If you polled enough football fans, some might tell you their dream job would be to work for their favorite NFL team. Or an NFL team, period. But they’d probably follow up that statement by saying it’s easier said than done. We’re all aware it’s difficult to make it as a player in the NFL team as there are only so many opportunities for a world of gift athletes. Furthermore, statistically speaking, it’s even harder to land a coaching gig as your NFL job.
However, let’s not forget the fact that these teams employ hundreds of employees besides the players and coaches. There are many NFL careers to consider. In other words, if you’re truly interested in working for your favorite team, there could be a lot more avenues available to you than you thought.
Off the Field NFL Jobs to Consider
Here are five different types of NFL jobs you could have with a professional team:
NFL Career #1: Business Operations
It’s a saying you hear all the time, to the point where it becomes a cliché: professional sports are a business. While we, as fans, are mostly focused on the on-field success of our teams, the truth is that most teams are primarily focused on the “dollar and cents” of their team: how much money they’re making, how much money they’re spending, and how much money their franchise is worth. They operate just like any other business.
To maximize those variables, teams need the same business-minded people to fill NFL jobs as you’d have in any other company. There are the financial folks, who project how the team’s monetary success could fare (no pun intended) based on a variety of factors. There are the accounting people, who calculate how much money is coming in and out. There are also marketers, who work to ensure that consumers continue to have interest in the team.
So, while we usually think of the business world and the sports world as two different entities, the fact is that they really are one and the same, and have the same needs.
NFL Career #2: Talent Acquisition
It’s one of a sports fan’s greatest source of interest: the players and coaches that teams acquire. When it comes to player acquisition, the operative term in the industry is “scouting“: identifying talents in players, projecting how those talents may evolve, and determining if that player and his or her skill set would be a good fit for the team. Often, the scouts themselves are former players as teams usually see these individuals as being best able to identify and project talent in players. They used to play the game after all.
But in recent years, with the proliferation of football content being made available through the internet, fans with a passion for the game have begun to perform scouting duties themselves, and either share this information online or even provide this information directly to the teams for a cost. Talent acquisition is more than just scouting the amateur or collegiate ranks – teams must perform this level of scouting on their opponents as well.
So, if you’re someone who watches a lot of football, or any other sport, you could make an NFL career out of it.
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NFL Career #3: Travel Management
NFL teams travel to at least a half dozen or more cities each year as part of their preseason, regular season, and if they’re fortunate, their postseason schedule.
But travel arrangements are more complicated than just asking players to book their own travel accommodations. It takes an entire team of travel management staff to plan the flight the team will take, how the team will get from the airport to their hotel, which hotel they’ll stay at, and even what food they’ll eat as part of their designated team meals.
For individuals with a background in travel and/or hospitality, your professional experience could be of great use to land an NFL job with a professional team, not to mention with other sports leagues. Just like any other company with employees who travel for business, the NFL needs staff members who can manage the relationships with travel and lodging partners.
NFL Career #4: Information Technology
We tend to take it for granted since we’re referring to sports teams, but what business in this world can survive without a technological infrastructure? Sports teams are no different.
When you watch an NFL game, think about how many wireless headsets you see coaches wearing, how many mobile devices you see on the sidelines to review game footage, how many laptops you see in the booths, and all the technology needs of the stadium itself. Not to mention the technological infrastructure teams need daily, between games. Imagine all the screens and monitors they use to review game film, go over team players, etc. Just like any other company, teams need their own in-house technology department, to not only set things up for the team but ensure technology devices run smoothly.
IT specialists are in demand across numerous industries, and professional sports is one of them.
NFL Career #5: Data Analytics
Data analytics might be the fastest-growing field in professional sports, and while it’s still an emerging concept in the NFL, we may see a boom in hiring in this area over the next decade.
After baseball was revolutionized by the “money ball” idea in the early 2000s, many sports franchises have begun to consider the idea of using data to make the best decision regarding the team’s personnel acquisition, playing style, and a host of other decisions that could be impactful on the game. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has arguably used data analytics more than any other league, but the NFL may not be far behind.
If you’re a “numbers” person, an NFL job in data analytics could be in your future. The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, among other teams in the NFL, have employed data professionals like mathematicians, statisticians, and builders of predictive analytics technology, to determine which personnel groupings to use on the field at a given time to if they should punt on 4th down. Seeing the Eagles’ success, expect the rest of the league to quickly follow suit.
Score a career touchdown today
Landing your dream job in the NFL can be a reality. The only thing standing in your way is, well, you. So, stop dreaming and get to work. Join Jobs In Sports today, the largest sports job board available, and begin applying for the job you want – before someone beats you to it.