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Dave Hyde: Private rooms, lobster rolls, hot-tub space -- here's why NFL players rank Dolphins' work conditions best

Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel on

Published in Football

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The hot tub fits 15 players. Each player’s weight workout is individualized and scheduled into their day for best results.

Fresh-cooked and boxed omelets await players arriving at the last minute to take into team meetings each morning.

They fly a chartered, double-decker 747 plane to games where every player has a business-class seat that reclines flat for sleeping or just stretching out.

“That plane is something we’ve been doing the last four years and isn’t the norm,” said Brandon Shore, the Miami Dolphins senior vice president of football and business administration. “Obviously, there’s an incremental expense associated with it that (team owner Steve Ross) allows.

“When we went to Germany last season, for example, we used our plane. The league has a partner and offers one, but it would’ve required more of our players to be in coach seating. That’s not acceptable for us.”

Does this help? Does it shed some context on why the Dolphins finished first in an NFL players’ union poll about working conditions, stressing the, “daily experience of players at the team facilities away from the lights and cameras,” as its report said.

 

The poll involved 1,706 players from the 32 teams rating everything from food (the Dolphins rated first) to training staff (first) to strength coaches (second) to the owner’s, “willingness to invest in the facilities” (first).

It’s a smart move by the union to improve conditions for players through the glare of public knowledge. A team like the New England Patriots, for instance, received a “D” grade for lack of space on travel, an “F” for the quality of weight room and an “F-minus” as one of four teams not providing a family room or daycare during games.

The flip side is highlighting teams with optimal work conditions. The Dolphins, for instance. Their lowest grade in the 11 polled areas was “A-minus.”

It helps they have the newest team facility in the league adjoining Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

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