Monday, March 10, 2008

Attending an NFL game: $260, Getting Shot at to Defend our Country: $29,000, Playing with a Football for a Living: Priceless

I'm sure you've all heard about our impending recession. Gas prices continue to skyrocket, as does the rate of home foreclosures. Roma tomatoes are going for a whopping $1.68 a pound at Wal-Mart and a six-pack of Mr. Goodbars has gone from $2.50 to $2.68 (let's not dwell on how it is that I'm so painfully aware of that particular fact, okay?). People all across the country are tightening their belts and preparing for the bad times ahead. Well...almost everybody. There are those among us who probably don't need to worry about such trivial things as; "can we afford next week's groceries" or "will winter outlast my heating bill budget". People like Ben Roethlisberger, who is the starting quarterback for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben's a very valuable guy. He must be. The Steelers recently announced they've signed him to an 8 year, $102 million dollar contract. That's $102 MILLION. That translates to almost $13 MILLION dollars A YEAR. To play football. Yeah, tough times for Ben, huh? Talk about making huge contributions to the human race, right? But wait...there's more. A few months ago, it was announced that Bob Stoops, the head coach of my beloved Oklahoma Sooners football team, will earn at least $5.77 MILLION from the University of Oklahoma in 2008. Of course, that figure could go up, when you factor in the additional income he could gain from various performance bonuses. The man coaches college football. To be specific, he coaches a college team that hasn't brought home a National Championship Title since 2000 (but who's counting championships, right-o?). And he's worth how much? Geez. Just last year, Mr. Stoops earned a paltry little $3.5 million salary (which, by the way, was 36 times that of a professor's salary at OU during the same time). Again, he's a football coach. Period. Just to put this in perspective, let me point out that, in 2005-06, the average cost of attending a year at OU (tuition, fees, books, room and board and related expenses) was $16,790. For out-of-state students, that number was $24,677. Who would have thought these sort of inequities would have ever been excepted by us, the American public? But wait. There's more! Anybody know who Adrian Peterson is? He was a running back for OU back in 2006. A pretty darn good running back, too. In January 2007, he announced that he would forgo his senior year at college in order to play professional football. The Minnesota Vikings signed Adrian for a pitiful little $40.5 million over 5 years (with $17 million of that guaranteed). Doesn't seem like much compared to Ben of the Steelers, eh? But don't fret for Adrian. Like so many of today's professional athletes, he's found a way to scrape up a little extra cash. For example, on the 15th of this month, he'll be appearing at a sports memorabilia store in the Ft. Worth area. And all of us common folk can come by and get an autograph (if we act soon enough, that is). The "autograph tickets" are going fast. Yeah. They sell "tickets" to get an autograph. For a mere $99, you may have a magazine or a card signed. For $129, you can have a mini-helmet signed. For $149, you can go for the gusto and have a full size helmet, a jersey or a ball signed. And just to prevent any confusion, let me clarify...the cost of these "autograph tickets" does not include the cost of the card or the magazine or the jersey or whatever it is you're having signed. Yes, Mr. Petersen is charging us, the people who already pay his salary in one way or another as fans, for the honor and privilege of owning a copy of his signature. What a deal. 'Course, the sports memorabilia store is getting a cut of those figures, too, so it's not like ol' Adrian is completely robbing us blind. At least not single-handedly. By the way, do you know what the average cost of an NFL ticket is? Somewhere between $65 and $80 each. So it will cost a family of 4 at least $260 to go to an NFL game, plus the cost of parking, plus the cost of refreshments, plus the cost of any souvenirs. For one game. Wow. No wonder all these teams can afford to pay these athletes so much money. We keep handing it to them hand over fist. So what in the hell does that make us besides stupid, gullible and starstruck? What does it say about us that we have people losing their homes, we have couples working 2, 3 and 4 jobs between them just to make ends meet, we have high school graduates unable to go to college because the costs are just too onerous to bear...yet we hear about salaries such as this and all we do is shake our heads at the egregiousness of it all as we're forking over copious amounts of money to pay for the tickets to their venues. Here's a thought...why don't we just quit buying the tickets? Why don't we quit buying the merchandise put out by these teams and organizations? Why don't we quit acting like imbeciles and take our power back! The fact that most of us can't afford to attend an NFL game because it costs too much is our own fault! The fact that buying a football jersey to "support" our team of choice will put us back about $80 is our own fault! The fact that our children can't afford college without benefit of their parents savings and/or scholarships is our own fault! Take this power back, people. Quit supporting these organizations that have stopped caring about US. Stop revering athletes and coaches and teams. They are supposed to be entertaining us, not holding us hostage. I for one have decided that I've bought my last Oklahoma Sooner t-shirt, jacket, baseball cap, whatever. Same goes for the Eagles stuff I've bought my sons and the Seahawks stuff I've bought my husband. No more. If they want to pay players and coaches that much for what they do, they'll do it without my support or my money. Oh, and before I end this...I'd like to point out what a real hero makes in our country...a staff sergeant in the United States Air Force brings home somewhere around $29,000 per year. Yep, that's right. Our service members who are fighting a war, getting shot at and/or living halfway around the world away from their families (and sometimes all three!) make about .5% of what a college football coach makes. Shameful. That's the only way to describe it. Shame. Full.

P.S. Meme from Jennifer at Dust Bunny Hostage:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating). Find page 123. Find the first 5 sentences. Post the next three sentences. Tag 5 people.

My computer is located in our "Star Wars" room, which means the nearest book to me is, naturally, a Star Wars novel. Specifically, it's the one I just finished: Legacy of the Force; Revelation. (Yes, I'm a geek. Sue me!)
Anywho, here goes:
"Commit fully to the attack. Don't let up. Don't stop to think. "

These sentences are what Boba Fett was thinking to himself as he went to speak with his ex-wife who had just been released from carbonite after 30 or 40 years. That Boba. Facing personal relationships the same way he faced his bounties - like a chore to be gotten through in order to get a reward. Typical male. I won't tag 5 people to play this, though. I'm just too flippin' tired after my "athletes are overpaid" tirade. Feel free to play along if you'd like, though!


  1. Oh! Girl...this is a song I have sung many, many just burns my butt how WE as Americans do this to ourselves!! Yep, it does seem ludicrous...and don't EVEN get me started on how much Hollywood is paid...the movie tickets are more bearable for the average American...but still the importance and high regard some put on these people...just knock me out! Hey...and wait till you see how much tickets are going to go for Jerry Jones and his Cowboys AND their new stadium...makes me want to puke....just to get a cheap seat there will not be a family affair...b/c a family could probably only afford one ticket or so.... Ridiculous!! I've never purchased a professional sporting ticket...other than a few of the Ranger games...bleacher seats w/kids...can't beat em...but I have never paid to see a professional team play or watch a sporting event. We have been the recipients to many a good seat, sometimes even in the suites at a Cowboy, Ranger or Nascar son and husband actually won tickets to see the Stars play a few years back during the Stanley cup play-offs (it IS the Stanley Cup...?? Right??) Anyhoo...I could not agree with you more...we seem to have our value system totally upside down here...and I can't for the life of me figure out WHY??? Other than we are bombarded daily as to what should be important in our to what we wear, where we live, who we know...what teams we've seen...what college we attend...what car we thin we are...what designer shoes we wear...or clothes we purchase...yep...girl...we have it all screwed up...and believe me...I wish we didn't... I wish I could say...I've never fallen into the trappings of it all...b/c sadly at times I have...but with age comes wisdom...and Thankfully, those things mean nothing to me how do we as a nation...still strive for better w/o giving away to those considered "better" paying or giving or allowing them...too much! We need to start w/tickets as you've said...but continue that train of not watching the events on TV...the commercials that support them...and by not buying those products...hit them in the REAL make them feel the loss...but sadly, we as Americans...usually won't give up something like that...and it is sad...but for some it is NOT an easy thing to do...we are a society that loves instant gratification...we don't want to do something and then have to wait around to see the end matter how good those results can be...sad...huh! How do we change our prospective on this???...I mean my husband would probably about kill over if he couldn't watch at least one sporting event on the weekends...and college football/basketball...would never "not" be cheered for from his armchair...and he's pretty conservative as sports enthusist go...can you imagine a family of sports fanatics...stopping cold turkey...whew...I think a lot needs to be done to re-adjust our priorities...I just don't know the magic bullet to get it done! Maybe this is a start....???

    Great always...I love how you think...and make others think!


  2. I am SO GLAD that you're back - ranting and raving!

    The prices that these athletes are paid is unbelievable. They are just playing a game. Not making life and death decisions. A game of throwing, catching or kicking a ball and running. Or chasing a little white ball around a golf course. Or hitting a baseball.

    What's the matter with people? I think some people have their priorities back-assward. A certain daughter of mine, who shall remain nameless, has filed 2 bankruptcies, is living over her head, borrows money from us and never pays it back - yet she can come up with money to go to NASCAR races a couple of times a year. Meanwhile she has turned her older daughter over to us to raise for the last 2 years of high school. We're paying all the bills for our granddaughter and these expensive school years (car, clothes, graduation expenses) while her mother receives - and keeps - the child support money paid for this child by her father. So that she can afford to go to races and buy TV's with Dish network and computers and cell phones and iPods and North Face jackets for her younger (11 years old) daughter.

    Hello? Something doesn't feel right here.

    Sorry - got carried away with my own rant.

    This society is messed up, royally.

  3. I am an Alabama fan. Nick Sabin. Do you know what the University paid that man to come here?

    We are a ridiculous culture in so many ways.

    MMMMMmmm. Star Wars room is cool but I have not actually talked knowingly with a reader of Star Wars Books. I have all of the movie, have the right amount of disdain for Jhar Jhar Binkz *sp?* but I am not a S.W. book reader. Do I still count as a fan? Just not an UBER fan? Loving who you are Kari!


  4. Yea Kari's back! Love it when you spell it out so well. Good Post Kari and oh so sad that's it true.

  5. Hello Kari...good job, once again. You put into your words on this page what we've been saying for years!


  6. i worte both sides of the overpaid athlete argument for 2 papers in college. Quite informative, but over 10 years ago so I've forgotten it all.
    However, when my hometown NFL team up and moved away from town for a miriad of greedy reasons, I lost all my delusions about pro sports. I know that they are not the "home town's team." Each team is owned by a person or company and the team only serves to generate profit at our expense. Just like Kari said, we're stupid enough to fall for it because we believe the team is "ours." I'm guilty of falling for it with baseball (I really like the Astros), but baseball tickets are much more afordable.

  7. Picture me in front of the computer. I'm in my jammies reading the words on the screen. Uncle Wallace comes in and I turn to look up at him. Now, remember Poltergist...SHE'S BAAACK. Than the Lord you are back! And don't get me going on the obscenity of sports players salaries. Or of College coaches (which might explain why just plain kids like ours have to work so hard to be able to afford any college, much less a good one. They're right up there with the CEO's and their ilk who rob the business when the "Retire" if that's what they call it! Oh girl, I'm just to mad now...but welcome back to where you belong!
    love and hugs
    Aunt Sandi

  8. My sweet friend Kari is truly back - ranting and raving as usual. And that's a good thing! Yes ma'am, you're so good at putting all of our thoughts down on "paper" - things that drive us crazy. Great job!


  9. Great tirade, Kari! It went over my head by a bit until you landed on the salary of $29,000. Cuz I remember what it was like trying to live on a staff sergeant's salary back in the day. Twenty-nine thousand doesn't sound as if it has kept up very well with the times, especially in these days of high fuel, heating oil, etc., prices.

    Anway, I'll tell my son that he can't make the trek to New York this year to see his beloved Mets play.

    (BTW, no one can rant like you. Hope that you'll gain some energy and fire off again soon. I know it's draining, though. Are you working on that book yet? How about a column in the local paper like Aunt Sandi?)

  10. Very well put! And unfortunately, SO true! It's sickening! And yet, they all walk around like we owe them even more!

  11. Great post Kari. It is nuts that is for sure. With a son in the AF it breaks my heart that they go and give their lives for the freedom of the sports players and coaches and make that little.
    Glad to see you back to your real self =)

  12. Yeah Baby...she is BACK!!!! In all her glory and telling it like it IS!

    I love sports yes but pro sports has gotten totally out of control. Now it has filtered down to the college is a sickness of our culture for sure. We stopped going to pro games because of this.

    Look at what some so called celebs get for making a movie...even Baaaaaaaad movies and then look at what a soldier gets. At what a fire fighter gets. At what a emergency room nurse gets.
    At what an inner city teacher gets.

    It is so sad and when will we as Americans wake up and say STOP!!!

    And hey sweet girl...if you want to come see this snow, you KNOW you would be welcome to bunk in with us!! : )

    Love ya and am SO Glad you are back!!


  13. First off, all your girlies need to get your panties out of a wad. All I'm hearing is nothing but a bunch of class envy. A bunch of whining that really says "Boohoo, how come I'm not making that kind of money"

    Professioanal football isn't just a game, its a business. It's neccassary wether u like it or not. Look at all the jobs it creates from the players down to ticket takers.

    Second, when it comes to OU football, there seems to be a lot of misconceptions. OU football is 100% self funded. Not one red cent of one students tuition goes to OU football. So blaming high tuition cost, low professor salaries on football cost is totally bogus. Coaches salaries, players equipment, travel cost are all paid for with tv and bowl money. Matter of fact there are two of the newer buildings on campus that were built with the gracious donations of OU sports (combined). And the football program donated the funds for all the science equipment in one of the science buildings.

    So you all get your facts straight before getting on a whine fest.

    If you want to rant and rail about something, why not the conglomerate of the Oprah Winfrey. A person who does nothing but sell you crap and lies.

    Or how about that other mega-conglomerate of Martha Stewart. What a fraud.

    Get your priorities straight

  14. Oooooh! tough Mr. Anonymous!

    I agree with you, Kari - I also don't care for Oprah or Martha for the same reasons! They are all celebs being worshipped!

  15. kari, RIGHT ON. I love this post and girl, you are on the MONEY. The other thing is, yes, it is a business and you, dear Kari, by stating you will no longer be supporting such business, will hit them where it hurts.... in the pocketbook. I am going to jump on your bandwagon, too, for my beloved Packers. As long as a beginning teacher makes less than 25,000, this will be my stance.

    Thanks for checking on me! I was thrilled when I saw your name pop up!

  16. OOh. Mr. Anon. Brave man to try a hit and run leaving no name. I think you should have paid more attention is English class than what happens on a football field. Whether is spelled with an *H* and try and use the word YOU instead of a letter. Most of us whiny ladies do.

    Our Kari hit a tender spot huh?

    Doofus...go get him Kari.


  17. Kari, my first intro to one of your raves, and I loved it! In the UK the sport that has gone crazy is football (soccer) and the players get so much money, but not as much I think as your players. There is no sense involved at all.

  18. So glad to have you back Kari. And it's certainly not class envy.


Thank you for your comment. I love to hear what you have to say!