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NFL groundskeepers have the duty of ensuring that the playing fields are in the best condition possible on game day. Because NFL games are not always played in ideal weather conditions but also inclement weather, especially late in the season and the playoffs, the groundskeepers' job demands that they also meet their duty in these conditions. NFL groundskeepers are considered employees of the stadiums in which their teams play.
NFL groundskeepers are paid to be both landscapers and artists. They are paid to cut grass and ensure that there are no blemishes on the field. Longtime NFL groundskeeper George Toma is the NFL's groundskeeper for Super Bowl games because of his attention to detail. In addition to earning a living as an NFL groundskeeper, Toma was also a MLB groundskeeper for the Kansas City Royals and worked for the Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles and 1996 in Atlanta.
A Closer Look
In 2003, the Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, hired Darien Daily as its head groundskeeper. A head groundskeeper is in charge of all groundskeepers for a stadium. Though no salary information is disclosed, and specific salary information for NFL groundskeepers is not readily available, Daily has a degree in plant and soil science. In a June 2003 article for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Daily notes that earning a paycheck does not come without its demands, which can include "sun-up to sun-down" hours, maintaining three practice fields and supervising a crew of groundskeepers.
Assistant groundskeepers work under the supervision of NFL groundskeepers. They are paid to assist groundskeepers with the maintenance of the field, gather information to help prepare budget and purchase supplies. They earn roughly $40,000 annually, as noted in a March 2011 NationalFootballPost.com newsletter, but this figure may vary by NFL team.
The duties of an NFL groundskeeper are consistent with those of a landscaper. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salary of grounds maintenance workers at $11.13 per hour, or $23,150 annually based on 2,080 hours. The highest 10 percent earn more than $17.57 hourly, or $36,545 annually based on 2,080 hours. As noted, NFL groundskeepers may work longer hours. For supervisors or managers of grounds maintenance workers, the average salary is $19.19 hourly, or $39,915 annually, with the highest 10 percent earning $31.33 hourly or $65,166 annually.
- Harbinger; Legendary Groundsman George Toma...; Ian Wiseman; December 2009
- Hamilton County Human Resources Department: Classification and Compensation Division
- National Football Post; The Real Victims of the Work Stoppage; Dan Pompei; March 2011
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Grounds Maintenance Workers
Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.