NFL Players Have It Easy

It’s really a no-brainer to say that the players of the NFL have it made but sometimes you really don’t know how good they have it until it’s pulled out from under them and then scrutinized by every single media outlet.  Side with the players or not and the NFL is one of the most giving of professional sports.  Consider what the players have now, what they are seeking in the next CBA, and then wonder why we are watching this mess instead of getting early jumps on our fantasy football reading.

The players over the last decade received between 50 and 56% of NFL revenue.  Not all of the revenue the NFL received was split with the players.  In addition, the owners took 1 billion off the top of what was shared for expenses. This isn’t going to be a player bashing article by any means so keep reading.  Many fans and the players have called the owners greedy and the fact that the 32 owners opted out of the last CBA and forced the players to decertify their union and then lock them out…there I said that very nicely…has not diminished that opinion amongst the players and again some fans.

My question would be what do the players put into the game?

The argument is that the players put their bodies on the field.  Let’s face the facts here.  These guys have been sacrificing their bodies since pee-wee football, through high-school and junior high, through college, and now in the pro’s.  Every stage got harder and the wear on the body gets worse.  It’s no wonder that retired players find it hard to get out of bed in the morning.  Some players get paid millions of dollars to play this game.  The lowest player get’s around 400K a year.  But remember, those players at the league minimum are rarely starters so the wear and tear is a little less…not much but some.

Still, I can’t help but look at the current labor issue and wonder why it is that the players are arguing over what the owners have asked for.  The owners have taken the billion dollars off the table.  They have agreed to a league wide minimum spending limit of 90% of the salary cap which is a 10 percent increase, and have offered to share all revenue with the players without exemption.  In other words, from what it sounds like, the players already will be getting more than they did in the last CBA.  Which then makes me wonder why in the hell would the owners agree to that?

In addition, the players will likely take between 48 and 50 percent off those revenues.  So in some ways the league is getting back what could be 6 to 8 percent.  But they are sharing more.

Players do a lot and I won’t short them that.  Training camps are grueling, two-a-days suck, the season really doesn’t offer them a reprieve from work as they traditionally only get one day off a week, and they spend most of their off-season working out.  Regardless of whether they have workout bonuses in their contracts.

But they pay for nothing.  Medical care for them and their family is provided, any and all charity work is a tax write off, as is any transportation to an event and back from that event.  Public appearances are compensated for by those holding the appearance or by the team.  The players do not pay for stadium upgrades, do not pay the vendors at the stadium, the food at the camps, and on top of that, most NFL players have endorsement deals outside of the game…even if they are simply small ones.

It was noted earlier this week that Vikings runner Adriane Petereson gave his name but not his body to a youth football camp that charged the kids 199.00 bucks to attend…sans Peterson, it should be noted that Peterson is the exception to most players who don’t charge for camps.  Their shoes are supplied to them for free as is any and all equipment they want to use.  The players get money back from jerseys sold, football cards sold, and any time their likeness or name or both are used in a video game or in another manner.  In fact, you can’t publish a picture of a player for the purpose of making money unless you have their permission and compensate them for it.

The NFL provides an incoming rookie class symposium (cancelled this year).  They take the incoming class on a tour of the NFL Football HOF each year, provide a myriad of structured assistance, and then pay into the retired players funds as well.  In some cases continuing health care after the player has retired.

So what again are the players fighting for?  They swear it’s not money but it sure seems like there is little else to fight for.  The fact that they already stand to make more than they did under the last CBA makes me wonder why they haven’t agreed to what the owners are offering now.  Unless they simply haven’t been given enough.

Then again, while fans wouldn’t care if Peyton Manning was replaced by Eric Ainge if it meant having football, the truth is that the owners know that having the best names sitting on their roster will bring them more money and the players know that as well.  So while the owners try to play a little hard ball, the players know that the NFL wouldn’t exist without them.  And that’s why we are still sitting around waiting for this CBA stuff to just get over with.

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