My how salaries of American professional football players have changed.
Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins recently turned down a long-term contract offer of $53 million. In 1924, the Green Bay Packers payroll for the entire team was $12,000. The 1924 team consisted of 18 players.
Ah, but inflation changes the picture. Yes, but the 1924 dollars are equivalent to only $171,530 in 2016 dollars. That would be about $9,530 per player, hardly a living wage. Of course, the 1924 salary money was not divided equally. Curly Lambeau was the Packers' player-coach that year, and he certainly got a bigger share than most, of not all, of the other players. Players in those days had to have other sources of income to survive.
We don't know the details of Cousins' $53 million contract offer, except that both he and the team have said the money was guaranteed, and not dependent upon performance or other factors. We do know that top star quarterbacks in the National Football League are paid in the $10 million to $15 million per year range. Although Cousins has shown considerable potential, he is not yet an established top star. So let's assume his offer was for 5 years.
Is Cousins, or any athlete, worth $10.6 million per year?
Those who contend that professional football players are worth their huge compensation packages point out that careers can be cut short by injury at any time and the players cause teams to make the huge profits that enable them to pay top dollars to compete for talent.
Hogwash. Pay for professional football players has become ridiculous. Although some top surgeons in the
U.S. can earn $1 million per year,
average earnings for doctors in family practices, who strive to help rather
than hurt others, are in the $200,000 per year area. The salary of the president
of the United States
is $400,000 per year.
|Racing toward self-destruction?|
A large share of the income of professional football teams is revenue from television contracts. Nevertheless, game ticket prices have soared to levels as exorbitant as player salaries and costs for food and drink in stadiums are likewise elevated.
There is mounting concern in this country about inequality in incomes between the rich and all others. A start at correcting the situation could be made in pro sports by winding down salaries of wealthy players and using the savings to reduce the costs for Joe Fan by lowering outrageous prices for tickets, hot dogs, and beer.
The current salary situation is well on the way to making me an ex-fan, and declining attendance figures for some teams indicate many already have become former supporters. Pro football is on a path of self-destruction if drastic changes are not made soon .