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Dollars & Sense

Like many of you, I gathered with a bevy of friends to watch the Super Bowl which has been a tradition of ours for many years. Yep, lots of food, friendship, and conversation; all wrapped around the final football game of the year. The NFL likes to bill it as the greatest sporting event of

Like many of you, I gathered with a bevy of friends to watch the Super Bowl which has been a tradition of ours for many years. Yep, lots of food, friendship, and conversation; all wrapped around the final football game of the year. The NFL likes to bill it as the greatest sporting event of the year. While it probably qualifies as the most watched, perhaps the makers of No-Doze should have been among advertisers coughing up big bucks to plug their product. If they had, their sales most likely would have sky-rocketed.

While some pundits have called it the worst Super Bowl ever, I wouldn’t go that far, but it certainly lacked the drama and excitement of most of these Roman numeral contests. The touted high-offense of the Los Angeles Rams was non-existent. The Rams punter, Johnny Hekker, may have been the only Ram to break a sweat as he was on the field to punt the ball away after each of his team’s first eight first-half possessions.

The winning New England Patriots weren’t pretty, but as usual, they were effective. Their defense ruled the day in the 13-3 slumber fest. Coach Bill Belichick continued his coaching wizardry, winning his sixth Super Bowl, achieved despite QB Tom Brady’s failure to complete a touchdown pass. For the first time in his nine Super Bowl games, Brady had his first passing attempt go for an interception.

Hey, but its all in the name of entertainment, for which the American sporting public pays big bucks to witness. Oh, by the way, the participants don’t walk away empty-handed even if they were on the losing side of the ledger.

As outlined in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, players are paid a stipulated amount for playoff games regardless of their role. For example, Patriots QB Brady pocketed $56,000 in this year’s AFC championship game, the same paid to offensive lineman James Ferentz.

Super Bowl winners get double the bonus of Super Bowl losers, and while it might not be much to the highest-paid players on a team, claiming a championship can provide a significant bonus for a rookie on the NFL minimum salary of $480,000. This year’s Super Bowl paid the Patriots $124,000 per man, while the Rams received $62,000. Including the entire postseason run, each member of the Patriots made $211,000.

This past season the average NFL salary was 2.91 million. This was third among the four biggest professional sports leagues. NBA players topped the list with an average salary of $5.2 million, followed by MLB at $4.51 million. National Hockey League players took home an average salary of $2.78 million.

In comparison, some financial calculations have determined that the average American worker’s annual salary is $32,390. Using that figure, it would take an individual worker more than 160 years to earn what the average NBA player makes in a single season.

While it can be argued that the career of a professional athlete is much shorter than an average American worker, those dollars paid make little sense when compared to the societal contributions of other professions. According to recent figures the average annual compensation for doctors and surgeons is $234,950, dentists and orthodontists – $204,670, lawyers – $130,490 and airline pilots $118,370.

With the football season now over attention will soon switch to Major League Baseball, whose fans are already sick and tired of the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado turning their backs on $300 million big ones allegedly being offered for their services. While some believe MLB owners are in cahoots to reduce costs, they can hardly be accused of being cheapskates.

In case you are interested as we are about to head into Spring Training here are the current MLB salary expenditures for each team’s 40-man rosters:

Boston Red Sox – $220,342,500
Chicago Cubs – $209,900,714
New York Yankees – $193,360,357
Los Angeles Dodgers – $192,776,668
Los Angeles Angels – $167,350,999
San Francisco Giants – $164,592,777
New York Mets – $157,556,666
Washington Nationals – $154,430,561
St. Louis Cardinals – $152,876,666
Seattle Mariners – $140,943,810
Colorado Rockies – $140,305,833
Houston Astros – $132,997,500
League Average $121,938,885
Arizona Diamondbacks – $115,849,166
Texas Rangers – $115,549,999
Philadelphia Phillies – $115,049,000
Milwaukee Brewers – $113,887,500
Atlanta Braves – $109,556,043
Cincinnati Reds – $105,123,214
Toronto Blue Jays – $104,573,571
Detroit Tigers – $101,875,000
Cleveland Indians – $98,778,751
Minnesota Twins – $97,915,000
Kansas City Royals – $84,446,667
Chicago White Sox – $80,186,668
Oakland Athletics – $79,668,333
San Diego Padres – $74,207,500
Miami Marlins – $67,237,142
Baltimore Orioles – $60,893,782
Pittsburgh Pirates – $58,925,002
Tampa Bay Rays – $47,029,166

Yes, sports indeed are big business. So as you shell out $40 per ticket, $20 to park the car, wash a $5 hot dog down with $10 beer you have every right to root-root-root for the home team. Just don’t try to make sense out of the dollars & cents. It doesn’t add up.

As for the Super Bowl, it wasn’t a classic, but for me, it was a first. I drew number 6 on both Super Bowl pools I was in. While bummed out that I had the same number in both pools, I ended up a double winner — the first time in our Super Bowl party’s history that I came away a winner and my team wasn’t even playing!

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