Playing in the NFL is cool, sure. But if you don’t have to athletic chops to make the team, you may want to look into some of these awesome behind the scenes jobs of the national football league.
Every football fan dreams of making that leaping grab in the back of the end zone as the final seconds click off the clock to win the game. How can you not? It’s a spectacular display of athleticism and concentration. The pay isn’t bad either.
But for every quarterback who throws that perfect crossing route pass and every linebacker who comes off the edge for a crushing blind-side sack, there are dozens of other people who se career in sports is to make the game work. Not just the other players and the referees, either. Each NFL game has a small army of people working behind the scenes to make sure that the game stays fair and everything goes smoothly so the good folks at home with their beer and wings get the game they deserve.
Who are these people? You’ll never hear their names, but if you look closely, you may sometime catch a glimpse of them on the tube, working in the background. These people have some of the coolest jobs you can score in the NFL without being able to run a 4.3 40-yard dash. Some of these National Football League jobs include:
Kicking Ball (K-Ball) Coordinator.
Did you know that the ball that kickers use for field goals, extra points, and kickoffs isn’t the same as the regular game ball? The idea is to regulate the balls to make sure that each kicker (and punter) is using an identical ball. If you haven’t heard, keeping footballs secure so they’re not tampered with is a pretty big deal in the NFL these days.
The K-Ball Coordinator (KBC) is essentially a guard for these precious game pieces. Once they are delivered to the field directly from Wilson, they are measured for PSI and approved by the referee. At that point, the K-Ball Coordinator takes possession of the balls and watches over them until 10-minutes to game time. Then, the KBC delivers the balls to the replay station where they are distributed to each team under the watchful eyes of an NFL security rep.
The coolest part about this National Football League job? Watching your team kick the game-winning football and feeling like you had just a little part in that. That’s your ball.
Qualifications: Impeccable integrity, responsibility and no former scandals.
Gameday Frequency Coordinator.
Just imagine, it’s 3rd down with 8 yards to go at the end of a crucial game. The head coach sends in his play to his quarterback via headset. The quarterback, however, doesn’t get the play at all. Instead, he hears that Flight 782 out of Omaha has clearance to land. What?
During an NFL game, there are many headsets, walkie-talkies, and other devices in use. They all need open frequency channels to use. On top of that, there can be interference from local radio stations, airports, even concert venues.
That’s where the Gameday Frequency Coordinator comes in. This person’s job is to assign frequencies to different parties throughout the game to make sure each one isn’t interfering with another. Sometimes it can be as tricky as two parties using the same frequency, but making sure they’re on opposite ends of the stadium. When that quarterback has to burn a timeout because of Flight 782, you can bet the Gameday Frequency Coordinator will hear about it. If you’re looking for jobs in the NFL where you can be on the sidelines helping out while watching the game, this isn’t the job for you. These guys have to be on top of their frequencies at all times.
The coolest part about this job? You might hear little snippets of everyone’s conversation, even when the quarterback tells his coach, “What? That’s a stupid play!”
Qualifications: Technical knowledge of radio frequencies, multi-tasking and the ability to tell the difference between a coach’s voice and a Beyoncé concert.
Game Clock Operator.
This is the perfect job, right? Not only do you get to watch the game, you have to watch it! Actually, you have to also know exactly when the game clock is supposed to start and when it needs to stop.
The Game Clock Operator is just what it sounds like. It’s a person who is responsible for the official game clock. In a game that is often won and lost in the final seconds, that can be a stressful position. Every second counts and while the officials are supposed to be keeping track of the clock as a backup, it’s the Game Clock Operator’s responsibility to keep the clock moving when it should be moving and stopped when it should be stopped.
In 2015, a Game Clock Operator in San Diego started the game clock too early as the Steelers lined up for their final drive. The error cost 18-seconds and while the Steelers made their last-second winning touchdown, one has to wonder if the Game Clock Operator was trying to give his team an edge.
The coolest part about this job in the NFL? You know what all of those crazy arm motions and whistles the referees really mean. It’s like a secret language.
Qualifications: The ability to run a clock, attention to detail and no favoritism!
You think that business casual is a bit too strict these days? Try playing in the NFL! An NFL players uniform is strictly regulated by the league. Socks must be white up to the mid-calf with only team-approved colors at that point. Jerseys must be tucked in. No bandanas. And most importantly, all pads are required.
Who makes sure all of these rules are followed? The League Uniform Inspectors. 64 individuals take on this responsibility with two at each game to look over every player (and coach) to make sure they’re following the rules. Many of the rules are for safety, such as the pads, but there are other reasons, too. The NFL signs marketing contracts with brands such as Reebok and New Era. That means players who are showing off their favorite Nike hat or Adidas spikes are endangering their lucrative deals.
If the Uniform Inspector sees a violation, he makes note of it and informs the team. The violator is required to fix the issue during the next change of possession or risk not playing in the game and paying sizeable fines. The best part? Yelling at a 250 lb linebacker and saying, “Hey! Your Nike is showing! Fix that!”
Qualifications: Attention to detail, keen fashion sense, ability to differentiate Packers green from Eagles “dark” green.
The easy track to the NFL is to be 6-foot-4 with blazing speed, incredible vertical leap and great hands. But, if you weren’t born to be a No. 1 wide receiver, there are plenty of other cool jobs in the NFL. How do you land a job as a KBC or one of these other sweet titles? Head to NFL.com and see if your favorite team has a position open. Even if the job isn’t that cool, wouldn’t you love to have “NFL” on your resume? Go for it. You’ve got the game.
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