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Not So Super Bowl

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By Tyson Rauch
 
Now that the championship games are finished the football world embraces itself for the marquee event of the sporting year.  The Super Bowl is upon us with all of its glitz, glamour and hype.  We are in the middle of two weeks of celebrations, awards ceremonies, V.I.P. parties and banquets as well as a media bonanza.  Analysts will diagnose every aspect of the game from travel arrangements to team meals to the size of the player’s cleats.  Fans all across the country will set up their office pools, betting sheets and house parties.  Restaurants and taverns will set up their establishments for a festival like atmosphere that even the least of football fans will enjoy.  It seems like everyone involved in the NFL whether it is a player, fan or reporter benefits from this yearly event. The NFL in particular between the television rights, marketing rights as well as event proceeds tends to make out the best. 
It is well documented that the National Football League is a billion dollar industry.  But here is a question, what does the NFL give back to its players?  Sure the players are well compensated for the time they actually play (no guaranteed contracts) but what happens once they leave the game? What about the players that give their heart and soul to the NFL to only find themselves unable to walk, experience head trauma or spinal problems?  What does the NFL do for them?  Also what about the legends of the game that did not receive the financial rewards like today’s players? Does the National Football League help them to ensure they have not fallen on hard times due to medical issues?  What about a player like Al Toon who had to leave the game due to the severity of concussions he incurred?  Or what about some of these old time running backs like Christian Okoye that took complete beatings week in or week out.  Or better yet what about a lineman like Mark Schlereth that had over 10 surgeries on his knees and shoulders over the years?
 
There have been reports about problems with the pension programs how come it does not get more attention? Does the NFL not allow the media to talk about it?  These men gave up their bodies to make the National Football League the sport it is today, a billion dollar industry isn’t the league obligated to give back to the ones in need? Or is the price the players must play to have the privilege to play professional football? 
 
Over the past year I have been in contact with some former players, not the marquee ones that are celebrated in the media, and their stories are somewhat sad.  Some cannot play with their children due to back problems.  Some write down their address in their pocket as they tend to forget it and others have problems leaving the house on bright sunny days.   Definitely not stories I have read about often in the media that is for sure.  It also made me wonder how many players playing this Sunday could fall into the same category? How many special teamers will be running all out and get themselves knocked out, not just for the game, but for their career?  Just something to think about while watching the hoopla around this year’s Super Bowl.
 
Parting Shots:

  • Many are excited by the amount of cap room the Jets have, but lets keep in mind many teams are in the same situation therefore it will be hunting season for the agents.
  • At what point should the Jets work on getting Rhodes, Vilma and Cotchery extended?

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