Former pro football player reveals how much NFL water boys make in a year

How much do water boys get paid in the NFL?

Football season might be over, but thanks to one viral TikTok, the question is stoking plenty of discussion.

The conversation started thanks to Jake Thieneman (@jake.thieneman), a former NFL player who often posts videos giving an inside look at life in the league. His clips fall in line with a common trend on TikTok, where users share hidden facts about their jobs — from life as a towboat worker to the strange path some tollbooth workers take to work each day.

Thieneman’s latest clip, which drew nearly 300,000 viewers in one day, claims that the average NFL water boy salary is actually around $53,000. That figure is also reported elsewhere, such as the sports website Stack, although data from the league itself isn’t readily available.

From there, Thieneman was quick to add that the number can vary based on the team and the experience of the applicant. He also explained just how qualified many NFL water boys really are.

“Now, there’s a misconception that these people just hand out water and towels,” Thieneman says. “These are trainers on the athletic training staff. Most of them have athletic training degrees or [physical therapy] degrees and are learning the craft of treating players’ injuries and helping guys stay healthy.”

Thieneman suggested that those interested in the job should see it as an “apprenticeship” as opposed to “just squirting water bottles.”

TikTokers, however, were somewhat unhappy. Many argued that the salary is nowhere near enough for someone with a physical therapy (PT) degree.

“Why do I feel like they aren’t paid enough now?” one user asked.

“53K for a PT? Lol sounds like a scam,” another added.

“My son is a PT, but 53K a year is way too small for the amount of schooling,” another argued.

That said, Thieneman was sure to point out the benefits of the role. As he explained, water boys also get to travel with the team and spend time with players, in addition to other perks.

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