Why NFL Players Are Worth Every Penny

I hate seeing summer end, but a certain distraction takes me right to the middle of February without even missing it.

I hate seeing summer end, but a certain distraction takes me right to the middle of February without even missing it.

My wife and I live and breathe football until the final snap of the Super Bowl. Even after that, the off-season shenanigans keep us occupied until the daffodils come up.

I will gladly watch 2 teams of any caliber and age duke it out for 3 hours. There is something about it that makes it totally entrancing.

The players are rock stars who marry supermodels, then deflate footballs and get away with it. They are young and rich, which is everything I ever wanted to be in my entire life, but I am currently neither.

I am a diehard Steeler fan, but being a boy who grew up in central New Jersey, I admired what the Cowboys and Giants did when they were hot. Today, I enjoy nothing more than watching their fans suffer through a loss.

If you are a football fan and have never been to a home game at your favorite team’s stadium, then add it to your bucket list. There is nothing in the world that sounds like 65,000 people agreeing that something wonderful in your team’s favor has just occurred. Expect high fives from your newly acquired best friends to come from nowhere.

For the privilege of making millions of people feel this way, the players command exorbitant salaries. An untested rookie will make at least $435,000 this year.

Even the practice squad gets paid $6600 a week to be the starting lineup’s breathing tackling dummies. There is a very good reason for it.

Players in the NFL are literally killing themselves for our entertainment. At the very least, they run the serious risk of compromising their mythical golden years.

A fair amount of them do not age well. Joints give out and tendons rupture. They exceed the limits of what their body mechanics will allow all too often.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles recently tore his anterior cruciate ligament by merely cutting too hard to the left. When a leg bends the way his did at the point of impact, you realize that something catastrophic happened to it. It was enough to end his season.

Joint and tendon injuries are child’s play compared with what repeated cerebral concussions can do to a football player. Over a long period of time, they can cause neurological deficits ranging from Parkinson’s-like symptoms to mental illnesses, even to the point of causing the person to commit suicide.

Achieving fortune and fame in the NFL is a dream that very few of us will ever realize. People complain about their salaries, but you have to look at the risk that these players assume every day from the preseason and beyond.

In my opinion, they are worth every penny that they get. They have decades of their lives to lose.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, dedicates this column to the memory of Mike Webster. Play on, 53.