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NFL Has a GitHub Page (github.com)
17 points by rolstenhouse 38 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments

Hi there! I used to work at the NFL. We were VERY early adopters of React, and I was lucky enough to work with some of the best frontend engineers I’ve ever worked with in my entire career. We built our own version of NextJs and Create React App 2+ YEARS before those projects became popular in the community (https://github.com/nfl/react-wildcat). This is what I primarily worked on, along with being responsible for making sure NFL.com was accessible, and working on the build/test/deploy pipeline for NFL.com and the NFL.com App (which is react-native). 1.5 years ago my boss and I left and joined System1.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the website was farmed out to contractors, so we weren’t given too much business support to really push some of these open source projects forward and give them the same level of "marketing sparkle" that a company like Facebook would encourage. For example, part of me was STOKED to see NextJs come out, because it was a better version of react-wildcat. But to be honest part of me felt like with that extra level of marketing sparkle react-wildcat could have been what NextJs was built on to begin with.

I don't really fault NFL for this because these projects didn't drive any revenue. Also the way NFL.com's business model worked didn't really give engineering a "wedge" to increase profits, so engineers were all considered a cost center. E.g. at most adtech or publishing companies you can write a few lines of ad related code and prove revenue increased in an A/B test 24 hours later. NFL had no problem selling ads directly because of how amazing their brand is, so fancier code wouldn't really make a difference.

Also career-wise I learned even though I got to touch decently high profile open source projects like React Helmet, React GPT, and React Metrics, it didn't really transition to any benefit in job interviews. Before leaving NFL I interviewed at top FANG level companies and got rejected at the phone screen. Even non-FANG companies didn't really seem to care. Keep doing those leetcode problems kids!

Most of the original team members from that era of the NFL have moved on to different companies after it became pretty clear that more and more work was going to become outsourced. I got lucky and really clicked with my boss at the NFL, so when he left I tagged along and fumbled (no pun intended) into an absolutely excellent opportunity at System1. All in all, working there was a great experience!

Thanks for sharing your story and for all your great work. Comments like this make HN the special place it is.

Thanks for the response! I always like seeing people chime in from companies at Hacker News too so I'm glad you enjoyed my story.

They've nailed the repo naming (sample of size 1): https://github.com/nfl/react-helmet

It's a great library too. the defacto standard to use with Gatsby

Seconded! react-helmet is some terrific work.

Of course they do. React-helmet is great!

I’m sure a lot of “non-tech” companies have little things that can fill their corporate presence on GitHub.

What is the difference between a tech and non-tech company?

Btw, their top-3 repos respectively have 12k, 573, 432 stars. I'm not sure little is the apt description.

> What is the difference between a tech and non-tech company?

The number of software engineers in the NFL is probably a rounding error compared to their entire workforce.

> Btw, their top-3 repos respectively have 12k, 573, 432 stars. I'm not sure little is the apt description.

I’m not saying that they don’t have useful software. I’m just saying that many companies probably have some projects they can open source; it’s not surprising to see that NFL has a GitHub page.


And a properly filled out code of conduct. Not bad.

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