Locker-room sewage and cold showers: NFL players list team gripes

<span>The <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Chiefs;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kansas City Chiefs</a> were second-bottom of the rankings despite winning the Super Bowl. </span><span>Photograph: Rick Scuteri/AP</span>

A survey by the NFL Players Association has shown on-field success and workplace satisfaction do not necessarily go hand in hand.

The second annual survey, which 1,706 NFL players responded to, graded the league’s 32 teams in categories such as facilities, training staff, head coaches, food, ownership and treatment of players’ families. The Miami Dolphins were ranked first overall, with the Minnesota Vikings in second place.

“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 report said.

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However somewhat surprisingly the Kansas City Chiefs, who won a second-straight Super Bowl earlier this month, came 31st in the rankings. While their popular head coach Andy Reid received an A+ from players, the club’s owner, Clark Hunt, was given an F, partly due to his perceived unwillingness to invest in player facilities. That situation may be remedied in coming seasons after the Chiefs announced on Wednesday they will overhaul Arrowhead Stadium before it hosts World Cup matches in 2026.

“Though the players received actual chairs with backs to sit in at their lockers in response to last year’s feedback, it did not change the fact that the locker room is overdue for a renovation,” said the report. “… The one bright spot for the team is head coach Andy Reid, who was the highest rated head coach in the NFL. Other than that, the players are frustrated by their workplace offerings, especially after the team’s sustained success in recent years.”

The Washington Commanders were ranked the worst team for the second year in a row, despite a new ownership group taking over from the reviled Dan Snyder. The new owners, headed up by Josh Harris, were given a B by players for their leadership but the team came near the bottom of the rankings in nearly every other category apart from strength coaches.

“The survey data reveals a long list of items with the workplace that continue to be problems, and players expressed that they have grown tired of the deficiencies. To start, the locker room is small and in desperate need of renovation, with players reporting multiple sewage leaks,” said the report.

Josh McDaniels, who was fired by the Las Vegas Raiders midseason, was ranked as the league’s worst coach.

“The responding [Raiders] players’ strong negative assessment of the former head coach significantly brought down the club’s overall ranking,” said the report. “The hope is that newly hired head coach Antonio Pierce will create a better working environment to match the top-of-the line facilities in Las Vegas.”

The Jacksonville Jaguars, whose facilities were described as rat-infested by players last year, rose to fifth in the rankings after improving their facilities.

“New facilities, no more rats,” the NFLPA president, JC Tretter, said on Wednesday.

Other notable details to emerge from the survey include the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers charge players with fewer than four years of experience $1,750 to have their own hotel room for road games, while the Cincinnati Bengals only provide three meals a day for players on Wednesdays. The Bengals’ locker room also received criticism. “Approximately 50% of the showers don’t work; they either don’t provide warm water or there isn’t enough water pressure,” said the report. “They face consistent plumbing issues that limit the amount of functioning toilets the players can use.”

The Cardinals were criticized for charging players for meals. “If players would like dinner, it will be boxed up for them, but players reported that the team will charge you via payroll deduction,” the report said. “This is apparently the only Club that does this.”

The NFL said it valued the insight the report gave.

“The league and its clubs always encourage and solicit player feedback to help improve all facets of their NFL experience,” said the NFL in a statement on Wednesday. “We look forward to getting the opportunity to review the union’s questionnaire, and the data supporting it, after its release to the media.”

Top five NFL workplaces according to players

1) Miami Dolphins

2) Minnesota Vikings

3) Green Bay Packers

4) Philadelphia Eagles

5) Jacksonville Jaguars

Bottom five NFL workplaces according to players

28) Pittsburgh Steelers

29) New England Patriots

30) Los Angeles Chargers

31) Kansas City Chiefs

32) Washington Commanders