families and a B-plus for their training staff. Every other team earned at least three grades below an A-minus.

    To view the report card for every team, head on over to the NFLPA website for more.

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