Not all jobs in the NFL require running and tackling other players.
Playing in the NFL is cool, sure, but very few of us have the athletic chops to make the team. If you’re still hoping for a career in the world of football, 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 catch in the back of the end zone to win the game in its final seconds. 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 pass and every linebacker who comes off the edge for a crushing blind-side sack, there are dozens of other people whose career in sports is to make the game work. And not just the other players and the referees, either. Each NFL game has a small army of professionals working off the field to make sure that the game stays fair and runs smoothly so the 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 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. Take a look at these behind-the-scenes jobs of the National Football League.
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 behind this is to regulate the balls to make sure that each kicker and punter uses an identical ball. Keeping footballs secure so they’re not tampered with is a pretty big deal in the NFL, so this role as a watchful eye carries a lot of weight (12.5 to 13.5 pounds, to be exact).
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 (pounds per square inch) and approved by the referee. At that point, the K-Ball Coordinator takes possession of the balls and watches over them until 10 minutes before game time. Then, the KBC delivers the balls to the replay station where they are distributed to each team under the careful watch of an NFL security rep.
The coolest part about this National Football League job? Watching your team kick the game-winning field goal and feeling like you had just a little part in that. That was your ball.
Job Qualifications: Impeccable integrity, responsibility, and no former scandals.
Gameday Frequency Coordinator
Just imagine: It’s third down with eight yards to go at the end of a crucial game. The head coach sends 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 radio devices in use, and they all need open frequency channels to function correctly. On top of that, there can be interference from local radio stations, airports, and 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 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 one for you. For this role, you’ll have to be on top of your frequencies at all times.
The coolest part about this job? You might hear little snippets of everyone’s conversation, including when the quarterback tells his coach “What? That’s a stupid play!”
Job 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! Well, you also have to 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 can be won or lost in the final moments, this can be a stressful position to say the least. Every second counts, and while the officials are supposed to be keeping track of the clock as well, it’s the Game Clock Operator’s responsibility to take the helm and keep the clock moving or stopped as it should be.
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 the Steelers 18 seconds, and while they still made their last-second winning touchdown, one has to wonder if the Game Clock Operator was trying to give his team an edge. He was ultimately suspended for this error, so yeah, this job is no joke.
But the coolest part about being a Game Clock Operator in the NFL? You know what all of those crazy arm motions and whistles from the referees really mean. It’s like a secret language, and you can decode it!
Job 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 player’s 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, bandanas are not allowed, and, most importantly, all pads must be worn.
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 regulations are met. Many of these rules are for safety, such as the pads requirement, but there are other reasons too. The NFL signs marketing contracts with brands like Reebok and New Era, which means that players who are showing off their favorite Nike hat or Adidas spikes are endangering the NFL’s lucrative deals.
The team will be quickly informed if the Uniform Inspector spots a violation, and the offender is then 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-pound linebacker and saying, “Hey! Your Nike is showing! Fix that!”
Job Qualifications: Attention to detail, keen fashion sense, and the ability to differentiate Packers green from Eagles dark green.
The “easy” track to the NFL is to be 6-foot-4-inches tall 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 to explore. If you want to land a job as a KBC or one of these other sweet titles, head to NFL.com and see if your favorite team has an open position. After all, wouldn’t you love to have “NFL” on your resume?
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