Media

6 Things I Learned Working At The NFL Network

As a 23-year-old fresh out of college, I got what I thought was the opportunity of a lifetime: a production assistant gig at the NFL Network. This was way back in 2009 — pre-Ray Rice, pre-Bountygate, and a year or two before the “football turns your brain into mush” research became widespread and undeniable. The NFL’s grown a lot since then, but I still have a handful of friends who work there, and not surprisingly, the company culture hasn’t gotten any better.  Here’s seven things you should know before you apply for a job at Goodell’s television arm…

No 6: Warren Sapp’s a Dick

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He doesn’t work there anymore, but I witnessed Warren Sapp verbally abusing a couple of producers — incredibly nice, intelligent, capable producers — in ways and with language that I don’t feel comfortable repeating here. “Verbally abuse” sounds kinda weak, but I’m talking about screaming expletive-laden insults at dudes in front of the entire office — just ripping them a new asshole and embarrassing them for no good reason. I don’t want to throw around the word “sociopath” too loosely, but look into Sapp’s eyes and it isn’t hard to tell the dude’s got a screw loose. He also pulled up to work most days in the backseat of a clearly-hotboxed Mercedes G-Class, which would be cool if he wasn’t a gigantic dick to everybody…

No 5: You Take A Test To Get In

My favorite part of the hiring process, by far, was that they made you take a test at the end of your first interview. Part One was starting with a blank slate and filling in the teams and head coaches for every division in the NFC and AFC (harder than it sounds, especially during the offseason when a bunch of random head coaches are getting their first gig). Part Two was about 20 questions of just football trivia, and Part Three was facial recognition — identifying players, coaches, owners, broadcasters, anyone in the NFL ecosystem, by a headshot. Sound easy? I remember they had Russ Grimm as one of the faces. If anyone reading this could pick Russ Fucking Grimm out of a lineup now or in 2009, well, kudos. You know too much about football…

No 4: They Hire Seasonally (Because They’re Cheap Assholes)

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Not surprisingly, most of the jobs at the Culver City, CA-based NFL Network are in production, and not surprisingly, the NFL only hires you for six months (the duration of the season). Have fun trying to get a full-time job with these a-holes…

No 3: Egos Are Prevalent

This might be the least surprising bullet on this list, but there are a lot of dudes with self-esteem issues running around screaming “my dick’s not small, it’s huge!” through their actions and demeanor. This is where I’ll also add that there were some fantastic, brilliant people (2009 was the year RedZone was created, and the brains who put that project together deserve enormous kudos), but for the most part, it was an unimpressive dick-measuring contest…

No 2: They Don’t Promote Talent

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The hardest working guy at the company was a 30-year-old “Senior PA” who we’ll call “Tony.” This dude worked his ass off day-in and day-out, he’d been there for five years, and they still wouldn’t promote him to associate producer. I didn’t know much at the time about climbing the proverbial ladder, but if Tony was 30, still a PA, and making $20/hour while slaving away for a multi-billion-dollar company? I did the math and realized that after my six months were up, I was getting the fuck outta there…

No 1: Everyone Was Pretty Miserable

Getting to send out emails from an “@nfl.com” address is cool, but it gets old after a while.  Employees are overworked, underpaid, and if you did an anonymous survey right now, a majority of people at the NFL Network would admit that they’re dying to get a job somewhere else…

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