Career opportunities abound within the sport of National Football League (NFL) football, from marketing to management and yes, even criminology-related fields. Believe it or not, you can work in criminal justice and be part of the action on Sundays in the fall as an NFL security specialist.
Plenty of people are interested in criminal justice careers and many of them are also fans of professional sports teams. Across the country, fans accend the stadium stands to support their favorite teams. At times, this support can be wearing a player's jersey, painting their face—or body in some cases—and shouting and screaming for their team to score. Other times, this support can spill over into more aggressive acts as fans get carried away in the moment of the game and descend into brawls in the stands or attempts to get onto the field.
Job Functions of NFL Private Security
The NFL uses the services of civilian contractors to provide all manner of services. A primary contracted position can be found in the criminal justice industry. NFL security specialist are tasked with a primary goal to ensure the safety of the NFL players, the coaches and staff, the referees and other game officials, and the fans.
Each NFL team is required, under league rules, to contract with a security team. The focus of these private, team-focused security contractors is to protect the team members from potential threats and—at times—themselves. Also, these contractors must insure the integrity of the game.
Players may also secure private security agents, but the teams want to be sure that the player investment is secure. One of the primary jobs of an NFL security contractor is to keep a player out of trouble, and out of the negative spotlight.
The Dangers of Playing Away
While players have plenty of adoring fans, they also have their detractors. It is especially true when they are visiting a rival city. While the players are out and about, they may find themselves in positions where they need the protection and advice of experienced security professionals.
Just like in every profession, it's no secret that some NFL players have made some pretty public mistakes and participated in offensive behavior. The difference is that when an NFL player makes a big mistake off of the field, it's often very public and very damaging to the player and the team.
An NFL security specialist can help mitigate those incidents and hopefully prevent them altogether. The job of an NFL security officer often includes:
- Ensuring the safety of NFL players and coaches
- Traveling with NFL teams
- Providing driving services for players and coaches
- Advising players and coaches
- Investigating potential threats
In short, NFL security agents are responsible for the overall protection of the physical well being of the players as well as their professional reputations. Ultimately, the list of their duties is long and varied. It can include nearly anything that relates to the protection of the individual or the team as a whole.
Education and Skill Requirements
NFL security contractors are very often current or retired criminal justice professionals who have significant experience in the area of security and investigations. They are usually employed as police officers or detectives who perform double duty as security professionals in their off time.
Experience in the field is most often required for people to be able to work in NFL security jobs. Those interested in working with the NFL in this capacity would do well to get specialized training in the are of dignitary protection.
Job Growth and Salary Outlook
NFL security officers are individual contractors and private investigators. They are most often affiliated with a local private investigative or security firm. In some instances, these firms may be comprised of a group of local police officers who contract their services out in their free time.
NFL security agents do not receive a salary or benefits. Instead, they are paid an hourly rate. These rates are set by the individual contractor and are agreed to by the team. Rates for NFL security contractors can be $50 per hour or more, depending on the services provided.
Working as an NFL Security Professional
Working as a security agent for NFL players or teams can certainly be fun and rewarding. It may offer a lot of opportunities you might not otherwise get, such as going to the Super Bowl or being on the sidelines with your favorite team.
At the same time, though, it's a job, not a vacation. Long hours and travel may be involved. Additionally, because services are contracted out, you will likely need other sources of income or another job. Working as a security professional for the NFL may very well be an excellent source of supplemental income for those already working in criminal justice careers.