How to Make it in Dallas: A week in the Life of Samuel Cromley

by Nicole Curra

Samuel Cromley, a 2003 Texas State University graduate, works a packed 7-day a week dream job as an Assistant Video director for the Dallas Cowboys.

A football player in high school, Cromley tore his ACL three times. He remembers his Varsity football coach asking him to take over filming the games. Cromley said, “At that point I had never even touched a camera, but I ended up having a knack for it.” After graduation, Cromley worked for the University of Houston, Texas State University and Texas Christian University’s football programs in the video departments.

Getting Started

In 2007, Cromley was finishing up his season at TCU when he received a phone call from a vendor of the both the Cowboys and the TCU Frogs. He told Cromley that Robert Blackwell, Video Director for the Cowboys, had a position open in the video department.

Cromley

“Without having to even say the Dallas Cowboys, I knew immediately what team he was talking about,” Cromley said of the call.

Cromley called Blackwell’s office the next day and after an initial interview with Blackwell, Cromley was invited to the Thanksgiving game against the New York Jets.

“I watched the game from the coaches’ booth.” He saw the Green Bay Packers game the following week where Blackwell hired him for the Assistant Video Director position.

Day-to-Day

In his fifth season with the Cowboys, Cromley keeps busy at work with preparation for each week’s game. On Tuesday, Cromley works on a DVD of plays from the opponent team of that week for the coaches to watch. Then he meets with Head Coach Jason Garret to create a 45-60 slide PowerPoint for the team meeting on Wednesday. Cromley said, “[Jason is] very detailed oriented with the message, so it takes some time.”

Wednesday is the first day of practice for the new opponent; Cromley transfers practice footage to the network system.

He said, “Each drill is brought in and intercut between our sideline angle and an end zone angle.” After practice, he searches for clips to use for the special teams meeting on Saturday night. Thursday he makes another PowerPoint with Head Coach Garret.

On Friday mornings Cromley is in meetings with the coaches and players helping to run the presentations he created earlier in the week. He also shoots practices. “I’m either in the tower or lift so I have to carry my camera and tripod out to the designated location.”Cromley

Whether it is a home game or away game, Saturday, Cromley is in charge of setting up equipment for the team meeting that night in their hotel. Cromley said if it’s an away game, after the meeting, “I might take up a little sightseeing.”

On game day, Cromley shoots the sideline angle during the game. “I have to get a shot of the scoreboard and then the play.” Cromley’s footage combined with the other cameramen’s footage is shared on a private network for NFL. The 31 other NFL teams have access to the footage.

Cromley is back in the office early Monday morning working on attaching data to the other games played around the league. If there is a win from the day before, he crafts another PowerPoint presentation of highlights and player recognition of those who did well in the game.

Scholarly Advice

Cromley offered advice for student in the mass communications field: “Networking is the best thing you can do if you really want to be in this field.” He landed both his TCU and Cowboys job through mutual third parties. His next step to success is, “Once you’re in a good situation, work hard and seize the opportunity.”

As a fan growing up and watching the Cowboys of the 90’s, Cromley said he hopes to be a part of a Super Bowl win for the Cowboys.

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