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NFL Hopeful FAQs

What are my chances of becoming an NFL Player?

While many young people every year set their goals on becoming NFL players, it is extremely difficult to reach that level. Statistically of the 100,000 high school seniors who play football every year, only 215 will ever make an NFL roster. That is 0.2%! Even 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. As you can see, most people who want to become NFL players will not. Therefore it is very important to come up with alternative plans for the future.

How much do NFL Players make?

Despite what most people think, not all NFL players are millionaires! For example in 2012, the minimum salary for rookies was $390,000. Every year, each team is given a cap on how much they can spend on the players called a salary cap (about $102 million in 2012). The best players, usually the starters, take the most room under the cap, while the backups and practice squad players are paid less. Qualifying players also receive a wide variety of benefits including pre-season pay, life, dental and medical insurance, severance pay, disability benefits and pension coverage.

How long do most NFL careers last?

The average length of an NFL career is about 3 and a half seasons. Although there are some exceptional players who have long careers that extend 10 or twelve seasons and beyond, most players only stay active for about three seasons. Players leave the game because of injury, self-induced retirement, or being cut by the team. This also means that while players may make more money than most people, they are only making it for an average of three and a half years. To make sure they are successful in the future, players must invest their money well and make plans for another career when they can no longer play football.

Why is education important in becoming an NFL player?

Education is crucial for success to become an NFL player or a success at any career. Completing a college degree will not only prepare players for life after football, but it also seems to pay off during a player's career. Players with degrees earn 20 to 30% more than players who don't have degrees. They also have a career that lasts about 50% longer. While there is not one answer for why players with degrees have stronger careers, one theory is that players who show the intelligence, concentration, and mental discipline to complete a degree show these qualities on the field more. Doing well in school from an early age also helps players develop the concentration they will need to memorize plays and avoid eligibility problems in high school and college.

What are some other NFL related careers that I could pursue?

Since not everyone can become an NFL player, there are many careers that can still incorporate a love of the game. These careers include coaching, officiating, scouting and recruiting on a college or professional level, sports announcers/analysts/reporters, agents, athletic trainers, equipment managers, and photographers/video directors. In addition, each team's front office has staff for public relations, ticket sales, marketing, and community relations.

What can I do to help my chances of becoming an NFL Player?

Working hard and practicing on the field skills are not enough to become an NFL player. Because there are so many people who aspire toward this goal, a potential NFL player must excel in many categories. You must be the best on and off the field. Important skills include strength, speed, agility, ability to listen to coaches and follow directions, intelligence, concentration, ability to keep grades up, and the discipline to stay out of trouble off the field.

What does the NFLPA do?

The NFL Players Association is a union devoted to helping players past, present and future. The NFLPA serves over 1800 active players, 2700 former players, and regulates 800 agents.We help players: find legitimate and registered agents and financial planners, negotiate contracts and salary, obtain benefits, file grievances, get involved in licensing and marketing programs, and gain access to membership programs. We negotiate on behalf of the players to protect their rights under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Located in Washington D.C., the NFLPA keeps abreast of issues affecting professional football players like antitrust legislation, workers compensation, artificial turf, and injuries.