Being a waterboy in the NFL doesn’t exactly sound glamorous. Of course, there are perks: You get to travel with an NFL franchise and keep professional athletes hydrated, all while soaking in the game from the sidelines. But on the other hand, keeping an entire NFL team full of liquids seems like a daunting and tedious task.
Waterboys have existed in athletics at least as far back as 1869. When New Jersey played Rutgers that year in one of the earliest American football games, there was evidence that a waterboy helped aid a Rutgers player. Even a United States president — Herbert Hoover — once served as a waterboy. In fact, he was the first of these hydration experts in Stanford University history. The most famous of all time is without a doubt Adam Sandler’s character, Bobby Boucher, from The Waterboy.
Before getting into how much the average waterboy in the NFL makes, we first have to consider a few things about a very, very rich league. For starters, the total value of all the National Football League franchises combined is almost $100 billion, according to Forbes. That means teams can afford to pay some absurdly high salaries to players, coaches and everyone else you see on the sidelines.
With an estimated value north of $5 billion, the Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable football team and franchise in all of professional sports, even when baseball players in the MLB are receiving $300-million contracts left and right. That’s why NFL players like Ezekiel Elliott earn $90-million contract extensions and owners like Jerry Jones own a yacht larger than a football fields. It should be no surprise then that even the most unheralded NFL jobs still net a pretty hefty paycheck.
What Do NFL Waterboys Do?
The job description is pretty straightforward. Waterboys make sure players are hydrated. They provide towels and anything else players and coaches may need all while trying not to get in the way of the action. Some even get game-used clothing items like jersey and jockstraps. The job title, as it may imply, is not limited to males.
There isn’t much info on the web about any behind-the-scenes work a waterboy in the NFL or NBA does, but it looks like most of them have at least a high school degree. Experience working with a college football team team would likely help your case as well.
How Much Does an NFL Waterboy Make?
You might want to sit down before reading this: the average salary of an NFL waterboy is a whopping $53,000 a year, according to Stack.com. Some are unpaid or work as stipend interns, per reference.com, but the full-time water and towel boys are considered part of the training staff.
Still, that is lot of money considering the job doesn’t look so tough. In fact, the $53,000 estimated salary is comparable to that of firefighters, graphic designers and legal assistants, according to U.S. Department of Labor occupational employment statistics. It ain’t a million dollars but that’s darn good money for the job.
If you need more evidence that NFL waterboys make way more than minimum wage, just ask former NFL receiver Chad Ochocinco. He told one San Francisco 49er fan the same amount in 2019, which begged the obvious question: where does one sign up to be a waterboy in the NFL?
How to Apply to be an NFL Waterboy
You probably need some high school and college athletic experience in the field to become an NFL waterboy. I mean, there’s a possibility you could be working a Super Bowl. This is the big leagues. It also wouldn’t help to know someone (maybe a family member?) that works for a sports team who can put in a good word for you.
To nab one of these seemingly awesome jobs, navigate to the NFL’s website and check their job postings. Teamworkonline.com is also a good resource that posts NFL team jobs. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up squirting water in Tom Brady’s or some other sweaty dudes’ mouths.
If you’re like me and thinking of quitting their full-time job to be a professional hydrator, don’t fret if you can’t find any jobs in the NFL. The NBA hires similar positions and, well, maybe you can reach out to MLB teams, because baseball players are making more money than anyone.
I’d say NFL waterboy is a blend of one of the easiest and cushiest jobs in football. Forget throwing touchdowns as the quarterback, booming kicks as the kicker or punter or sweating your butt off as a team mascot, waterboy is all the rage these day.
This article was originally published December 13, 2019.