Football season is in full swing! I agree with those who say it is the best sport in the world. I enjoy watching professional football, but there is a problem. More and more the press is focusing less on the actual play of the game and more on ancillary issues. For example, I am really not interested in how much player X is paid compared to player Y. This issue of income is particularly bothersome to me as someone who studies the affluent population.
Earlier this year USA Today published the salaries for NFL players. [3/9/10-Player Salaries ]. The reason I kept this article in my file is because it confirms what I suspected. Most NFL players do not make $10M or $15M a year. In fact, most of them do not make $1M or more per year. Of course, in the context of the typical American household, NFL players do quite well. The median household annual income is about $53,000.
In about 2 out of 3 teams, the median annual income for a player is under $1M. In fact, for 2009, the median income was $790,000. Perhaps there ought to be a law! Anytime the press speaks of someone like Chris Long earning over $16M a year playing for the St. Louis Rams, it should be required to mention that the median team income is $541,630. It should also be required to publish the income of the sports agents who represent the highest income producers in the NFL. This may encourage youngsters to obtain a law or accounting degree and then become an agent!
But in terms of the U.S. population of the those who make $10M or more annually, the NFL is in the minor league. From what I can gather, less than 50 NFL players make $10M or more. There are nearly 20,000 Americans who generate an annual income of $10M or more. The majority of them are highly successful business owners; some of these own NFL teams. Perhaps they should have their income published as frequently as the players.
Making $10M or more annually even in America is a long shot: about 1 in 6,252. Contrast this to making a perfect score on the SAT: 1 in 1,000.