Murderball was a fantastic film about paraplegics who play full-contact rugby in futuristic, hardcore wheelchairs.
These athletes conquered unimaginable obstacles to compete in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. If that is “murderball,” I asked myself, what is football? The average day on the gridiron is more violent, more devastating to the human body than any other sport. The day-to-day collisions occur are like constant motor vehicle accidents or falls insofar as the impact on the body. The longterm effects of being able to play the greatest sport in the world are just being discovered. Add the off the field perils, the lack of proper guidance and you have a situation that makes the toughest man in the world cry. Okay, Mr. Tebow wasn’t crying over the state of football, but because of the love and passion for the game. We admire that passion and the way Tim Tebow has been a statesman for college football. Tim stood up for his beliefs on the biggest stage in the word, unashamed and with commendable ethic. This article, in a way, tries to do the same thing. It describes the hardships of football and is a stern look at its perils. It is not meant to discourage, but inform. We think we offer to assist down this path than many of our competitors. Regardless of that, we want to let Players know more about the road ahead and that in some ways it is, well, akin to murderball. Dramatic? Yes, but we want the point clear. You’ve gotten this far. You need the right mind-set and team to go further. Agents are supposed to sell the game, be advocates of the lifestyle and make promises bigger than a child’s naïve dreams. I love and am passionate about football, but a reality check is necessary, too. So, here are a few stats based on questions I get all the time. As always, e-mail me- firstname.lastname@example.org if I can ever help advocate for you in or out of sports… or if you just have a good joke (as the NCAA allows). What are my odds of making it? It takes the hardest and most dedicated effort at all times. Be prepared. The NCAA Estimates the Probability of Competing in Athletics beyond High School is approximately 5.8 percent. That means less than one in 17 of all high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will go on to play football at a NCAA member institution.
A National Football League (NFL) team will draft approximately one in 50, or 1.7 percent of NCAA senior football players. That equates to only 8 out of 10,000, or approximately 0.08 percent of high school senior boys playing interscholastic football will eventually be drafted by an NFL team.i The NFLPA has similar stats. It indicates, “Statistically of the 100,000 high school seniors who play football every year, only 215 will ever make an NFL roster. Of the 9,000 players that make it to the college level only 310 are invited to the NFL scouting combine, the pool from which teams make their draft picks.” Less than 6% of high school students make into the NCAA and, of that, only 1% of high school seniors make it into the NFL and less than 2% of NCAA student-athletes will play in the NFL. So are you a part of the 6% of the 2%? Are you willing to pay in the CFL or UFL (league minimum around $50,000? What about Arena or Europe (salary around $350-$450 per game plus room and board)? Point is, get your degree and work hard. Then let us help you shine. How long is an NFL career? In 1996, a study by the N.F.L Players Association showed that professional football players couldn’t expect to have a long playing career. According to the article: The players union studied team rosters from the 1987 to 1996 seasons, an average of 1,647 players a year, or about 16,000 players years. The study showed the average career of an NFL player is 3.3 years. The shortest careers were those of running backs (2.57 years), followed by wide receivers (2.81) and cornerbacks 2.94). While the study did not speculate on the reason for the short careers, NFL officials said that the short careers are due primarily to the large number of high-speed collisions players’ experience. Players who are hit the least, quarterback and punters/kickers had the longest life spans: 4.44 years and 4.87 years. ii Not much has changed to increase that over the last 15 years. The head of the NFLPA recently pointed out that "25 percent of the player membership rotates out of football every year" and that the average NFL playing career lasts "3.6 years." Teams have certain expectations with what to expect generally out of a player. Surely, they wouldn’t draft and give multiple year deals to players if 3 years was all they could expect out of them? That is true. One has to factor out certain Players who do not “pan out” and the addition of 5-10 Players to the 53-man roster of a team each year. So we used some studies to best project the expected career of an NFL athlete.
Expected career length All positions 5.33 Running backs 4.35 Wide receivers 4.54 Defensive 4.71 tackles Tight ends 4.98 Cornerbacks 5.13 Defensive ends 5.39 Linebackers 5.50 Safeties 5.88 Offensive line 5.95 Quarterbacks 6.96 Punters/kickers 8.33 Position In other words, the less hits you take, the longer you last. If you are at the bulls-eye position of runningback or the battering-ram of the team, the full-back, or really any other position with the ball for any duration, that is obviously impossible. De Smith also said, "It's why we have to save our money, why we have to put away at least 25 percent of our monies every year," Smith said. "It is why we have, as players, to get our college degree. It's why we have to, as players, be good men, good husbands, good sons, good fathers. Because anything less than that ignores the business model and ignores your obligation as men."iii We couldn’t agree more. So, you must be the best 2% in college and be better than 50% to receive most of the benefits the NFL offers. And you think hiring the very best CEO to run those years of your career isn’t that important? Wrong. What about health benefits? Health benefits are important. The NFL will pay for your benefits for current injuries and you will get good heathcare. That is infrequently an issue. However, it takes three years of service in the league to qualify for five years of post-career health care. It means the large majority of Players that play in the NFL will NOT qualify for post-NFL healthcare. That is pretty important because of the orthopedic and neurological issues Player’s face. It’s where we fight hardest. Advocate. And we know the science How much will I make and what is the average career earnings?
The median salary in the NFL in 2009 was roughly $770,000. In 2008 it was about $720,000. The average base salary of an NFL player in 2009 was around US $990,000. However, the mean is deceiving because the highest salaries are so high that they do not represent the middle salary in the NFL. The average NFL player signing bonus salary for all players in 2009 was approximately US $1.3 million. However, late round signing bonuses in the low 5 figures are common in late rounds. The Steelers had the highest median salary at $1.1 million, the Packers the lowest at $440,000. For players with one credited season, the minimum salary is $395,000. For players with two credited seasons, the minimum is $470,000, three is a minimum of $545,000, for four to six credited seasons, the minimum pay if $630,000, for seven to nine seasons, the minimum is $755,000. Finally, for players with ten or more seasons, the minimum salary is $855,000. Contracts rarely have guaranteed money associated with them. It is a pay-to-play league. That means you only earn what you make, game by game. All of this boils down to statistics and logic. You likely have 3-4 years to maximize your earnings. Regardless of whether you are #1 or #53, we want you aware that you are in a unique job, where YOU ARE a business that has 3-5 (sometimes more, sometimes less) to earn a career’s worth of earnings. Every dime matters, but so does time. We must make your money and image work for you. We must make sure whether your career earnings are a statistical average of $2,000,000 (minus taxes and expenses) or $200,000,000, we have you covered. I’m making more money than my entire family has made and I am rich. Why are you sweating statistics? Within two years of retirement, 78 percent of NFL Players are bankrupt or in severe financial distress. Let me say that again, 78% of NFL Players will be broke, begging a Court to forgive their debt or lost as to what happened to their wealth. By then, the hangers-on that you had in college and the pros are gone. Your agent has moved on to other clients and doesn’t return calls. You are embarrassed and are looking back and are now sore every day and think, where’d the time and money go? I will give you countless numbers of guys I have helped or talked with in this EXACT situation. I will be happy to let you learn from them. $10 or $20 million dollars of career earning can disappear in an instant and most agents are too afraid or care too less to say, “Hey, just be careful.” We want, we need you to be a success in your 30’s and 40’s. That is where BTSA will define its success. I will trade 20 successful retirees for any number of 1st round draft picks any day. Let us help get you there. Where did other guys go wrong? Bad property or land investments in this economy have affected everybody, but the problem with property transactions is that you need savvy investors and it is no market for the weak. Even Donald Trump has been bankrupted in some bad deals. Those facing foreclosure in sport have included NBA players Latrell Sprewell and Vin Baker, and MLB star Jose Canseco.
Quarterback Mark Brunnell recently filed bankruptcy while still in the league after some bad investments. Others fall prey to money making schemes or terrible investments. Michael Vick and several other football players were victims in a fraudulent money making scheme. MLB stars Greg Maddux, Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, J.D. Drew, Andruw Jones, Carlos Pena and other current and former players invested with Allen Stanford, who was indicted in a money making scam. Michael Vick badly invested $6 million in bank loans towards a car-rental franchise in Indiana, real estate in Canada and a wine shop in Georgia. I could name literally 100’s of Players that were duped into investments without having someone help them think it through. It happens EVERY DAY. I had a client receive a check TODAY that was a fraudulent opportunity that would have led him to financial ruin if he was not savvy and had me, a 10-year lawyer, take a look. We have a whole division in my lawfirm that handles this stuff. You deal with me. I deal with them. Together, we are very powerful. Divorce and Child support issues can cost you dearly. It has cost athletes $100’s of millions of dollars. Advice, such as whether you need an Agreement to protect your assets, decisions you need to make to make sure your assets are yours and financial advice so you can keep your money that you deserve, is a necessity. Agents MUST be lawyers and not a fresh out of law school kid who has solely been an agent. You DO NOT NEED a SPORTS AGENT. YOU NEED a CEO, a lawyer and an Agent. Guess what? We are all of the above at the same price. Whether buddies from back home or predatory scammers, the NFL Players Association says at least 78 players lost a total of more than $42 million between 1999 and 2002 because they trusted money to financial advisers with questionable backgrounds. These include: Luigi DiFonzo -- a former felon who claimed he was an Italian count and defrauded players such as Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson before committing suicide in August 2000; William (Tank) Black, a disgraced agent who built a pyramid scheme that took a total of about $15 million from at least a dozen players, including Patriots running back Fred Taylor; and Kirk Wright, a hedge fund manager, was convicted on 47 counts of fraud and money laundering in a scheme involving more than $150 million. His client list included at least eight NFL players. Wright committed suicide in prison. It is happening everyday. So, I beg of you. Hire your agent carefully. Look beneath the surface. Has he/she accomplished enough to lead your company? That is the way we look at things. These stats are not in your favor. You have a business- a Million-Dollar Corporation. Do you want a kid fresh out of college running it? I hope not. Do you want someone without a law degree managing your contractual life, your finances and your business? I hope not. Do you want to hire a CEO that comes in and acquires 20, 30, 40 other business each year that sell a very similar product that you sell? Think hard about that one. Do you want to hire an agent that breaks laws and accepts cheating as okay? Do you think they will be able to draw the line and not cheat you? You can change your mind about your agent no matter where you are in the process, how much you’ve gotten or what has happened. Are we the best? I think we are one of the best. My credentials could translate to running the top businesses in the US and, in fact, I have been their
lawyer. I restrict who and how many I will work with. Yet, I have 150 attorneys and an office that competes with any other agency behind me. Others consider me behind in recruitment of players because I scout Players I like during the season. I talk to Scouts and find good fits. I abide by the law and help make it favorable to you. I advocate. I don’t use runners or middle-men to get close to you or put you at risk. I surround you with the best team of advocates and advisors. We know the numbers and stats to maximize every dollar. If you take nothing else from this, re-read this paragraph, please: So, I beg of you. Hire your agent carefully. Look beneath the surface. Has he/she accomplished enough to lead your company? That is the way we look at things. These stats are not in your favor. You have a business- a Million-Dollar Corporation. Do you want a kid fresh out of college running it? I hope not. Do you want someone without a law degree managing your contractual life, your finances and your business? I hope not. Do you want to hire a CEO that comes in and acquires 20, 30, 40 other business each year that sell a very similar product that you sell? Think hard about that one. Do you want to hire an agent that breaks laws and accepts cheating as okay? Do you think they will be able to draw the line and not cheat you? We are always here for advice and help. Thanks for your time. John M. Phillips BTSA – The Breakthrough Sports Agency www.mybtsa.com email@example.com