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March 04, 2011


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Football is their passion. Where one excells in one area, there may be lacking in another.

I can say that about alot of people.

A man who knows all the stats about a player but ask him about his 401k and you get a deer in headlights look.

I hope there isn't a lock-out nor a strike. It doesn't help anyone. People don't need football like they need clothes, warmth, or food. The NFL and the players need to understand this. If there isn't football in the fall they maybe surprised how quickly folks can find something else to do. Football in America is a great economic engine. Those involved would be wise to come to an agreement soon.

I used to work with a 2nd/3rd string player on a super bowl winning team. He is one of the cheapest people I know- its annoying how cheap he is.

He said its almost impossible to hang on to any money your rookie year unless you are a star. Some of your team mates are making 10x+ more than you and as a rookie your covering a lot more expenses of the group. "Rookie is picking up dinner tonight" etc.

He gained a reputation as the cheap guy on the team and he said he was lucky to end his career after 4 years with 1 year income saved.

"As a reality check, $320k per year for playing a game isn't bad. Do that for five years, and you've earned more than many people make in their lifetimes."

Keep in mind that the average career for an NFL player is only 5 years as well.

Jon - it's actually less than that (about 3.5 years).

@Jon - that's what I was going to say. They may only work for 5 years, and many have tremendous health problems after their career is ended. On top of that, they can be cut at any time, so unless they are a star they have no job security.

When you are living on the road it is hard to be frugal. not to mention that when first starting up, they likely do not have much money in the bank, and certainly couldn't work through college (although they probably had a scholarship so they wont have student loans either). But, while its easy to pass judgment on a group of people, keep in mind that with a very short career, its likely that much of that 22% are in their first year of making that money as well.

Another issue - taxes for them - at $320K, they are in the highest federal bracket and AFAIK, when they play a game in another state, they may end up having the amount of money they make for that game taxed in that state.

Short career as well, as noted by previous comments----so truly it must be done for the love of the game for many of them.

When people think of NFL players, they think of the Peyton Manning's and Tom Brady's. They think that they are all rich millionaires who are making more money than 99.9% of people in America to play a kids game. Therefore, they feel that they are being greedy when they talk about wanting a better deal.

However, consider that the average player is making far less than the Peyton's and Brady's and they make that money for a lot less time. Yes the average is $1.8 million, but as statisticians know, averages are skewed by a lot of big earners. I would guess that the median is less than that - maybe less than 1 million.

The typical NFL player might earn $2-3 million over their short playing career. Now if you retire at 65 with that much in the bank, you can live a pretty good retirement. However, if you are retiring at 25, that money is going to be hard to make last 70 years. The sheer amount of time coupled with inflation means that the typical NFL retiree isn't in great shape financially. They probably have to be wise investor, not try to live the high life, get another job. The point I am trying to make is that the typical NFL player isn't "filthy rich" by any stretch of the imagination. That is why I will side with the NFL players every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

I worked for a guy who used to be a pro ball player in the 80's. He remembers getting a check for $40K and thinking he was rich. He shakes his head at the salaries of today.

As with anything, with such a short career you need to diversify your skills, so you can keep on working later on. For example, practice public speaking so you can become a commentator. If you're talented you can move onto coaching. I don't expect the top guys to ever need to work at the end of their careers, but the lower paid ones aren't going to be able to last a lifetime on 3-5 years of $320-$500K salary. I know I couldn't.

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