How To Make It To The NFL
This is article was written with the belief that athletes, specifically football players, are some of the greatest athletes on earth. Football can be challenging enough, but the preparation is even tougher. This article should let you know that if you are one of the few who play college athletics, or are in the rare group that plays professionally, you are a special breed and you have a lot more to offer the world than just your football talents.
If you once had dreams of making it in the NFL, desire to make it in the NFL, or if you were a star football player in high school and college but just didn’t get as far as you’d dreamed… Or perhaps you are a injured football player, retired NFL player, current college football player or NFL draft prospect… if so, then you might consider these statistics:
There are 628 college football teams, including all four divisions. One division 1-A football team has usually over 100 players on its roster, but if we use 60 as the number of players on each team there are 37,680 players playing NCAA football in a given year, and there are 32 NFL teams with 53 players on each roster, for a total of 1696 football players in the NFL.
At the least there are about 10,000 college players entering the possible NFL market each year, in addition to those players already on NFL rosters and pros that have been out a year or two but are still on the market for NFL jobs. But in reality each NFL team has draft picks and makes up 206 drafted rookies who get to try out for NFL teams, as well as about 50 or so free agents.
From 1993 to 2002, 120 of the drafted players and 39 undrafted players entering the league during that time period earned spots on Week 1 rosters. So that means of the 10,000 or so entering the NFL market each year, 250 end up getting the chance to try out, and 159 actually end up on NFL rosters. That’s a little over 1% who actually make it to The League.
Given my background, I played high school football, basketball and track, then went on to compete in collegiate track and football. And then I followed that up participating at the pro level in two sports. From my experience, I believe that football has done a lot to give urban youth an opportunity to succeed. It has created a door where there used to only be a crack. Athletes have used that opportunity to go on and enjoy great college athletic careers, get a degree and then follow that with successful lives beyond the football field. But there has also been an element of one dimensional thinking, where the only value is on football. The only gift many urban youth see themselves as having is athletic.
After watching countless athletes finish their high school careers and college careers I see many continue chase the dream beyond the opportunity. Sure, they could still play football, were probably in better shape and more focused, but the opportunity was gone. The window was shut. I’ve witnessed others take years to recover from the heartbreak of coming just short of the NFL. And I’ve seen others continuing to live their lives with a one dimensional view of themselves as athletes in physicality, and not athletes in mind.
Like many things in life, making the NFL has less to do with talent and more to do with college environment, coaches, advocates and factors beyond the athlete’s control.
Most serious athletes possess an incredible will power and rare self-belief. I truly believe that football, when participating with the wrong perspective, can harm not only the psychological make of young men, but ultimately their health.
How To Make It To NFL: Here are 7 keys to winning outside of the football world.
- Understand that life does not end when you finish playing. That is when it truly begins.
- Most people don’t have your athleticism, nor your determination, will power and ability to focus. Manifest that energy into something else.
- In order to make the transition you may have to do something you don’t want to do for a period of time.
- Continue to not only grow physically but mentally, intellectually and develop a business acumen.
- Align yourself with other athletes of your thinking. The group can really make things happen!
- Don’t allow the football world to define you. You must realize the only thing they value is football.
- You can do whatever you put your mind too. Use your past successes on the field to give you the belief that you can win again in life. Use your athletic characteristics in every area of life!
Check out this book from a former pro football player turned engineer, author, pro motocross rider and CEO www.DontStopTheSwagger.com