Without men, where would organized sports be? Comedian Jerry Seinfeld says that man cannot go more than 2 minutes without thinking of sex. That still leaves at least 30 minutes out of every hour when something else has to fill the void. It simply cannot take 30 minutes to take out the garbage. There has to be something more.
Seinfeld maintains the men are not creative in the least. Without direction, they would walk around aimlessly, hands in pocket staring blankly into space. This is where Sports fills a vital role. It provides the creative direction for grown men to drink excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, eat nachos yell insane thoughts and otherwise ignore their spouses.
All of which naturally leads to professional football, the king of big money sports. There are no officially released figures so the facts we are about to reveal are not facts at all, just guesses. Some experts claim the NFL annually pulls in $9 billion others place the number between $11 and nearly $15 billion depending on Superbowl opponents and other factors. Advertising revenues from just the Superbowl alone are placed at a whopping $275 million. And then there is all that merchandise as well.
Do you think this is a good business to be in? Well consider this thought. The Green Bay Packers are the only publically own NFL franchise and that stock trades about as frequently as a solar eclipse. So there is darn little hard evidence to go on. However, start by looking at the ownership list and the private valuations placed on the teams (a guaranteed low ball number) and you get the idea.
Virtually every team has at least one billionaire owner. Some teams even have more than one. They are not the least interested in sharing any of the perks and financial rewards with anyone. That tells a lot.
The NFL owners want you solely for your fan value. That means they want you to pay $314.94 for the Direct TV Sunday Ticket or lord knows how much for season tickets and fan paraphernalia. Oh yes, there is one other tinny, tiny item. The NFL owners humbly request that you Mr. Sports Fanatic pay for the $1-$1.5 billion cost to build a state of the art new stadium that no one short of a seven figure income could ever afford to attend.
If you fail to pony up, then you get the same treatment Alex Spanos gave the San Diego Charger fans. Wow, who would ever have guessed that filling 30 minutes of vacant brain time would turn out to be so costly?
This last item is just one of the things that is so reprehensible about the NFL. The fact that the public is so often willing to pay for the debt on stadium financing relieves ownership of sharing the profits through something like a public equity traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Thanks to a willing, if not gullible public, they get to keep it all for themselves. That’s pure greed.
The other major blemish on the NFL is their treatment of professional athletes. Much attention has been drawn of late to concussions and related head injuries. But head injuries are not going to stop young kids (overwhelmingly from poor and under privileged backgrounds) from playing the sport.
Compensation of the athletes by the NFL is a legal only by the grace of God and the antitrust exemption granted by the United States Congress. Salary caps represent blatant collusion. How else can you explain that star quarterback Tony Roma, in his prime signed a six year contract extension with only $55 million guaranteed while all start closing baseball pitcher Aroldis Chapman, also with a six year contract giving him an $11 signing bonus and then $15 million annually. These days’ professional sports are a year around commitment for athletes so both of these guys are totally devoted to hard work.
Tony Romo, during his career thus far, has had two broken collarbones and two major back injuries leading to additional surgeries. Aroldis Chapman has only broken a sweat. The average life expectancy of an NFL play is five years less than the US average.
While both Chapman and Romo are exceptional athletes at the top of the profession, what about the others? In 2016 the median contract salary for an NFL player was $770,000 compared with $4.25 million for an average MLB player. And the average MLB pine rider’s career will amount to 5.6 years compared with just 3.5 years for the NFL. There is only one conclusion to draw. If you play in a sport so violent that it threatens your health and shortens your life, you should be paid appropriately.
And speaking of being paid appropriately, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hauled in over $33 million in salary and bonus last year that is more than 40 times the medium pay of one of his NFL players. We don’t know how much MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gets paid. When he took the job in 2015, his entire net worth was estimated to equal what Goodell gets in about 7 months and not much more than 5 times the average MLB player compensation.
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