How was YOUR raise this year?
Ben Roethlisberger signed for $102 million over eight years, with $20 million guaranteed. Kellen Winslow sings for 36.1 million, with 20.1 million guaranteed. San Diego's Antonio Gates signs for $24 million for six years. Jeremy Shockey at New Orleans for $26 million for five years. James Harrison just signed with the Steelers for $51.75 million over six years. Albert Haynesworth breaks into eight figures.
Owners are escalating salaries to top talent and salaries of the rest of the players follow suit.
At the same time, player's agents are watching the market, and when one tight end makes a fantastic deal, they start making demands for their player.
Players claim if they don't receive these salaries, owners will pocket the increased profits from new stadiums and stronger, winning teams. Players also claim they needed high salaries because their playing life was limited.
Owners and Players Fight Over Money - But Who Fights for the Fans?
In that conversation, I never hear talk of the fans. Why not, instead of spending more and more money on salaries and into the pockets of the owners, lower ticket prices to the fans. If you have no fans you have no money to divey up. At this time, fans stretch our pocket books to make a game, but many have already been excluded due to prices.
Risk of Injury
Players argue they need high salaries because of the risk of injury and because their playing life is so short. This is probably the one legitimate claim.
Calculating Player's Salaries
I calculated that, say, I make $200,000 a year and I work 30 years. My life income will be $6 million.
On the NFL Web site, they claim the average NFL player plays five years (seems like it should be more, but I guess Brett Favre has spoiled us).
Accepting this figure of five years, I divided the six million I might make in my whole lifetime by five, and came up with an annual NFL player salary of 1.2 million paid per year over five years. This would equal the $6 million a well paid worker would make in 30 years.
I haven't taken into account endorsements. Players who make it past the five years will earn more than the $6 million, which I would give them for resiliency. I also did not temper the $200,000 a regular person could make for the years it would take to get to that salary.
So what would be the effect if top players were paid maximum 1.2 million a year? How much could owner's lower ticket prices and maintain a acceptable profit margin? How much of a profit is enough for Owner's when it is us, the fans being fleeced?
I challenge the NFL to appoint a fan Ombudsman to represent fan interests. I challenge owner's to consider a lower profit margin and lower ticket prices. How about a reasonable ticket so I can take my niece every game?
Finally, I challenge the players to remember why they are there. To the players it is all about winning, but your fans are rooting for you no matter. You are where you are because of the fans who love you or your team. Because of fans who reach deep into their budgets so they can see you, buy a beer and maybe a T-shirt or a jersey.
Many fans are shut out. Many more will be shut out as prices escalate.
Football: a game for the elite and wealthy? It wasn't meant to be.
Please, owners, agents, and players, make one giant step forwards towards the true roots of football as an All-American game. Get together to talk over salaries and owner's profits and do something constructive. Remember your fans. Make adjustments needed for lower ticket prices.