Football is big business. And who are the stars of the show? The players,
The border between the U.S. and Canada is practically non-existent when
it comes to football players. The U.S. recruits Canadian players, and Canada
recruits Americans. The National Football League has two divisions, the American
Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).
NFL teams report for a six-week training camp in July prior to the season,
and pre-season games begin in August. The regular season starts in September
and continues for 17 weeks. Post-season games follow the regular season, culminating
with the Super Bowl at the end of January.
The NFL draft for new players takes place in April.
Duke Babb works with National Football Scouting. His organization designates
which players are recommended to the clubs as possible professional prospects.
The prospects are broken down into three levels: draft choices, priority free
agents and camp prospects.
"After the draft is completed, regardless of what their rating level was
before then, all of the remaining players are free agents and are at liberty
to sign with whomever they choose or whoever makes the best offer."
What do the pro teams look for when scouting for new players? "Each player
is evaluated in relation to a set of skills based on his position. Different
skills are tied to each position," says Babb.
"We have height, weight and speed charts that are based on the averages
in each position in the NFL. When we start looking at a player, the first
things we look at are his height, weight and speed and how they compare to
"You can have a player who is low in the height, weight, and speed factor,
but he may be highly productive."
Football players are expected to keep themselves in excellent physical
condition year-round. During the season, they work very long and tough hours
building the skills necessary to be professionals. "Medical issues are a number
one priority. They're signing some pretty big contracts," says Babb.