TFE is often asked, “How do I go about getting started in finding NFL scouting jobs?” Most of us who have logged time evaluating personnel at the club or combine level have our own story of how we got in; former coach that knew somebody, moved up from the Operations Department, called on the phone and knocked on the door until someone finally answered. Let’s face it, the market for NFL scouting jobs is as tight as a size 7 1/8 Riddell on a 7 ¾ forehead. There are only 32 teams in the National Football League and each scouting department is limited by its own budget constraints and personnel limitations.
As I’ve moved forward with The Football Educator I’m astounded by the number of online scouts that have taken to the Internet to implement their opinions and ideas. Many, if not most, have never even seen the inside of an NFL War Room, yet display the very same abilities and keen eye for talent as scouts that have spent years working in the business.
You can watch tape, write reports, read internet articles, subscribe to publications and listen to TV pundits (who by the way haven’t seen a War Room either) until your “blue in the face” and still come up empty with opportunity. I’ve mentored many a young man wanting to get into NFL scouting jobs and tell each of them to build your network. Get in front of people and tell them what it is you bring unique to the table. Most times that takes a personal connection, but there are alternatives. Seeking out career advice is one of them.
Don’t be afraid to walk away empty handed at first. My initial meeting with then General Manager of the Denver Broncos, John Beake, went just like that. All I asked for was counsel, not an NFL scouting job.
Don’t get in their way
What I hear from peers and what I personally experienced were young men right out of college, or former players right off the field, wanting to be the GM in two years. In fact many people in the business feel as if this generation of young person isn’t looking for NFL scouting jobs, rather they want to take their job out from underneath them.
I was brought up to do your very best at something, be on time, be loyal, work hard, work smart and eventually somebody would notice. At times that has worked extremely well, at others it’s produced squat.
My advice? Take some advice from Bruce Tulgan of Rainmaker Thinking. Bruce addresses this very topic in his series about the 14 Myths of Generation Y in today’s workplace.
“Managers tell me all the time, ‘These Gen Yers show up and they want my job! Gosh, I showed up on day one on my job and I thought, ‘I’m brand new here, I’ll keep my head down, I’ll keep my mouth shut, I’ll do as I’m told, I’ll sit tight, I’ll get a feel for the place. I know nobody is going to take me seriously until I’ve been here for a couple of years probably.'”
“But these Gen Yers show up and it’s like they want my job on day one!”
Tulgan argues they don’t want your job, but they do want the following;
– They want to identify problems that nobody else has identified. – They want to solve problems that nobody else has solved. – They want to invent new things. – They want to make existing things smarter, faster, and better.
Go get the answers
If I were a “would be” scout looking to impress a current GM or Player Personnel Director, I’d do just that. Find a problem that faces Personnel Departments in the NFL. How? You’ve been reading all those articles, subscribing to all the publications and listening to the TV pundits – they’ll lead you to what ails their efforts. Once you’ve found the problem, use your vast knowledge and understanding of technology to help find the solution. Seriously, you’d be shocked at how many football guys don’t understand what’s out there to help them. Create the solution using existing, off the shelf software or iPad touch programs. (many times just as simple as Microsoft Excel or Access). You could also take a look at private company solutions such as Eye-Scout or Y-Athlete.
Want to make an impact and receive credit for your efforts? Solve someone else’s problems. Then perhaps one of those online scouts or TV pundits will be calling you for advice on how to find NFL scouting jobs.
Feel free to bounce your own questions or ideas off The Football Educator or tweet me @Ted_Sundquist