Yes, the NFL is somehow the most popular sport in the US. And yes, I am bitter about this. There are just as many garbage games here as there are in any sport where the field has been diluted by over-expansion into markets that cannot support teams consistently.
That said, I do enjoy NFL football—almost as much as I enjoy watching my beloved Buckeyes play. There is something to be said for the ability for players to focus on the game 365 days a year, instead of worrying how they are doing in Algebra 200.
The NFL athlete is quite simply a stunning physical specimen, but consider the following:
I am a relatively decent Ultimate Frisbee player and know some of the best players on the east coast. The fastest, according to the time trials done at USA Ultimate Club Nationals last season, is Ken Porter of a North Carolina based team. He ran a timed 40 in 4.64 seconds, according to the USA Ultimate clock.
The fastest man, in a competition full of amateurs, ran the same 40 as former Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert did at the Combine—Gabbert is not considered a running QB by any stretch of the imagination. Jason Kelce, an offensive lineman, ran a 4.89 40 and he is easily 100 pounds heavier than most men.
This is the caliber of athlete the NFL takes into its elite group. And yes, these players are knocking the snot out of one another.
However, they are amazingly well-compensated for that; do not let anyone tell you that making the league minimum is a bad living. A rookie minimum salary is $285,000. That is more than five times the average house hold income (according to the US Census Bureau report, with inflation the average house hold income is $50,000).
With that much income, there is no excuse for players to ever be complaining to anyone about financial troubles. You are in possession of absurd wealth, and if you choose to be irresponsible with that, too bad.
The impending lockout of NFL players has already hit some members of the Philadelphia Eagles, who went to their teammate Brandon Graham for loans. (Side note: For once I have to give credit to the University of Michigan, because clearly this young man learned something there about responsibility, and as a rookie has not spent all his money).
ALREADY?! They have not even been locked out yet and already players are doing this?
Carson Palmer is talking about simply not playing again because he hates playing for the disaster that is the Bengals. He claims to have $80 million put away for his retirement.
Fans need to get real and take a hard look at the facts before blaming anyone but the players for an impending lockout.
The players are amongst the most privileged people in this nation. They get an opportunity to obtain a free college education, receive an obscene amount of gifts in the form of clothes, phones and gift bags for bowl games, they make unreal amounts of money, and have personal trainers to see them through every step of injury recovery.
Sorry NFL Players Association, I have no pity for you. You provide entertainment. You do not provide a vital service like transportation or education. Stop whining about how you are being treated unfairly.
I have zero amount of pity for a group of men whose job is a sport, whose education (which many seem to have not understood was an amazing gift) was free and whose income is through the roof.
Suck it up, share your wealth with the retired vets, and move on.