What are the NFL OTA’s?

What exactly are the OTAs, or 'Organised Team Activities' that the NFL schedules? It's all about team and player bonding!

What are the NFL OTA’s?
Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2023-11-21

What are the NFL OTA’s?Icon

In the world of the NFL, the offseason isn't all about sipping lemonade by the pool. It's a time when gridiron warriors gear up for the upcoming battles, and at the core of this prep time are the Organised Team Activities (OTAs). Think of them as football's version of summer camp, but with bigger players and fewer Smores making activities.

Decoding NFL OTAs

So, what exactly are OTAs? Well, imagine your favourite NFL team hitting the field for workouts, drills, and strategy sessions during the offseason. It’s a chance for teams, players and coaches to get to know each other, and build on their professional and personal relations.  OTA’s are typically held between late spring and early summer, and while they aren't just mandatory BBQs, but they're pretty darn close for these pro athletes.
Let’s just say that if you DON’T show up, you better be a pretty big star, with a very good reason. 

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Inside the OTA Playbook

Here's the lowdown on what happens during OTA sessions:

Field Fun:

Positional Practice: Picture quarterbacks perfecting their spirals, linemen refining their blocking techniques, and receivers working on their end-zone celebrations.
7-on-7 Drills: It's like a game of football reduced to its flashy, fast-paced essence—think quarterbacks slinging passes while defensive backs practice their swatting skills.
Full Team Shenanigans: Teams go full throttle, practicing plays, formations, and strategies. It's like a dress rehearsal for the regular season, minus the dramatic costumes.

Classroom Chronicles:

Playbook Parties: Coaches and players dive deep into the team's playbook, deciphering complex schemes and game plans.
Film Fiesta: Analysing game footage to learn from past mistakes and admire jaw-dropping plays. These sessions stress the ‘where we want to be’ as a team. 
League Life: For many new players, it can become daunting to suddenly be thrust into the NFL life. OTA’s are a more relaxed chance for teams to educate players about finance; personal relations, and mental health balance.

Sweat and Grit:

Fitness Frenzy: Players hit the gym, not for mirror selfies, but for intense workouts focused on building strength and agility. It’s also a chance for players to learn new techniques from trainers and other players. 
Hit the Scales: Gained weight in the offseason? Well this is the chance to own up to your Porky Pies, and meet with the trainers to get the players back into fighting weight.

Why Do OTAs Matter?

Team Bonding: It's not all serious business—these activities are about building camaraderie. They're like team-building exercises, just with more tackling.
Skill Sharpening: Players fine-tune their moves and understand the playbook nuances, making sure they're all on the same page for the real games.
Auditions Galore: Coaches keep a close eye on everyone, sizing up the talent and making tough decisions about who stays and who gets the boot.
Newbie Orientation: Rookies and newbies get their welcome ticket to the team, learning the ropes and adjusting to the NFL speed.

The End Zone for OTAs

While OTAs might not involve touchdown dances or stadium-sized cheers, they're the unsung heroes laying the groundwork for football greatness. They're like the canvas upon which coaches paint their winning masterpieces, one drill at a time.

So, as the NFL off-season whirls with excitement, remember that behind the scenes, players aren't just chilling. They're out there sweating it out, getting ready to make those bone-crushing tackles and gravity-defying catches that we'll all be cheering for when the season kicks off.

Of course no one wants to get hurt in the off-season, which is why like Lionel Richie, they keep it easy like Sunday morning. 

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.

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