An ongoing debate in football has been about how to prepare players for life after hanging up their cleats, and a lot of that's about factors beyond just physical health. It's crucial that players are able to adapt to a post-career lifestyle in terms of money, jobs and purpose; while some have gone on to great off-field success, there are also plenty of powerful stories of those who have failed. Cognizant of the implications here, both the NFL and the NFLPA have been taking substantial steps of late to try and prepare football players for what comes next. One element in that plan is the league's Broadcast Boot Camp, an intensive four-day seminar for current and retired players interested in broadcast careers where they get to learn from current on-air personalities (such as CBS' James Brown, Fox's Curt Menafee and ESPN's Ron Jaworski), producers and executives, and work on various elements of the profession along the way. SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein went behind the scenes at Broadcast Boot Camp this week, and he came away with some fascinating information on what goes on there:
As Rubenstein's video shows, making it in broadcasting isn't an easy path for these players. There's obviously a lot of interest, but just making it to this boot camp is difficult enough; 19 of the most promising players were picked out of nearly 100 applicants. Once they get in, there's lots to learn, too. Former Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins' comment to Rubenstein that "The locker room is just so Neanderthalish" was particularly notable; that's not so much a slam on football or football players' intelligence, but rather recognition that in the NFL, all that matters is what you do on the field, not how you talk. In the broadcast booth, it's the exact inverse; plenty of great players have utterly failed as broadcasters, while many who didn't have the most memorable playing careers have gone on to prominence.