Right now the sports world is being dominated by NBA players making money hand over fist, and it’s making many other athletes re-think their career choices.
The NBA financial situation is something Fan Interference can talk about a different day, because it’s really interesting how a cap jump can happen this big that nobody could see coming 5 years ago. But for now, let’s talk about what this means for the sport of football and the NFL.
Baseball and basketball at the professional level now make an exceptional amount of money compared to football. Not only is the money significantly less in football, it’s also much more popular to have non-guaranteed money in football contracts. How often now do we see incentivized contracts or the ability to back out of a contract at any given time? It’s a norm at this point. Why are these professional sports so different in terms of contracts?
The biggest indicator of money differentials is because it takes 52 people to fill out an NFL roster, much more than the MLB (25) or the NBA (12). Also, football is a sport where you could go down at any given moment and no longer be able to provide for your team, it makes sense from an owner’s point to be able to opt-out of a contract when someone gets injured.
Still, these are points that support why an owner wouldn’t want to pay more to NFL players. NFL players easily have the toughest job out of the three sports. Injuries can literally happen on any play which could end a career. So, for NFL players to go out every play with no real job security is kind of frightening. You’d love your job much more if you knew you were getting paid for the year no matter what happens to you.
With that being said, it’s no surprise the NFL is at least making as much money as the NBA or the MLB, and most likely they’re making much more money per year than either organization. If owner’s wanted to shell out more money for players, they easily could and it wouldn’t damage their operation of an NFL team (it would hurt the paycheck they take home, but I can’t really feel bad for a couple millionaires).
The entire financial setup of the NFL is actually quite a concern, team owners walk away with most of the money here. Think about it, teams can get free stadiums or stadium upgrades by just threatening to move to another city (L.A. has been the “other girl” here for a number of years) because most cities that have sports teams identify by their teams. In football, you basically only have to pay the star players, others are on non-guaranteed contracts that basically consist of lowball money in comparison to that of the NBA or MLB. The league’s in need of some serious changes.
If something doesn’t change, who knows what could happen. Maybe the players will revolt in a lockout and shut down the league, like some sports apocalypse. Then about a decade later, some new star will come out and save the league like a superhero. My money is on JJ Watt or Cam Newton being the savior.
Or maybe that’s just a movie I’m writing (hint: it totally is, it’s like the new Space Jam, maybe F.I. will film it, too).