On Wednesday, I first started getting texts and emails from the people who’d used our practice exams and study guides before taking the 2019 NFL Agent Exam, and they were excited — they’d passed the test.

“I couldn’t have made it without ITL! I’m forever grateful,” said one. “Without your guide and newsletters, I would have been lost entering the seminars,” said another. “I could not have done it on the first try without you and ITL,” said a third. There were plenty more, which is one reason why the day results come out is such a special time for us here at ITL.

Of course, after a few days, the euphoria wears off and the reality of actually signing and working with NFL players begins to become a worry, and maybe even a concern. That’s natural, but no less daunting.

Having worked with new agents since ’02, we get it. For those members of the ’19 agent class who are wondering what’s next, here are a few words of wisdom.

  • Take time to celebrate: We’ve been told it took 48 correct answers (out of 60) to pass this year. At 80 percent, that means either the test was a little easier than usual or test-takers just did better than in previous classes. We prefer to believe the latter. Either way, you’ve accomplished something that most people don’t, so give yourself some credit.
  • Swing for the fences: You’ve done a bold thing by pursuing certification. Don’t stop now. For many, the temptation is to play it cool; many new agents don’t even recruit in their first year certified, which is insane given that you only get three years to land someone on an NFL roster. I encourage you to go for it.
  • Don’t seek salvation: For many agents, the goal is to find a mega-agency willing to hire you. While this seems tempting, the reality is that no firm is interested in looking at you unless you have proven yourself. If you’re a new agent, no matter how hard-working or earnest you are, the big agencies are not going to look at you.
  • Study the business: The temptation when you get certified is to lean heavily on the contacts and network you already have. Remember: there’s more information out there today than there ever has been, about which players get an NFL chance, about the backgrounds of people in NFL scouting and administration, about the players in the most recent draft, who represented them and who trained them. This is your rookie year; learn not just by doing, but by studying. It will serve you well in Year 2.
  • Understand that you’ll pay a price: Like anything else worth accomplishing, you will have to use resources to experience even a modicum of success. Maybe that’s money. Maybe that’s time. Maybe that’s your pride. Chances are, it will be all three. You have to be careful about making sacrifices, but you’ll have to do it, even if you have dozens of friends in the business. Accept that.

One other piece of advice I’d recommend is that you join us at Inside the League. Maybe you used our exam prep materials to get you through the test; maybe you’ve read our book about the NFL Draft process; maybe you’ve only heard of us on Twitter; or maybe you’ve read our blog for a while now. If any of those apply to you, it will be worth it for you to have access to our site. Even more than that, however, we’ll be starting our annual series, the ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter, in November. If you’re part of ITL, you’ll get our Monday-through-Thursday emails that serve as a sort of tutorial on the business. You can only get that if you’re an ITL client.

Then again, maybe you need to learn more first. To do that, we recommend subscribing to our weekly newsletter, the Friday Wrap. You can register for it here. You can check out last week’s episode here.