Christensen: A Game and Life Changer
By Todd Christensen, The Mtn. InsiderApril 25, 2012
34 years ago, I sat in a rented home in Provo, Utah by myself waiting for the phone to ring from someone in the National Football League. Back then, there was no hoopla, no Mel Kiper, no Todd McShay, no Indianapolis combine and no specialized training in Arizona and Florida for the various and sundry drills now indigenous to the process.
In truth, I turned out to be one of those ‘spandex warriors’ ultimately drafted by the Dallas Cowboys who pronounced me "the best athlete in the 1978 Draft". Not exactly high praise when 55 players were taken in front of me.
That said, being a part of the NFL fraternity was a life-long dream and that is certainly something that has not changed. One thing to point out, however, is that while the top of the draft draws the most attention and obviously garners the most focus, the league itself is made up of the rank-and-file players that will fill out the roster. The lifespan of those who have spent their whole lives to get to this point is quite short; the average career in the NFL is a mere 3.6 years. That takes into account a lot of one-and-done athletes but the mean career is still only about six years, which means that most players are done before the age of 30.
The average salary in the NFL is around $2.5 million, but that too is skewed due to QB dollars. But the mean is still well over one million dollars, putting the player in the position of mercenary to accrue all that he can while he can.
It is a Faustian Bargain of epic proportions but one that captivates us for a variety of reasons most notably because this sport has become a 24/7 entity within our culture. Good luck to all those involved, especially the MW athletes who continue to make us proud.
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