Why Tom Brady makes a lot more than you do
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 19:01
Professional athletes have always gotten some heat for the amount of money they make. Many question why someone like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning needs to get paid multi-million dollar salaries. They argue that the money could be better serviced going towards something like medical research. And while more money put towards curing cancer is always a good thing, which plenty of players and teams do through donations and foundations, it needs to be understood why athletes make so much.
Understanding the massive salaries of NFL quarterbacks and other players starts with understanding the NFL as a business because that is what it is at its core. Each team brings in a certain amount of revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, advertising and other avenues. And like any other business, there are employees. As far as a football team goes the employees include the coaching staff and the players. The players are the key employees in this situation. When teams have star players, it increases jersey sales. Good players also help increase a team’s success and in turn create bigger turnouts for games. Just like Microsoft and Apple pay out to keep their top executives and programmers, NFL teams do the same with their star players. These players deserve due compensation just like any employee.
As an example, the Patriots brought in $333 million in revenue in 2011. In this time period, Tom Brady made a salary of $20 million or 6% of the Patriots’ revenue for that year. This amount is justified in the value he brings to the team. Brady’s jersey not only sells the most among Patriots players, but the team would not have the success it has had in the past decade without Brady at the helm of the offense. And while many point to Brady, the rest of the team isn’t enjoying the incredibly luxurious salaries. Nate Solder, one of the starting offensive linemen made just over $700,000 or roughly 0.2% of what the Patriots brought in during 2012. Stevan Ridley, the starting running back, made only half a million dollars.
There is a reason that the players went on strike over their salaries. For every star quarterback raking in millions of dollars, there are many players not even making over a million dollars. It may seem odd for professional athletes to complain about six figure salaries when middle class families are struggling to make ends meet and rightly so. However, people often fail to look at it from the player’s perspective. If the NFL is bringing in a certain amount of money the players deserve a justified portion of that money. People aren’t paying for tickets to go see the coaches or the owners but rather the players on the field. When you look at it through a percentage, plenty of football players aren’t getting paid adequately in relation to what their teams are bringing in.
When people get upset over the salaries of professional athletes, what they really are upset with is why a game like football brings in billions of dollars every year. Football may seem dumb to a lot of people and to them it seems absurd that someone can get paid millions of dollars to throw or catch a ball. However, society has decided to place value on football in the same way it has decided to put value on music, movies and other parts of the entertainment industry. Subsequently, value is then added to people who can throw a ball and have incredible height or speed. Certain players also have a certain inability to be replaced, which is why teams shell out so much to keep them around.
In the same way, I don’t think the cast of Jersey Shore should have should have made any money. However, if the show was bringing in a lot of money, the cast (read employees) deserve a piece of the pie. NFL players certainly get paid more than the average worker. There is no disputing that. However, their pay is justified given that they are more integral in a much more profitable industry.