Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Dec 2011

One Team, 25 Years On

As plugged in MMQB, here's the story from this week's Sports Illustrated on the health of the 1986 Cincinnati Bengals. Most players aren't like this, but safety David Fulcher says, "It was worth it while I was playing, but now I feel like, no, it wasn't worth it whatsoever."

Posted by: Tom Gower on 10 Dec 2011

10 comments, Last at 01 Jan 2013, 7:03am by mano

Comments

1
by dmstorm22 :: Sat, 12/10/2011 - 9:51pm

What's even more strange is the story of the 1994 Chargers, who have lost countless lives really young, and a lot of them in freak accidents (lightning, for instance, along with overdose, plane crash, car crash). Thankfully, I don't think any of them were due to playing football. I think pft mentioned it earlier this week when another one of their players died.

2
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sun, 12/11/2011 - 5:45am

Easy to get lost in the headline story ... further down you read that center Bruce Kozerski is sharp and nimble - hardly what you'd expect from someone who played in the trench for a decade or so.

I turned 40 this year, I never played contact sports but I threw myself around a volleyball court for 15 years, go circuit training once per week and run most days. I've noticed the past couple of years that I wake up feeling tight and I shuffle to the bathroom when I first get out of bed (in part so I don't kick the cat). I get a version of what Mike Martin has but I'd say it's about 1/10 as bad.

That's not knocking anyone, Mike Martin clearly has big struggles but let's not just see it as being purely caused by football. Somewhere in there mid-life and how you continue to maintain your body play a big part.

3
by fyo :: Sun, 12/11/2011 - 4:26pm

center Bruce Kozerski is sharp and nimble - hardly what you'd expect from someone who played in the trench for a decade or so.

Is that really surprising? Not being facetious -- I really don't know -- it just seems to me that a center wouldn't be involved in many collisions with the head. I'd expect more issues farther from the middle of the line, and esp. with tight ends and running backs.

5
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 10:08am

Lineman have the most frequent head impacts, but very few of the larger ones.

At least the ones who never played Deacon Jones.

4
by JimmyJJ (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 5:14am

The article opens with an overweight 50 year old millionaire who had a hip problem and stiffness and now complains of soreness. My dad has had a similar hip replacement and soreness, but not the millions. We learn about the rest of the Bengals - also in their mid-50s - who have a range of football related injuries but for the most part seem to be dealing with post football life okay.

It's an outstanding article from SI, most interesting is that 90% would have no problem with their sons playing today - this coming from a bunch of guys who have already experienced the glory and know the pain experienced is likely to be a much lower figure than those who are yearning to taste it and feel invincible. That's got to be closer to 99%. One guy still wishes he could play. That's awesome. It's not as if these guys are going down coal mines to secure the future for their families. They're playing in front of thousands cheering for them every week. The lowest paid guy on the roster is being paid 50x more than the average fan and had the opportunity at a free college education.

Before demanding the NFL do more how about asking what football has already done so far?

6
by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 10:39am

The lowest paid guy on the roster is being paid 50x more than the average fan and had the opportunity at a free college education.

This is not true at all, was not close to true in 1986 and is not close to true now, especially after taxes

7
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:10pm

A rookie making the NFL minimum (the lowest a full-time player can be paid) makes $375,000 this year, before taxes. The average income of a full-time worker in the US is $39,000. So a floor-level NFL players makes 10x the average fan.

It's probably not a stretch to say that the average starter on a team makes 50x the average fan.

8
by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2011 - 2:32pm

A rookie making the NFL minimum (the lowest a full-time player can be paid) makes $375,000 this year, before taxes. The average income of a full-time worker in the US is $39,000. So a floor-level NFL players makes 10x the average fan.

In gross maybe, if the guy making 39,000 has any dependents at all he's probably taking home 37,000+. The NFL player is probably single and taking home more like 200,000 after taxes. And has a career expectancy of around 3 years.

It's probably not a stretch to say that the average starter on a team makes 50x the average fan.

Maybe, I don't have the numbers for started but that's not what the guy above me was asserting. He just threw out some ridiculous made up number

9
by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2011 - 3:25pm

After the guy taking home his 37K a year pays his $1000/mnth rent, $500/mnth school loans, $300/mnth health insurance premium, car insurance, etc, he probably "takes home" less than $1000 a month.

After the NFL minimum player does all that, he probably still has $175K. And doesn't have any loans.

10
by mano (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2013 - 7:03am

Walker is out this week http://www.fresh-tests.com/exam/220-702.htm with a broken jaw (wierdly kneed in the head accidentially in the week 16 Seahawks game). Not positive how replacing 220-702 tests him with non-receiving threat Peelle is going to mess up those plays (fewer TE arounds for positive).