Oct 30, 2013, 1:20 PM PST
The average length of an NFL player’s career is between three to six years. In a league where rosters are constantly manipulated, and career-threatening injuries can be right around the corner, there has always been one constant with the Oakland Raiders — the Romanski family.
In the entire history of the franchise, there have only been two equipment managers. The Raiders’ current head equipment manager, Bob Romanski, has been in charge for 33 years. Before him, his father, Dick, ran the show behind the scenes. As legend has it, the elder Romanski’s face was even the model for the Raiders’ logo.
Even though it was the family business, the younger Romanski wasn’t really planning on manning the post. As a kid, he would help his father out around the facility. He joined the team after graduating high school. When the head equipment job opened up, he decided to try it for a year to see how it went. He never ended up leaving.
With the help of three equipment assistants, and the occasional visit from his father, Romanski is responsible for every piece of gear that comes into the team’s facility and goes onto a player. The equipment room has hundreds of helmets in every size and eight different styles, more facemasks than you can count, every single cleat model that Nike makes in all sizes, a wall shelf with nothing but silver and black pants, and a rack of jerseys — two each in black and white — for each player on the roster.
That’s not counting the custom shoes sent to players by their sponsors, undergarments, towels, gloves and visors. Their facility is like a dream sporting goods store. And if any of that equipment breaks or gets dinged up, these guys can fix it or swap it out in an instant.
Football as you know it doesn’t happen without these guys doing what they do. And when the season ends, they don’t just pack up shop and leave like the players. They stick around and keep everything in order. There are constant shipments, changes in equipment and team personnel that they have to address.
No one logs more hours than these guys. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave every day.
The hardest working men in the Raiders organization were kind enough to give Field of Teams a behind-the-scenes tour of a place the fans can only dream of seeing in person. They even had a little fun with it in the process.
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