First-off, I want to thank those of you that took time to take the Biggest Obstacle to Getting to the NFL poll.  I put it together to, well

Fred Jackson's pro football career began in the National Indoor Football League. (ICON)

obviously, find out what guy’s felt their biggest obstacles were to playing on Sundays.

In today’s post, I’m going to offer my two cents about the results.  I encourage you to share your thoughts on the poll results (or my own reaction to them) in the comments section below.

“Why,” you ask?  Because I think guys that want to play in the NFL (as well as their parents) can learn some valuable lessons by looking closely at the poll results and taking a look at the dynamics surrounding the responses.

So below are my thoughts on each of the responses.  Again, feel free to comment with your own thoughts on the poll results, and let me know if you disagree with my opinions.



Question: What’s your Biggest Obstacle to Getting to the NFL?


Answer #1 – Overcoming Injuries – 8.24% of respondents

My initial thought on this one was that unless you were/are a legitimate candidate to be drafted or picked-up as an undrafted free agent in the 2012 NFL Draft, I doubt that your biggest obstacle is an injury.

But after I thought about it a little bit, I guess if you’re planning on working your way up from the lesser leagues and you’re injured, that could very-well be a viable obstacle to you achieving your dream of playing in the NFL.


Answer #2 – Competing Against Players from Big Schools – 25.88% of respondents

I think this one is my bad.  I don’t think I worded this one right or something, because in my eyes, “competing for roster spots against players from big schools” can only be an obstacle if you’re actually on an NFL roster.

I mean, how can you compete for a roster spot, unless you’re actually ON a roster to begin with?

Or maybe they were trying to say that they feel they’re not getting opportunities to get on, or compete for, NFL roster spots because they came from small schools?

While there might be some merit to that way of thinking, overall, if you can play, they’ll find you.

Do you think that’s what they meant? Crap, I think I might’ve really screwed this poll up.

Let’s move on.


Answer #3 – Developing the Skills Necessary to be an NFL-caliber Player – 31.76% of respondents


I applaud those of you that feel this way, because you’re dealing with reality.  Even though some argue that NFL teams don’t spend as much as they should on scouting, if you “really” have what it takes to play Sundays, they’re going to find you.

In my opinion, there are very few NFL-ready players that “fly under the radar.”  The guys with NFL potential (but just aren’t ready yet) play wherever they can to develop, whether it’s the IFL, CFL, UFL, or whatever.

Many of them perform well while they’re there, and eventually get invited to camps or get invited to at least work out for an NFL team some time down the road.

Basically, what I’m saying is that your main focus should be on becoming a better football player, and playing wherever you can, to avoid gaps in playing experience.   The reason why I have this long, drawn out series about what NFL scouts tend to look for in players at all positions (like this one on quarterbacks), is so that you can know exactly what to train to get better at.

Think about it.  How can you develop the skills necessary to be an NFL-caliber player, if you don’t even know what those skills are?

OK, I’m done.  Let’s move-on to the last one.


Answer #4 – Getting a Fair Shot to Show What I Can Do In-Front of NFL Personnel – 34.12% of respondents

Personally, I think worrying about this is a waste of time.  If you can play, they will find you.

A few weeks ago, the mother of a guy that played at an SEC school a few years back called me.  She wanted me to contact NFL scouts and explain to them his circumstances back in 2010, and the reasons why he didn’t play well.

According to Mom, he experienced some bad reactions to his medications which affected his physical play.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I think the kid should be thankful that his mom (who’s a “very” sharp lady, by the way) is willing to put so much energy into getting things straightened out, but unfortunately, as I told her, things don’t really work that way in this industry.

It’s 2012 Draft time, and her son is a distant memory to most scouts by now.

I had to explain to her that her (and his) time would be more wisely spent trying to play wherever he can, so he can have some fresh film that scouts can look at, and that they should focus on proving the NFL scouts wrong, not trying to verbally convince them that they made a mistake.

So stop trying to get in-front of NFL scouts, and focus on finding a roster spot anywhere: IFL, CFL, UFL, Arena, somewhere, and show scouts on film what you can do.  If you want to work out in-front of NFL personnel prove to them that you’re good enough to deserve to work out in-front of them.

If you’re hell-bent on working out in-front of NFL personnel, look into the ELITE Combines.


OK, I’m done.  *wheewww*

But what are YOUR thoughts about the poll results?  Do you feel like one of the obstacles mentioned in the poll kept you from getting to the league?  If so, which ones, and what did you do about it?

Do you disagree with my comments on the poll results?  I wanna hear from you!  Chime-in in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter!  @alvingrier

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