This week, we’ll be talking to Ari Nissim, who until 2013 was Director of Football Administration for the Jets. I reached out to him last week, and though he didn’t know me, he was kind enough to agree to an email correspondence. This is true despite the fact he’s quite active on Twitter, a frequent radio guest, a featured writer on National Football Post, and an adjunct faculty member at NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. We’ve since found common friends, as well as common ground on a number of issues.
One of those issues is helping young people in the business, and from the start of our correspondence, I knew he’d be perfect for my blog. In one of his emails, he said this (and it was unsolicited): “I’m a big believer in paying it forward and helping others break into the industry. Always told myself that I would be willing to be accessible. So I’m happy to do the interview.” Ah yes, a kindred spirit. It’s fair to say not everyone in NFL-related professions has the same philosophy.
Before we go any farther, let’s pin down exactly what a Director of Football Administration does and doesn’t do. Again, in Ari’s own words:
“The (Director of Football Administration) does a variety of jobs. He is the salary cap manager for the club; handles the football cash budget for the club (typically this includes player cash budget for the year, plus other budgets under the football umbrella); assures compliance with all the NFL and CBA rules for the club; negotiates player contracts; drafts contract language; structures contracts; works with the GM and scouts to build the roster; (and) is involved in free agency and draft preparation. The (Director of Football Administration) is also responsible for daily administration for the club (i.e. signing/releasing players, trade paperwork, and sending transactions in to the league). I also oversaw our football analytics, coaching contracts, and worked with various different departments inside the organization and handled and oversaw grievances that players may file against the team.”
In other words, his position is not the kind of pure scouting/evaluation/coaching position with the sizzle that excites everyone sitting in a sport administration class right now. Still, he got to touch on a lot of different areas, and there’s lots to unpack, and we’ll be doing that this week as he addresses questions I’ve already directed him.
Of course, he’s flexible, and I am, too. If there are questions you would like to ask, or you need more information on a specific topic, or there’s anything at all that you have questions about, either include it in the comments section this week or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll pass it along. I want this week to be a real win to everyone interested in the inner workings of an NFL team. It’s going to be a fun week.