On June 21, 25 current and former NFL players will gather at the offices of NFL Films for the fourth annual Broadcast Boot Camp.
The attendees include Steelers receiver Hines Ward, Giants tackle David Diehl, and former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks.
A total of 65 players participated in the first three editions of the event, and 28 of them have landed jobs.
“We continue to look for ways to help players develop skills to enhance
their NFL and post-NFL careers. Many of last year’s participants used
this program as a career springboard and two have returned [Derek
Rackley and Ross Tucker] to help this year’s class,” said NFL Vice
President of Labor Policy and Player Development Adolpho Birch, in an item posted at NFLLabor.com. (Which, of course, makes us wonder whether the release and the program is aimed at currying favor with retired players who have yet to take a side in the ongoing labor fracas.)
The challenge for players who hope to establish a second career in broadcasting has two distinct aspects, in our estimation. First, the former player has to get his foot in the door, which is a direct function of whether the player has the chops — or whether he gets “blowed out” by the competition once the red light is on. Second, the former player has a window of roughly three years to make the transition from “guy who has great insight into his former team and/or the league because he recently played” to “guy who can provide great insight well after he has left the game.”
The problem each retired player who gets a job in broadcasting faces comes from the annual collection of freshly-retired players with a more recent connection to the game. So just as the players encountered pressure during their on-field careers to hold off rookies, former players who land in broadcasting have to quickly demonstrate that they bring something more to the table than a familiar face and a recognizable name.